Garry Coles, a Complementary and Natural Healthcare (CNHC) registered hypnotherapist and member of the CNHC Profession Specific Board (PSB) for hypnotherapy, writes about how ‘giving something back’ through charity work has had unexpected consequences on his hypnotherapy practice.
I’ve being working on a charitable basis, once a week in an NHS Oncology Unit for over thirteen years. I originally joined when new to hypnotherapy to gain experience and never left! It’s not for everyone, helping patients through their cancer journey, many therapists don’t last long in the environment as it can be very emotional when you lose patients you have built relationships with, but it can also be very rewarding.
I get involved in all aspects of the patients ‘cancer journey’, from diagnosis, to fears, phobias and anxieties, pre and post-surgery, treatment side effects, the recovery and much more. There are also the less enjoyable palliative elements and end of life care.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about cancer and cancer treatments as the hospital enrolled me on many specialist courses, and when I become one of only a handful of students in the UK to study for an MSc in Clinical Hypnotherapy, I was fortunate enough to become embedded in the Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team to be able to carry out research into the use of presurgical hypnosis in breast cancer operations for my dissertation. From my research and experience I was able to come up with hypnotherapy scripts, protocols and techniques that were best suited to working with cancer patients. To me this was just ‘something I did, to give something back, because I could’.
I am a hypnotherapist from a scientific background so can’t say I believe in such concepts such as karma, but then again…?
The last couple of years have been a little strange. I started receiving requests for advice on working with cancer patients from therapists all over the world via email and social media. I always assisted, keen to help. As the request increased I was asked to give some short talks at London conferences and meetings, culminating in quite a large presentation at the first London Hypnosis Convention. After this I was invited to present at the second London convention and many people suggested that I should put together a masterclass to help other therapists wanting to work with cancer patients. I wasn’t sure there would be much demand!
After my London convention presentation success, I was amazed to be invited to go and present on ‘working with cancer patients’, at the world’s largest hypnotherapy conference in Las Vegas. That was last year. Since then I have put together a workshop and delivered it for the first time, early this year at a London University.
I have just returned from Las Vegas where I have just delivered the same workshop, in addition to speaking for the second year running. I have now been booked to present and teach in New York next year as well as going back to Las Vegas. I am also getting asked to run more classes in the UK. I’ve also had tentative enquires about teaching in Canada, Australia and India. Whether these happen, I have no idea!
Does karma exist? Is this it in action? I have absolutely no idea, all I know is that ‘just giving something back’ has had profound positive consequences for me!