Robert, a successful businessman, who owned a chain of motels in Christchurch and around the South Island, gave me a call one day for an appointment as he wanted to give up smoking.
He rolled up a week later in a super flash Mercedes SUV and confidently strode into my clinic.
In the first session, I learnt that he smoked sixty cigarettes a day.
I noticed he was very restless, always fidgeting and couldn’t sit still. He was a really nice man, but hugely stressed as several of his motels had been written off in the Christchurch earthquakes. For the last six years he had been having ongoing battles with insurance and EQC. His other properties elsewhere in NZ were fine, but his main source of income had been in the Christchurch area.
One of the main reasons people want to give up smoking is cost. For a 20 cigarette-a-day habit, it will cost $10,800 per year before tax.
Though, cost was no barrier for Robert, he knew his health was in serious decline and that something had to be done.
Also during the first session, I found Robert had another worry. His worries seemed also to be affecting his wife.
She was starting to develop obsessive disorders, one of which was biting her nails and picking at her cuticles. Robert felt his own stress was responsible for this, but she also hated him smoking and refused to travel with him in his smoke-filled car.
First of all, I treated Robert for his smoking. Over two sessions he loved the feeling of relaxation I was able to take him to, and he mentioned that in my clinic, it was the first time he felt truly relaxed.
He phoned me a couple of weeks later to make a third appointment and to book an appointment for his wife. He had managed to stop smoking, but was still stressed over financial matters and needed some help to manage that stress so he wouldn’t start smoking again.
A few days later I treated his wife for anxiety and worked on getting her to stop tearing at her nails.
I followed up this couple six months later and Robert was still smoke-free. He had managed to contain the stress of his financial problems.
He had come to accept that there was no point in stressing about it, as the matter was now out of his hands and there was nothing that he could do. This in turn had a massive positive effect on the couple’s relationship. His wife also had her anxiety under control and she was finally able to have a manicure.
Getting to know and helping this couple brought home to me the fact that it doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have, problems exist because of how we react to them. We all need a bit of help to change our perspective and get back on the right track.
Without that help, the problems escalate and can easily become unmanageable. It’s important to seek help before it gets that far.
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