It goes without saying that a cancer diagnosis/treatment is one of the most stressful situations a person can find themselves in. Living daily with the effects of treatment and the stress of not knowing how things will turn out can be extremely challenging. There are many complementary therapies that can help reduce the stress and tension that this situation can cause (please see my previous blog post on cancer and complementary therapies). Hypnotherapy is one way that you can relieve your symptoms, or even change your behaviour (it’s often used to help people to give up smoking) if you are experiencing extreme anxiety and reacting in a negative way.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy which uses hypnosis to help you to deeply relax. A hypnotherapist uses a technique called hypnosis to put your body into a trance-like state, however your mind is active and you’re still in control at all times. We can find ourselves in a trance-like state in our daily lives, when we are daydreaming or concentrating really hard on something. Hypnosis is just a deeper version of that. When you are in the deeply relaxed state, the hypnotherapist suggests things that help you to change your behaviour or relieve your symptoms. Your conscious mind switches off when you are deeply relaxed, and your unconscious mind is then open to suggestions to improve your life.
What does a session involve?
At your first session your therapist will ask general questions about your health, lifestyle and medical history. Your therapist will find out about your diet, sleep patterns and your emotional health, and why you would like hypnotherapy (which symptoms you are struggling with, or if you need help to relax). You’ll then be helped into a trance-like state of deep relaxation where the therapist will make suggestions about changing your behaviour or managing symptoms. You can come out of the hypnotic state at any point if you feel uncomfortable. Your therapist may also give you some self-hypnosis techniques to help you to manage your condition.
Why people with cancer use hypnotherapy…
Cancer patients often use hypnotherapy to help relieve sickness and pain symptoms, as well as depression, anxiety, stress and reducing blood pressure. There is scientific evidence that hypnotherapy helps to relieve these symptoms. Some doctors are trained in hypnotherapy and use it with patients going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is widely accepted by the medical community. Hypnotherapy can help you to feel more comfortable and in control of your illness. If you suffer from psychosis, epilepsy or a personality disorder, hypnotherapy may make your condition worse, and should be avoided.
Finding a qualified hypnotherapist
Hypnotherapy is a safe therapy and most people have a positive experience with it. It’s important to make sure your therapist is properly qualified and a member of a recognized professional association. This will give you peace of mind when deciding on your therapist. Some people may worry about feeling vulnerable during a hypnotic state or imagine that they’ll be made to do something out of their control like eat a raw onion, cluck like a chicken or forget the number 9! The hypnosis stunts you’ve seen on the TV are called “stage” or “street” hypnosis and are purely for entertainment purposes only. Hypnotherapy is entirely different and is used to effect beneficial change. The subconscious mind never sleeps and hears everything, so any unwanted suggestion by the hypnotherapist will be instantly recognized, challenged and the client will come immediately out of trance.
So do ask your hypnotherapist if they have any experience with cancer patients, and check that they have the proper professional indemnity insurance in place. If your child has cancer and you are thinking about hypnotherapy, check that the therapist has experience in working with young children and has enhanced DBS clearance.
If you are interested in hypnotherapy and would like a chat about how it can help, then please book in for a thirty minute initial consultation by calling 07752 607404 or email me using my contact page.