When illness is ‘all in the mind’
Is every day a painful nightmare?
Have you been suffering from unexplained physical symptoms? Do you struggle to get out of bed because of chest pains? Were you once a keen cook, but now stomach contractions make eating a sandwich an ordeal, let alone a full meal? Does the aching in your bones make exercise a nightmare, when you were once a gym bunny?
Has the doctor turned you away?
Are you a frequent visitor to the doctor’s surgery, only to be turned away empty-handed having been told there is nothing more the profession can offer you? If so, you may be one of those people who are suffering from a psychosomatic illness.
Have the tests proved nothing?
A psychosomatic illness occurs when the body presents realistic and painful symptoms for which the medical profession can find no cause. This does not of course mean that there is no illness present only that there is no evidence of illness. Remember that medical knowledge and techniques are constantly improving, but illness is complex, and there are many gaps in understanding.
Get the best investigations
It is very important therefore that if you are unwell, that you get the best possible help, and are referred to experts in the field who can give you a very thorough examination, order a battery of tests and can interpret the results effectively.
If however, you have been down this route, been declared fit and well, you could be suffering from a psychosomatic complaint. Sometimes dismissed as all in the mind, these illnesses are extremely distressing. All the joy, energy and vibrancy is drained out of us and we feel very low and very misunderstood.
If this is the case, it may well be worth considering expert psychological help, especially in the form of hypnotherapy (in fact your consultant may have recommended that you do so).
The powers of the mind
There is no need to feel ashamed of consulting a hypnotherapist, or as if you are being a ‘fraud’. The mind is incredibly powerful and can cause us to have the most astounding symptoms - phantom pregnancy is one example. The other, well-known extreme, is when a woman is admitted to hospital with ‘tummy trouble’ only to give birth a few hours later to a beautiful baby. In both cases, the mind has played ‘tricks’ on us.
Why psychosomatic illnesses are valuable
At the unconscious level, we are very good at hiding information from ourselves. But something, deep down, will be wrong. It is the job of the hypnotherapist to help you use the resources of the unconscious mind to identify the hidden messages in your symptoms and enable you to get back on track with your life.
What a hypnotherapist can do for you
A hypnotherapist will be very understanding, take a case history, need to know for sure that you have had yourself properly checked out by the medics, and be able to use a range of techniques, including creative visualisation, memory and emotions to resolve the issues.
The unconscious causes are perhaps buried in childhood conflicts, relationship pressures, divorce, loss, bereavements, or other traumatic experiences. Why not use your inner resources to break free of unnecessary pain and restore yourself to glowing health, able to enjoy life again?
As with choosing any professional service, take time and care to choose just the right person for you.
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About Marian Barry
Marian Barry is an advanced cognitive hypnotherapist practising at the Harley St Hypnotherapy Clinic London and Gt Abington, Cambridge. She has given talks at conferences around the world specialising in personal change and confidence building. She is a best-selling author of many popular works published by Cambridge University Press.