There’s a real problem with hypnosis and Western Medicine. Although the two work very well together, it’s a rare and enlightened doctor who makes use of it. The problem is that there is no money in it for anyone except the hypnotherapist.
Yes, we like to get paid just like everyone else doing their job.
Let me clarify.
Let’s say a pharmaceutical company spends several years developing a new drug, testing it on animals, working on the formulation and whatever else they do before people swallow it. By this time they have invested several million dollars. Then they have to run drug trials. These are expensive. They are also supposed to be independent, but they are actually funded by the company who has invested millions in the development of the drug. The doctors running the trial are paid by the drug company. If the trial reports success, which is surprisingly often, then the results are handed over to the Federal Drugs Administration for approval. If the FDA gives the go ahead then huge profits are almost guaranteed. Partly because the company involved will spend several more millions promoting it. Reps who visit general practitioners will recommend it and hand out mugs and pens and notepads emblazoned with the name of the new drug – just so the doctor can’t forget about it.
And that’s just what the pharmaceutical companies do that’s above board.
Doctors love new drugs. Patients love new drugs because they hold the promise of an almost instant cure that an old drug no longer has. If it’s new, it’s got to be good – right? And occasionally a new drug is better than an old drug. But once a new drug is being prescribed regularly then all of that investment rolls back into the coffers of the drug companies and before long huge profits are made.
The typical hypnotherapist is a one-person show who knows how to help people. Hypnotherapists fall into the class of healer much more readily than do most doctors. They also tend to be more interested in their patients’ well-being to a much greater extent than the average pharmaceutical company.
The problem is that individual hypnotherapists cannot afford millions of dollars to fund favourable research in the way that drug companies can and do. Consequently what research there is tends to be with small groups of patients because that way the cost is kept down. Another problem – particularly with life-threatening diseases like cancer – is that it is unethical to withhold treatment. So you can’t ethically run an experiment where some patients only receive, say, hypnotherapy, when it is known that there are drugs out there that could help. It is also unethical to run a placebo group as you would in a trial for a new form of aspirin.
Still there is some research out there and some of that research reports favourably on the use of hypnotherapy. I’ve written about the evidence for how helpful hypnosis can be in the easing of side-effects from chemotherapy and I suggest you check that out.
But with hypnosis, all you are buying is the hypnotherapist’s time and skill, and once you have completed the course of treatment that’s it, you are free and well. There is no long-term custom. There is no product to be manufactured and profited from. There are no hospitals to supply a constant market for the product.
But I have another problem with the way that research is conducted for hypnotherapy. In most cases the attempt, with research, is to remove the effect of personality. Have you ever noticed how some doctors make you feel well and you leave filled-with hope and expectation of a cure, while others leave you unsettled or unsatisfied?
Hypnosis research is based around the reading of hypnosis scripts. Nothing wrong with that, many hypnotherapists use scripts that guide the patient into the state of hypnosis and then make the appropriate suggestions. But what most hypnotherapists do is to modify these scripts depending on the needs of the individual patients. So two people coming with the same problem will get similar, but not identical, treatment because the hypnotherapist will tailor treatment to their patients’ personalities and specific needs. Hypnosis research does not allow for this. They make it just like taking a pill – one size fits all.
I’ve lost track of the number of people who have been to other hypnotherapists and had no success with treatment, then, often years later, they decide to try again. They find their way to me and I fix their problem quickly and easily. They tell me they wished they had found me first. They tell me that their first visit put them off hypnotherapy and made them think it was a waste of time. Not everyone is the same. Personality is important. Everyone has their own way of being with other people and feeling for what they most need. Quite often it’s simply recognising where the root cause of the problem truly lies and then working on that.
I mentioned above that I’d looked into some of the research for the use of hypnosis with conventional cancer-treatment. That was to help me to create a CD for a friend of mine who is undergoing treatment for cancer at the moment. I have since made this recording available to anyone who wants to download it. It utilises hypnotic techniques that I’ve tried and tested over the years with many of my patients. It is designed to ease the side-effects generally suffered with patients undergoing chemotherapy. It is quite safe to use alongside conventional medical treatment and will only make life easier. Full details are available here.
But it needs commitment. It needs to be listened to daily – in just the same way that you would expect to take a drug on a regular basis for a period of time. People expect miracles from hypnosis that they don’t expect from any other branch of medicine. Hypnosis is not magic. It needs to be worked with and treated with respect. This particular treatment needs to be listened to at least once, and preferably twice, daily in order for you to enjoy its benefits.
So if you are reading this and you have a friend or relative who is about to endure, or is in the middle of chemotherapy, share this page with them. The decision needs to be theirs – all I can do is offer the help.