CBT as a complementary therapy for cancer

Pam Watson is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist working in Ennis, Co. Clare. In today’s post, Pam explains what CBT is and how it might help you with your cancer diagnosis. 

A cancer diagnosis brings with it a wide range of emotions. Disbelief, anger, shock, sadness, denial, anxiety, depression and guilt are all very normal feelings. Talking openly about your feelings and emotions can be a huge help. Gaining a deeper understanding of these emotions can also help you cope better with your diagnosis and life in general.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a complementary therapy which has proved to be helpful for people with cancer.  It’s also useful to family members and friends, as it helps to identify the multiple effects that cancer can have, not only physically but also psychologically.

Cancer survivors may also benefit from additional support to help cope with how they feel after their treatment is complete. CBT can help with adjusting to normal life after treatment has ended.

CBT comes in various shapes and sizes – so, not one size fits all. It is a tailored and bespoke psychotherapeutic approach which helps manage difficulties. It is a form of talking therapy where techniques and life strategies can be learned to help overcome serious life challenges.

It helps to solve and change unhelpful thoughts often faced by those living with cancer, essentially improving their quality of life. It offers a structured, flexible and respectful approach and helps develop more self-supporting behaviours and greater self-care. CBT works alongside conventional cancer treatments and can also help with pain management.

Completing a CBT programme has been found to help significantly in the reduction of many symptoms of those living with cancer and is recommended by many health professionals.

Following a CBT programme

A CBT programme will teach new strategies, life skills and coping mechanisms. Sessions include how to:

  • Manage thought patterns and self-talk
  • Control and manage pain and unpleasant treatment symptoms
  • Use effective and powerful relaxation methods
  • Change behaviour – towards yourself and to others
  • Communicate more effectively

If you think you might benefit from CBT, speak to your hospital team or local cancer support centre about whether they can provide these services for you (many of them do), or seek a private practitioner like Pam.

Pam works as part of the team of Holistic Practitioners at the Orchard Wellness Centre in Ennis, Co. Clare. Having recently moved to Ireland from the UK, Pam is currently building a private practice whilst continuing to develop her professional field. For 4 years, Pam had the privilege of working with the Sefton Cancer Support Group (UK), supporting those facing cancer in the community. She has also worked alongside cancer patients individually. Like so many, Pam has personal experience of the severity of cancer. CBT skills helped her through. For further information, please contact Pam on 083 823 9177.

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