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Energy Healing and Psychotherapy
I'm looking at some complementary therapy to support my cancer care. I'm particularly interested in discovering whether there were any emotional or unresolved issues that may have led to the origination of my cancer that should be addressed to help me with my recovery. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone that has had any experience with these types of healing modalities.
7 Replies
99 Posts
FWIW and IMHO --

You are asking two questions (and a third one, implied):

. . . (a) "Was my cancer caused by my psychological state?"

. . . (b) "Can I change my psychological state, in a way that affects the growth of my cancer?"

I don't think there's any good evidence (that is, results from controlled clinical trials) that supports either one of those two. Not for "energy healing", not for psychotherapy (including behaviour-modification therapy and meditation).

There's a question that you haven't asked, but that's implied:

. . . (c) "Can I change my psychological state, in a way that will improve my quality of life?"

The answer to that -- I think -- is probably "Yes, you can."

The behaviour-modification psychologists, and "mindfulness meditation" crowd, have been doing work for many years, trying to show that their techniques make a real difference in patients' lives. Some of those studies are reasonably convincing. Those techniques won't cure your cancer, but they might make your life easier to bear as your doctors (and your own body) work on it.

"Unresolved issues" can color your view of the world. In the worst case, they lead to:
. . . "This cancer is my own fault, and I deserve it."

That attitude isn't going to help you heal. Changing it, isn't something most docs are trained to do. "Energy healing", psychotherapy, meditation -- try them, and use with whatever works for you. Just don't expect them to shrink your tumors.

. Charles

PS -- I apologize, in advance, to anyone who finds this approach to "complementary therapy" insulting. I know that some people have found it useful.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
164 Posts

I have a few suggestions for you. Perhaps there is a social worker at your cancer centre you can talk to. I was able to access the services of a psychologist while going through treatment and was referred by my oncologist.

I recently joined Wellspring in Calgary and they have a Healing Journey class over Zoom. There are a number of Wellspring locations in Ontario as well.

The Healing & Cancer Foundation in Halifax have a great series called Awakening @ Home that was very helpful. It was run by a wonderful oncologist

I do Meditation through Inspire Health and also find these sessions helpful. I hpoe there is something here that helps you.


Hello Joan,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I will definitely look into the resources you suggested.
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
Inquisitive‍ , I don’t have any actual experience using mindfulness/ affirmations with respect to healing the body, but I have done a fair bit of reading about it, and have used those techniques to pull myself out of one or two emotionally damaging relationships with enough success that I’m happy to be where I am now.

I believe in the power of positive thinking, and feel that the worst that can happen from it is that the time I spend thinking positive thoughts Is time I haven’t spent thinking negative ones!

For affirmations, I turn to the writing of Louise L. Hay, and for mindfulness, my “go to guy” is Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is a leader in using mindfulness and meditation techniques to improve the lives of people suffering chronic pain. He has written several books, including Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go, There You Are. (I have the latter in both hard copy and audio formats.) There are also many good apps out there now to help guide us through, including Calm and (I can’t remember the other one...it’s on this device.)

Do let us know how this all works out for you!

How could I not jump into a thread about complementary therapies. Interestingly enough this is not as uncommon a question as one might think? I too wanted to know where my cancer(s) came from. And my oncologist basically told me that I would never know and that it would be much more productive to focus on treatment and living. (One of my cancers was lung cancer and as a non smoker I was totally dismayed by the stigma surrounding the smoker's disease.)

So that said I wanted to know what I could do to assist in my treatment and in my quality of life. A friend recommended "Stress reduction" offered by my cancer center. So on my last day of my radiation treatment I showed up for the first session of a workshop held once a week for six weeks. Thinly veiled meditation it was and in combination with a few other things changed my life. The literature clearly shows that cancer cannot be cured with these psychological techniques. But quality of life can be vastly improved. And it was in my case.

My fear of reoccurrence was reduced and my ability to handle side effects with equanimity was enhanced. And these conclusions are born out in in the literature that Charles‍ referred to. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6623989/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6488231/ ) Both of these are National Institute of Health literature reviews that do a good job of summarizing what meditation can and can't do.

The Canadian Cancer Society has two excellent pages on these complementary therapies as well. There can be some dangers associated with these so make sure that your oncologist is aware of your participation in these therapies.

Good luck on your journey with this disease.

Thanks for taking the time to respond and for your thoughtful suggestions. I have been doing some meditation and guided imagery lately and I find it has been helpful. At the very least I find it useful for focusing on positive thoughts rather than the negativity that the diagnosis and treatment options play on your mind.
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