Archive report of meeting
Thursday 17th March 2022
Past notice

Hypno-Oncology: Hypnotic interventions for the cancer journey

A Masterclass presented by Garry Coles

So many different types of problems present themselves at hypnotherapists’ practice rooms. But what do you do when the client/patient presents with cancer?

Most hypnotherapy schools and colleges now include tutelage in therapy for cancer patients while of course many therapists re-enforce this with additional training courses.

Nevertheless for many it can still seem a daunting prospect. Which of course is understandable. Despite astonishing progress in oncology, cancer probably still remains one of the most feared conditions; affecting patients on so many levels, both physically and mentally.

Fortunately there is a substantial body of clinical study evidence of the benefits that hypnosis can offer in therapeutic and palliative care of cancer patients.

Possibly the oldest accounts stretch back to the 1850s and James Esdaile operating on stomach and breast tumours while there were also reports in the early 20th century of hypnosis being employed at the East-End Wesleyan Hospital in London helping cancer patients with pain control.

By the early 1930s the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology was carrying a study on hypnotic anaesthesia, then in 1932 the Royal Society of Medicine carried a paper by B. Hollander entitled “Hypnosis and anaesthesia.”

Over the intervening decades, as clinicians became interested in the effects of stress on patients’ psychological and physiological responses, especially on immune system, the links between mind and body became increasingly recognised.

Now the 21st century has seen an encouraging increase in the number of NHS hospitals across the United Kingdom taking on hypnotherapists to work directly with doctors in cancer wards.

Undoubtedly one of the leading pioneers in this field is Garry Coles, who was the society's guest speaker at March 2022 meeting..

The March talk proved to be a memorable and important presentation. After all, approximately half of all the people born since 1960 will experience cancer at some time in their lives. That is an astonishing figure.
Garry Coles
Garry Coles

has more than sixteen years of hypnotherapy experience in an oncological setting where he is the resident hypnotherapist in a major hospital offering hypnotherapy treatment for a myriad of cancer related issues.

He has received specialist cancer hospital training and spent a year imbedded in the hospital’s Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team, attending weekly meetings with the surgeons and oncology team to discuss cases and treatments.  

He has since carried out the first groundbreaking UK clinical research project studying the effects of pre-surgical hypnotherapy on the recovery quality in breast cancer biopsies. The results are due to be published.
He was also part of the team which formulated the basic UK curriculum for hypnotherapy training.

Recently Garry re-elected by fellow hypnotherapists to the Hypnotherapy Profession Specific Board (PSB) for the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) where he advises the CNHC on all aspects of hypnotherapy governance and training.
His first book Hypno-Oncology: Hypnotic Interventions for the Cancer Journey will be published later this year

What may also surprise many is that around 40 per cent will seek-out complementary or alternative tents. Garry Coles’ online presentation will provide our audience with a better understanding of the patient’s’ cancer journey and how, as therapists, they can assist with that journey through the use of hypnotic interventions.

The talk offered an honest overview of what cancer is but also examine the legal and ethical implications of working in this area. In addition set out a series of ideas on what to work with and how hypnotherapists can use those tools with knowledge and confidence which in turn improves the therapy delivered to cancer patients.