Dear BR,
How long do I have to listen to the guided imagery before it starts to work? I’m a chain smoker who is going to start listening to the CD for smoking cessation. Will I feel something immediately or is it cumulative?

Dear Tom,
I wish I had one neat answer for you, but I don’t. Most likely the answer is yes to both questions - yes, you will feel something different immediately, and yes, the effects are cumulative. It depends on the strength of your addiction and the strength of your wiring for responding to an immersive, right brain technique like guided imagery.

Some people find the Stop Smoking imagery so calming and diverting that they find they can quit and stay that way without too much discomfort. They use little else. The cumulative effects then keep them comfortable and motivated to stay the course until the psychological and physical pulls are under better control.

Others need to muster everything they can bring to bear and require a multimodal approach. They use the imagery in conjunction with a nicotine patch, a personal coach or buddy, and/or a highly structured, behavioral program. Yoga and breathing meditation exercises can also be recruited to help.

So it really depends. In addition to my own imagery CD, there is a great self-hypnosis, Smoke No More by Emmett Miller, as well as Stop Smoking by David Illig. And an excellent, complete behavioral program, complete with manual and CD Break Your Smoking Habit, by the legendary guided imagery trainer, David Bresler . But no matter what you use, it’s all going to depend on your sticking to your plan and, when you get that urge to smoke, using the methods at hand vs. borrowing that cigarette. There’s no substitute for commitment to your intention, my friend!

All Best,