Dr Gabriel Symonds is a British general practitioner who has worked in Tokyo for over thirty years. In 1992 he established the Tokyo British Clinic which offered comprehensive medical services to the foreign community including smoking cessation and psychotherapy (counselling). He retired from full-time practice in 2014 but continues to live in Tokyo. He is available for smoking cessation using The Symonds Method on a one-to-one basis or for couples or small groups, and Skype sessions are available. He also writes about smoking and other health related issues.
How did Dr Symonds come to be involved in smoking cessation? In his own words:
As a general practitioner I had always been interested in helping smokers to stop, and admit I had little success by the usual method – a combination of cajolery and fear-mongering. It was distressing to see people damaging their health by the pointless, unnecessary and self-imposed activity of smoking – and by my seeming inability to do much about it for them.
Many of these patients were intelligent, educated people. Why did it seem so difficult to stop even for them? I didn’t really know, but I was determined to find out.
I found that academic studies about brain chemistry and the physiology of addiction, etc., were not helpful in a practical sense, so I started talking to my smoker patients and listening to what they told me. Unlike the usual kind of research where population samples are questioned using box-ticking methods, I asked open-ended questions: Why did you start smoking? Why do you smoke now? What do you get out of it? What happens when you don’t smoke? What do you actually feel when you want to have a cigarette? The answers, or sometimes the lack of an answer, were revealing. Gradually I developed a method of smoking cessation based on the reality of why smokers smoke, which I realized should result in a 100% cure rate. It’s a completely new way of looking at smoking which, once it’s understood (very simple) – in theory cannot fail. In fact, smokers whom I successfully treated would often say to me, ‘Why didn’t I see it in that way before!
I use no nicotine products, drugs, supplements, hypnosis or gimmicks of any kind, and will-power is not required. After all, there should be no difficulty in refraining from something you don’t want to do anymore!