The C-Word & H-Word . . . Cancer & Hypnotherapy

Cancer and Hypnotherapy.

Did you know hypnotherapy can support you during your cancer journey?

The C-Word

You may be reading this thinking that you know more about cancer than you ever wanted to, and I hear you. If that’s you, skip to the next paragraph where I talk about what hypnotherapy may be able to offer you. 

Cancer is an umbrella term that covers around 200 different diseases, the thing they have in common is it means some of our own cells mutate and have gone rogue!  

Treatment may be aimed at removing the rogue cells by various means or by shrinking them. 

Everyone’s experience of cancer is unique and I will tailor your sessions to suit you. 

Let’s Be Upfront About This

Maybe you think that because you have cancer complementary therapies are useless?  

Please allow me to change your mind? 

Complementary therapies have a team approach, I work with your medical team, I am not an alternative therapist.  Hypnotherapy is not a cure for cancer.  I just had to get that nicely clear and in black and white. But there is definitely a but! 

I do not treat cancer but I can help you through your cancer journey.

Always talk with your doctor or specialist nurse before having any complementary therapy, including hypnotherapy. 

Why do people come to see me? 

Hypnotherapy can complement your critical medical treatment to give you the mental strength, inner resources and frame of mind to navigate your own personal path to the best of your abilities.

These are some of the more common things people come to see me about. 

1. Feeling angry or sad or even sometimes judged by others about the diagnosis.

Sometimes people misunderstand the label ‘lifestyle cancers’ and feel they are to blame for their illness. As your doctor has probably already told you, it’s much more complicated than that. 

The four commonest cancers – prostate, breast, lung and bowel cancer – sometimes get given this label.

In hypnotherapy our approach is one of respect and kindness and acceptance of the human condition. 

2. ’Mental Fog’ – sometimes called ‘chemo brain

One element of this is a feeling of forgetting things. When we feel anxious (otherwise known as a hyper vigilant state) our mind sometimes drops lots of things, this is to focus our attention on the scary thing looming large on the horizon. 

Perhaps what we need is a little extra help in lowering this hyper vigilant state so that we can feel more like ourselves? 

I can support you by focusing on what we’re going to do to make you feel more in control of your feelings and give you the opportunity for relaxation which will help bring you out of that hyper vigilant state.

3. Feeling Nauseous 

Perhaps you feel sick in just anticipation of your second round of chemotherapy? 

The first time you were ok, but when it comes to the second you feel sick or nauseous in anticipation. This happens to a small number of people. Ask your doctor or specialist nurse whether you might have ‘anticipatory nausea and vomiting’ and ask then if they think hypnotherapy may be useful to you. 

Research shows that hypnotherapy may be very helpful with this. Please don’t worry though, most people don’t get this. 

This is called a conditioned response. It’s a bit like…

  • feeling sick when you smell a kebab because of that food poisoning incident from university days?
  • getting nauseous when they smell a Smirnoff Ice because of an experience in their late teens?

They all demonstrate a fear learning cycle in the brain which hypnotherapy may help adjust. 

Anticipatory nausea and vomiting (ANV) occasionally happens because our mind makes a link with the chemo, hospital environment, smell of food, and sometimes even tablet taking, and we start to feel sick in anticipation. 

There are specific hypnotherapy techniques to help with this. 

 4. Fear, phobia and ‘scanxiety

Sometimes people develop a fear of needles that they didn’t have before their diagnosis. This can happen in a similar way to the ANV above – it’s part of our ability to learn and condition ourselves to avoid unpleasant and scary things.

Fortunately we can unlearn it too. 

Scanxiety is the word people sometimes use to describe fear of hospital appointments or medical procedures. The doctors and nurses are lovely and yet we can dread our appointment with them because we start negatively forecasting what they might say. Or perhaps we dread the scan because we worry what it may show. 

In hypnotherapy we use two techniques here, one to help unlearn the response and one teaches people some self hypnosis techniques to stay calm, confident and in control during scans and procedures. 

I only use Hypnotherapy as a complementary therapy – always tell your doctor or specialist nurse that you wish to come and see me. A team approach, where we all work for you, is what we’re aiming for. 

Hypnotherapy may also help you at the end of your treatment

Allow me to help you navigate a post-treatment landscape, which may be very new and different and take some adjusting to. 

I can appreciate that being cured of your cancer doesn’t always make things the way they were before. The end of treatment may feel like it’s the end of lots of support  too – it may even feel like being dropped off the end of a cliff, it isn’t.

Talk to your GP, support is out there. Talk to me too if you’d like. 

I understand that you may feel as if people expect you to feel happy, but you actually feel rubbish.  Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help you navigate your path forward.

I’m here to help you

As you can see, I am never treating cancer, that’s in the very capable hands your doctors. I’m here for you – to help you manage your feelings as you go through your cancer journey.

Hypnotherapy can help you find moments of calm in the storm, moments of peace when you can rest and moments of strength when you need it. 

It is never my job to persuade you to have any specific forms of treatments.  I am not a doctor or cancer nurse.  I am not family or friends.  I can support you to realise your best hopes, believe you fully every step of the way and have hope-filled conversations focused on your aspirations.  This is supremely powerful for your brain and perspective.

Also, I appreciate that you may feel vulnerable, whilst undergoing treatment, and be worried about visiting me in a non-medical setting.  Therefore, I will always offer you the first appointment of the day, have strict hand washing policies in place, will reschedule for free if I have any form of illness which causes you concern and never use a GSR, which is a piece of equipment used on others clients.  

I do all these things to create an environment in which you can move past anxiety and feel safe and respected.
If you would like hypnotherapy to help you, or someone you love, simply email me lauren@oakviewhypnotherapy.co.uk and we can arrange a time to chat;  I would be honoured to help.