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Breaking Habits with Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy: A Comprehensive Guide

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Habits can be powerful forces in our lives, shaping our behaviour and impacting our well-being. Some habits, like exercising regularly or eating a healthy diet, can promote physical and mental health positives. Other habits, however, can be harmful or destructive, such as smoking, overeating, procrastinating, and even Mobile phone, and social media addiction. Breaking a habit can be difficult, and many people turn to therapy for help.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) and Habit Reversal

CBH, which stands at the crossroads of cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis, offers a unique lens through which we can view and tackle habits. By understanding the cognitive patterns and beliefs underpinning a habit, CBH provides a comprehensive framework to address it.

The Role of Cognition in Habits

Every habit is underpinned by a cognitive framework. For instance, the habit of smoking might be reinforced by beliefs such as “It helps me relax” or “I can’t cope without it.” CBH aims to challenge and change these beliefs, making the habit less appealing.

Hypnosis as a Tool for Change

Hypnotherapy can access the subconscious mind, where many of our habits reside. By using suggestive techniques during a state of focused relaxation, hypnosis can offer alternative behaviours or beliefs, making the breaking of habits more intuitive and less of a struggle.

What is a Habit

Habits are deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour that we develop over time, often without even realizing it. They can be helpful or harmful, depending on the habit, and breaking them can be a challenge. Hypnosis is a powerful tool that can be used to stop unwanted habits and create new, healthier ones.

Photo of a broken chain symbolizing breaking free from habits, with a serene background of a sunrise, representing a new beginning

The Power of Visualization

One of the cornerstones of CBH is the use of visualization. In the context of habit reversal, clients are often guided to visualize themselves successfully resisting or replacing their unwanted habits. This mental rehearsal can bolster confidence and make the actual act of resisting the habit feel more attainable.

Challenges in Breaking Habits

While therapy offers tools and strategies, breaking a habit is often a non-linear process, with potential relapses or challenges along the way. Recognizing and preparing for these challenges is crucial. CBH often incorporates strategies to pre-empt potential setbacks, ensuring clients are not disheartened if they momentarily revert to old patterns.

2 Session Therapy – Habit Reversal Program

I have developed a 2 session program that includes in a 1 to 1 setting, a full assessment of the problem, treatment planning, treatment with relaxation skills, hypnosis, homework, and a personalised follow-on plan to stick to. There are also options to book a follow-up maintenance session

Therapy can be an effective tool for stopping habits, but it requires effort and commitment from the individual seeking to make a change. I have designed a rapid 2-session

Habit Reversal Therapy Package Includes:

  • 2 Sessions
  • 1 – 1 Session (either) in the comfort of your own space online (popular option – later booking availability)
  • 1 – 1 Session (or) in the therapy room, Blackheath and Chislehurst London (booking availability dependent)
  • Assessment and Problem Definition
  • Explanation of Therapy
  • Goal setting and objectives
  • Relaxation skills training – Mindfulness technique or Breathing Skill
  • Therapy session – from a range of Habbit stopping strategies
  • Reinforcement through Hypnosis
  • Homework setting
  • Repeatable personalised plan post-therapy
  • Option

To Book, Your Interest, click the Contact button in the header and reach out today – Select ‘STOP Habit’, to begin your journey.

Typical Habit Strategies in Therapy

  1. Identify Triggers The first step in breaking a habit is to identify the triggers that prompt the behaviour
  2. Replace with Positive Behaviors
  3. Set Realistic Goals
  4. Develop Coping Skills
  5. Maintain Accountability Finally, maintaining accountability is key to stopping habits in therapy. Clients can benefit from regular check-ins with their therapist to review progress, discuss challenges, and revise goals as necessary. Additionally, support from family or friends can be helpful in staying on track and avoiding relapse.

Measuring Success

The first challenge is, of course, to define what success looks like, we do this using SMART goals, and a framework for collecting data. The second consideration is to appreciate the multiple factors that drive success in therapy.

There is one reality that should be understood, there is no therapy, or for that matter even in medicine, that comes with a 100% guarantee. We are all complex beings, functioning in complex environments. While some folks are not quite ready for therapy, there are some folks who endure a life-changing moment and move forward with new or renewed goals in their life.

The Efficacy of Habit Therapy

In therapy we refer to the efficacy of treatment, in other words, what does the research suggest the level of a successful outcome to be? Researchers, often run meta-analytical reviews of multiple test samples, apply stringent criteria for data sampling, and produce some form of generic view. There are a lot of these types of studies. I have extracted one such study on the efficacy of therapy, using habit reversal against a defined set of habits.

The Importance of Support

CBH recognizes the importance of a supportive environment in breaking habits. This can come in the form of group therapy sessions, where individuals share their experiences and offer mutual support, or through the involvement of loved ones in the therapeutic process.

Ongoing Maintenance

Post-therapy, it’s essential to have strategies in place to maintain the progress made. This can include regular check-ins, booster sessions, or even joining support groups. The key is to ensure that the individual feels equipped to handle challenges independently, with the therapy serving as a foundation upon which they can build.


One particular study, linked below, quoted the author’s conclusions; “The findings provided substantial support for the efficacy of habit reversal therapy for disorders that it was commonly used to treat. The findings were consistent with recent arguments for the classification of habit reversal therapy as a well-established treatment for tic and habit disorders

Bate KS, Malouff JM, Thorsteinsson ET, et al. The efficacy of habit reversal therapy for tics, habit disorders, and stuttering: a meta-analytic review. 2011. In: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-. Available from:

Closing Thoughts

Breaking a habit can be a challenging but rewarding process. Therapists can help clients stop harmful habits by identifying triggers, replacing negative behaviours with positive ones, setting realistic goals, developing coping skills, and maintaining accountability. With the right strategies and support, anyone can work towards overcoming their harmful habits and improving their quality of life.

If you are interested in seeking therapy, reach out using the contacts on this page, will be glad to discuss further

Disclaimer, Please Read: The information provided in this article is for illustrative and informational purposes only. It does not establish a therapist-patient relationship. For medical issues or emergencies, always consult with a licensed medical professional. For non-clinical challenges related to stress, anxiety, and other emotional or behavioural concerns, considering a consultation with a therapist may be beneficial. Bohangar City Practice is a registered Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy practice, specialising in combining cognitive behavioural techniques with hypnosis to address various challenges and promote well-being. Any questions, please do reach out

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MULTI-MODAL THERAPY: Cognitive, Behavioural, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, etc.

THERAPIST: Former City Analyst, City of London, Singapore, Zurich, and Frankfurt. 

If you are seeking Therapy please reach out for an initial free consultation call. Bohangar Hypnotherapy Practice. Hope you enjoy this blog post, would love to hear your comments  

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