How do physicians assist in smoking cessation?

 In Integrative Health, Uncategorized

How do physicians assist in smoking cessation?

Physicians often assist in the cessation of unhealthy behaviors like smoking. Mary Louise Ruef or “ML” as a clinical trainer deals with these behaviors in cases of addiction, for example smoking. ML specializes in motivational interviewing which is an effective clinical technique, especially in addiction cases. Motivational interviewing according to the Center for Integrated Health Solutions is:

a clinical approach that helps people with mental health and substance use…make positive behavioral changes to support better health. The approach upholds four principles— expressing empathy and avoiding arguing, developing discrepancy, rolling with resistance, and supporting self-efficacy (client’s belief s/he can successfully make a change).

Part of the clinician’s role helping the client is identifying what needs to be addressed to make that happen, like the associated behaviors with the addiction and insight on how to adjust behaviors accordingly. Primary care physician and member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, Dr. Damara Gutnik attempted this with her long-standing patient Mr. Smith, a stubborn smoker. She relays in her video “Mr. Smith’s Smoking Evolution” how supplying reasons did not sway Mr. Smith to quit smoking. However, motivational interviewing was a new tactic that proved to show results. ML (as a former smoker herself) was able to self-identify her associated smoking behaviors and gave up coffee for two and a half years when quitting smoking. For her there was a strong association with having coffee and smoking which she had to accommodate her behavior to be successful. 

Clinicians are also there to help patients understand they have to deal with all aspects of life. As ML said, “…it’s not just giving up the drug, it’s learning how to live in a world that makes us wants to escape lots of different things,” and clinicians are there to help guide a person in realizing they can do that. Through approaches like motivational interviewing clients can reach that realization with support and resources provided by clinicians. Allowing physicians to assist in ending their addiction at the patient’s pace and through their own abilities.


For more information on motivational interviewing watch the complete interview with Mary Louise Ruef below.


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