Clients often come to me for hypnotherapy to help with their emotional state around ‘medical issues’. These include chronic pain, fibromyalgia, muscle and soft tissue conditions, even neurological conditions involving motor function. I obviously ask them a little about what the doctors have told them, and commonly they’ve been told “I can’t find the source of the problem, you’ll just have to learn to live with it.”
This annoys me, and here’s why. A medical practitioner can’t find the source of the problem, and therefore tells their patient that they’ll just have to “live with it”. This is so wrong on many levels. What these medical practitioners are actually saying is that “with the pathology we’ve given you, and with the knowledge I have, I can’t find the source of the problem.”
The story should not end there.
In the first instance the problem is real. Otherwise the client wouldn’t be there presenting the problem to that medical practitioner. So why don’t they get more pathology to find the problem? Or send to another medical practitioner who may be able to find it, even a practitioner in a different field?
In my opinion no client should be told “you’ll just have to learn to live with it” based on a medical practitioner not finding the cause of the problem. A good medical practitioner will refer on to someone who may be able to help.
So when these clients come to me I work to resolve their emotional issues around their condition, and the other related psychological issues that surround it. This loosens them up physically (please see my last blog post on ‘Emotions in Sport’ explaining how the body holds tension as a result of negative emotions) which can often produce a direct improvement in the actual physical condition itself.
I also, with their permission and after full explanation, explore any psychological causes of their condition. Here are some brief examples.
I often find that fibromyalgia has started at a time of a negative emotional event. I work to clear these emotions around that event, and often the fibromyalgia eases or even stops.
When there are physical injuries that persist where there is no pathology to support them, especially following a physical trauma, often the body is ‘holding on’ to an unresolved ‘freeze response’ – it is holding on to the position it held during the trauma. This is particularly true for what is commonly called ‘whiplash syndrome’. There is also the possibility of simply ‘learned behaviour’, such as “my car has been struck from behind, I must have a neck injury”. What the mind perceives the body recreates.
Chronic pain is often learned behaviour following an injury. The body has a real issue, yet the pain is not released even after the issue is healed – the mind holds onto the ‘memory’ of the pain. It is also often found to be created by the mind when an emotional event has not been processed; the body sends a signal saying “pay attention!” and the pain is created in the body, often causing swelling to create this signal of pain. (This is often in the back.)
Of course, some people do have real physical issues without psychological origins. Here I would work to remove the negative emotion, assist in boosting immune systems and recovery, manage pain, manage side effects of any medication, and much more besides.
Hopefully this blog post is of interest to you if you suffer from any condition that may have a psychological basis or large psychological component – which would include Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Whiplash Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and more…
If your interest is raised and yet still want to learn more this time from a medical perspective I would point you in the direction of the (very accessible) books from Robert Scaer, M.D., John E. Sarno, M.D., and Peter Levine, Phd.