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Use of Hypnotherapy in the treatment of Cancer patients

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________________ Use of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Cancer Patients In this essay I will be exploring the possibilities for the use of hypnosis with Cancer patients. I will explain as to why I have chosen to focus on Cancer and the remit within which hypnotherapy may be useful. Alongside this I will be conscious of the limits of hypnosis in the treatment of Cancer patients and ethical considerations for the therapist. Latest statistics show that each year for every 100,000 people 519 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK and this number is on the increase (Cancer Research website). It is an illness which the very thought of can strike fear in the heart of anyone. Cancer itself and many of the treatments that it requires can cause much pain and discomfort for the patient. There are many treatments available for cancer including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, biological and hormonal therapies and even surgery. All of these treatments have individual side effects that can cause discomfort for the patient. These can vary and may include severe headaches, nausea, hair loss and mood swings and many more. To allow a person suffering from such difficulties some ease along the way is more than simply worthwhile, it is in my opinion one of the greatest endeavours a person could commit to. ...read more.


Once again, this can all contribute to reducing anxiety and allowing for a happier and more positive disposition for the client. As Hilgard and Hilgard state, ?A more meaningful existence is open to the suffering individual.? Hypnotherapy can also be effective in the management of episodic pain. Erickson described episodic pain as ?a construct of past remembered pain, the present pain experience, and future anticipated pain. Thus, immediate pain is augmented by past pain and is enhanced by the future possibilities of pain. The immediate stimuli are only a central third of the entire experience? (Hilgard and Hilgard). This anticipatory aspect of pain can also be present in anticipation of sickness or other discomforts based on past experiences. Hypnosis can be used to dull previous memories of pain, sickness and the like, thus reducing the anticipation of pain that can exacerbate the immediate pain. Hypnosis can also be used prior to any treatments so that expectation of pain and other discomforts can be reduced. For example prior to a session of chemotherapy the client can be induced and given the suggestion to visualise the chemotherapy drug as a healing liquid flowing around the body and the site of cancer, rather than a poison causing pain and discomfort. Rehearsal of the treatment that the client will have to undergo may also reduce their anxiety, making them feel prepared for what lies ahead. ...read more.


They may even be motivated to take up new activities, though of course this would be within the constraints of their physical abilities. Cancer can leave some patients disfigured, while others can lose hair through treatment and feel unattractive. Confidence building and ego-strengthening suggestions could also help patients come to terms with these side effects of cancer, and allow them to grow and rise above it. In conclusion then it is clear that while hypnotherapy cannot treat or sure cancer, it certainly can aid a cancer patient in a supportive and motivating role. It is vital for success, as with the treatment of any other client with any other issue that the cancer patient is a willing client for any success, as it is well established that hypnotherapy is only as effective as the client allows it to be. In agreeing to treat a cancer patient it is also important for the therapist to be honest about their own ability to deal with such a case, which can be rewarding but can also be traumatic as the therapist will be exposed to the fears and concerns of an individual suffering from a severe disease and possibly even a terminal form of it. If a client is willing and a therapist is well equipped, the scope for hypnotherapy in the aiding of a cancer patient in dealing with physical and emotional difficulties is immense. ...read more.

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