Cancer and chronic illness may certainly have a negative impact on self-esteem and feelings of confidence. Therefore hypnotic ego-strengthening methods may be of value with these patients. In addition, the use of self-hypnosis to control symptoms provides the patient with a sense of mastery and counters feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Pain is also an
important issue for some patients and hypnotherapy may be of benefit. The side effects of chemotherapy are popularly regarded as being almost as terrible as cancer itself. Certainly, the
side effects of anticipated nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite may be successfully addressed through hypnotic suggestion.
Anxiety and fear are also important symptoms for many patients. Professionals in the fields of hypnotherapy and behavioral medicine widely believe that produces feelings of calm and
tranquility allows the immune system to function at a maximum level, helping the fight against cancer. For these reasons, hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis may be valuable therapeutic tools.
In a randomized prospective study, a combination of hypnosis and group psychotherapy was shown to result in a 50% reduction in pain among metastatic breast cancer patients (Spiegel & Bloom, 1983). Hypnotic analgesia has also been shown to be more potent than either placebo analgesia (McGlashan, Evans et al., 1969) or acupuncture analgesia (Knox & Shum, 1977). The explicit use of hypnosis with hypnotizable patients has proven to be a more powerful means of controlling pain. Clinical hypnotherapy in cancer settings provides symptom reduction (pain and anxiety) and empowers patients to take an active role in their treatments and procedures.
Hypnotherapy can be of value in the treatment of cancer in the following respects (Hartland's; medical and Dental Hypnosis, fourth edition, Heap & Aravind, 2002):
When choosing a hypnotherapist, it is important to be sure that he or she is qualified. Pierre Benoit, CHt, RCCH, specializes in helping people whose lives have been touched by cancer. He is a member of the Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists of Canada (ARCH) and of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) and can be reached at (514)472-3535.
Mr. Pierre Benoit is the owner and operator of Hypnotherapy and Counselling Clinic (Clinique d'hypnothérapie et de relation d'aide). Mr Benoit worked as a Specialized Educator and Child and Family Counselor from 1977 to 1998. He worked at the following agencies:
From 1996 to 2004 Mr. Benoit opened the Institut International de Formation et de Ressourcement Inc. where he taught, in different agencies and companies throughout Quebec, intervention techniques to handle verbal and physical aggression. His programs were also accepted by cégeps where he taught his program such as Cégep de St-Jérôme, Cégep Marie-Victorin, LaSalle College.
Through his need to better himself, he was certified as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner and started learning hypnosis as a modality for change to help his clients better themselves. He decided to specialize in hypnotherapy and, in 2004, he opened the Clinique d’hypnothérapie et de relation d’aide where he has been working full-time helping people reconnect with their potential for success.