John Teleska, M.Ed., NBCCH
Integrative Medicine Department, Clifton Springs Hospital &
Private Practice, Pittsford, NY (near Rochester)
Hypnosis in Support of People with Cancer
About John Teleska's practice
About John Teleska
Interview w/ Teleska
Teleska's hypno blog
Endorsements by colleagues
What is hypnosis?
What's it good for?
What will I experience?
How many sessions?
About hypnotic ability
...relief from anxiety
fears, and phobias
...birth & comfort
...recovering from trauma
(including sexual abuse)
...people with cancer
Evidence-based medical uses of hypnosis
Articles by John Teleska
Engaging hypnotic ability
Uses of hypnosis
Relief from migraines
Hypnosis and birth
About Milton Erickson
John Teleska's Music Site
Over the past 20 years, there has been growing evidence that a person's psychological and emotional well being increases their physiological ability to fight illness and to heal. Hypnotherapy can help people with cancer to feel better and to mobilize their internal resources to be as healthy as is possible. In addition to the treatment and support you receive from your medical team, cancer patients have a variety of psychological and medical needs that can be addressed through hypnotherapy:
Dealing with emotional responses to having cancer
The message “you have cancer” is an emotional jolt. Hypnotherapy can help you deal with your emotional responses of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Frequently, simply learning to achieve a moderate trance state produces calmness and a sense of one’s own well being and viability. This allows you to think more clearly and make better decisions about your life and treatment, and participate more fully in your healing.
Lowering fear and anxiety, boosting your immune response
Also, our emotions significantly influence health and recovery from disease (including cancer). Emotions are a strong driving force in the immune system and other healing systems. There is a growing body of research that suggests that hypnosis supports enhanced immune system functioning in a way that boosts the body’s natural ability to attack cancer cells.
Relief of pain
Hypnotherapy has been used in many circumstances to help people learn to gain relief from pain and be more comfortable. It can also help the cancer patient learn to reduce the painful symptoms of the disease.
Pain is normally the body’s way of signally when something needs our conscious attention. For instance, when we get a pebble inside our shoe, we feel it—we get the signal that something is wrong. In response to the pain of cancer, when we have done everything that should be done and can be done, then the pain signal no longer serves a useful function. How to gain relief? On some level, perhaps unconsciously, it is possible to ignore the sensations of shoes on our feet or clothes against our bodies. Hypnotherapy can engage this natural ability of "not noticing" to help patients learn to gain relief from the pain signals associated with symptoms of the disease that no longer require any attention.
Gaining relief from treatment side effects
Hypnotherapy can help patients learn to reduce the uncomfortable side effects—for example, pain, nausea, insomnia, loss of appetite—that may accompany various medical treatments in ways that support healing and well being. This allows increased interest and energy to achieve pleasure and satisfaction from life’s activities.
Increased sense of self-control
As patients learn to make positive changes on behalf of comfort, health, and well-being, their sense of self-control increases. Learning self hypnosis allows patients to experience these positive changes between sessions. This has the snowballing effect of raising one’s sense of control and motivation to participate in the treatment plan.
Increased quality of life
Patients and oncologists make decisions that take into account the patient’s quality of life. The hypnotherapist works with the patient and their medical team to move toward the goals of feeling better, developing a greater sense of control of one’s own experience, and having interest and taking pleasure in the activities of daily life.
Books to read
Larry LeShan, “Cancer as a Turning Point” and “You can Fight for Your Life.”
O. Carl Simonton, “Getting Well Again.”
Copyright © 2014 by John Teleska. All rights reserved. Updated 7/7/16.