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Mind Matters: Ask Dr. Elaine

24 March 2018  

Sometimes it’s tough to know how to help our loved ones. It can be even more difficult to help ourselves!

Addictions, phobias, depression, self-esteem - they are all Mind Matters. But, how does one break through and find success?

In this new column, Dr. Elaine Kissel answers your questions; helping to provide understanding and insight into a variety of topics, such as addictions, self-improvement, depression and much more. You can send in your questions to

Q. My husband quit smoking cigarettes over 25 years ago. He started smoking cigars because that is the "in thing" for men to do now. He has gone back to smoking cigarettes again too. How can I help him to stop?

A. First of all he needs to want and feel the need to become free of his smoking addiction. Smokers most often have mixed feelings and motivations about their habits. Sometimes resistance to stop an unhealthy habit can be about others trying to make them change, even though its about their concern for them. Also once his inner motivation to be free of smoking moves him to accomplish that, just quitting smoking, as proven in his case as in most, does not make him a non smoker; to be totally and permanently free they need to develop the psychology of a non smoker. This requires resolving the deep inner motivations that drive his addiction. Most people do not understand that smoking is the most complex of all addictions and needs to be treated as such. So the best way to help him is to let him know you understand and will support him in freeing himself once and for always.

Q. My sister continues to drink beer every day and her health is really suffering. Her hands shake and I know she is an alcoholic. Should I try have her join AA?

A. If your sister realizes she has a serious problem and is ready to overcome it, the method she chooses is very important. Her motivation must come from within, and of course you can gently encourage her and express your concerns. Then finding the right approach for her is essential for her success. The method must be tailored to her individual psychology: there is no one size fits all method. AA has a generalized approach and one which not every person can relate to, and in actuality often reinforces the addiction; proven by the thousands of people who have come to me to set themselves free once and for all.

Q. How long does it take people to quit a bad habit?

A. That depends on the individual and how complex the issues are that need to be understood and resolved on the deepest levels of consciousness. Hypnosis can achieve that when skillfully applied.

All habits are motivated. I call the motivation the engine that drives the behavior. The behavior can be temporarily stopped, but as long as the engine is still running it will bring the habit back into action. It' is rather like cutting weeds off at the ground level but the roots are still underground and will grow back. We need to uproot them and make sure the ground is set so they can never take root again. The length of time it takes naturally depends on many factors. So just quitting a habit is never enough, and unfortunately without addressing the root causes often leads to an alternative habits in attempts to fill the needs of the original one.

Do you have a question for Dr. Elaine? Send it to her at