Healing Cancer With NLP
By: Dr Richard Bolstad and Margot Hamblett
Part A: A Research Based Approach To Mind-Body Healing Of Cancer
Successes and Failures in Healing
"I believe we are only scratching the surface of our own capabilities and that
the most promising area for research lies within our own minds, our own hearts,
our own souls."
We have a strong personal interest in assisting people to heal from cancer. Like most NLP based health practitioners, we have seen clients heal cancer using NLP processes, and we have also seen clients die from cancer. However we know that cancer can be healed using mind-body processes, and it can be healed on a consistent basis. We are talking about a research study based on over 300,000 people which shows over 95% effectiveness. The methods used in the world’s largest study on medicine-free healing of cancer are almost entirely familiar to NLP Practitioners, with one key exception. In the first part of this article we will document the research into these methods, and explain their basis in immunology. In the second part of the article, we describe a format for the effective healing of cancer and similar life threatening illnesses. We will also explain the one process which we consider is missing in current NLP treatment formats, and suggest an answer to one of the most disturbing questions in NLP: "If NLP is so good, why do so many of our clients with cancer not improve?".
Over this century, health professionals in the west rediscovered the incredible power of the mind to heal the body. The first research demonstrating this in relation to cancer treatment was published by Dr Carl and Stephanie Simonton from Dallas Texas, in their book Getting Well Again (1978). Working with 159 people considered to have medically incurable cancer (average life expectancy 12 months) the Simontons reported two years later that 14 clients had no evidence of cancer at all, 29 had tumours which were stable or regressing, and almost all had lived well beyond the 12 month "limit" (p 11-12). Essentially, 10% were cured and 20% were curing themselves. The Simontons used a combination of biofeedback, visualisation, exercise, goalsetting, resolving internal conflicts, letting go of resentment, and engaging family support.
They explained their success based on psychoneuroimmunology (the way the mind affects the nervous system which in turn affects the immune system).
In Mind-Body Therapy (1988) Ernest Rossi and David Cheek provided another coherent model for achieving this success, using ideodynamic communication (hypnotic communication with the unconscious mind). The publication of Beliefs (1990) by Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith offered an NLP frame for understanding the same processes. This book begins with Dilts’ breathtaking account of his mother healing from cancer after 4 days of NLP to change limiting beliefs and resolve internal conflicts. Six years later, Ian McDermott and Joseph O’Connor published NLP And Health (1996), a thorough review of how NLP techniques can be used to mobilise the immune system to maintain health and heal illness.
These models are exciting, and they still leave us with the question, "What about the other 70% in the Simontons’ studies?". In the field of complementary healing, including in the NLP community, we have sometimes encountered a fear of statistical research. This is related in our experience to a kind of incongruity amongst "healers", who know that their methods only sometimes deliver the success they are advertising. Basically, they don’t want to talk about (or even think about) the majority of their previous clients, who did not get cured. It is true that for individual clients, statistics are deceptive. If your cancer heals, it heals, and so you have not 10% success but 100% success. For us as NLP Practitioners though, our interest is also in shifting a larger group of people into the situation of being fully cured. We set goals, and for us the statistics do count. Later in this article, we will describe a methodology which could increase the Simontons’ success fourfold.