Hypnotherapy and cancer

Linda Witchell is a retired nurse and bereavement counsellor, and one of only a few hypnotherapists with an MSc in Hypnosis, Research and Clinical Practice in the UK. She runs Awaken the Change, a specialist hypnotherapy and counselling service in Bournemouth.

She’s recently started supporting clients at our Bournemouth support centre, and explains how hypnotherapy can make a difference if you’re living with cancer.

“I should just start by saying that we don’t claim hypnotherapy can cure cancer,” Linda explains, “but we do know it can help with the anxiety, fears and phobias you might be experiencing.

“Living with cancer can be really tough, and I know it’s difficult to make stress, anxiety and worry go away on their own. We want to, but it’s hard as we struggle to find a way to feel better. Research and evidence shows that the way we deal with difficult times can make a big difference to our future health and happiness. Hypnotherapy can help with this.

“Everyone is different, and if you’re considering hypnotherapy we’ll have an initial consultation where we get to know each other. We’ll discuss your personal circumstances, health, experiences, emotions and thoughts. It’s important for us to agree what you’d like hypnotherapy help you achieve. We’ll discuss any concerns you might have, and how hypnotherapy could help.”

What is hypnotherapy?

“Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to put you into a trance-like state where your body is relaxed but your mind is active. If you have cancer, hypnotherapy could help you relax and cope with your symptoms and treatments. It can also make you feel more comfortable and in control of your overall situation – reducing depression, anxiety and stress.

“You might find, for example, that your mind is racing and you have difficulty sleeping. Hypnotherapy can help with fears and phobias, too. Maybe follow-up appointments at the hospital trigger painful memories of when you had to visit for cancer treatment, or there could be something more specific. You might hate needles or find the MRI scanner frightening, for example. It might be something that seems trivial – that you wouldn’t necessarily speak to your GP about, but which is really affecting your life. You might simply like to use hypnotherapy for relaxation and to help you feel an overall sense of calm.

“There’s evidence that a combination of counselling and hypnotherapy can be incredibly helpful at any stage of cancer. Just talking to someone outside of your main circle of friends and family can make a huge difference. Often, we filter what we share to protect others or pretend we’re OK because we think we should put on a brave face. I encourage you to be completely open about how you’re feeling with no fear of judgement or shame.

“I’ve seen the suffering and pain that cancer can cause and want to give back to my local community by supporting you with hypnotherapy and counselling. If you feel that hypnotherapy could be beneficial, please get in touch with the Bournemouth cancer support centre (click the link to find the contact details) in the first instance, or call 01202 315824.”