Mind Over Matter, Use Your Brain to Ease Your Pain
Home  |  About  |  Sessions  |  IBS  |  Self-Help  |  Articles   |  Audio  |  Contact  |  Links

pacifica tribune

Choices in Health Care

By Susan Bishop

In my sixteen years in Intensive Care and Cardiac Care, I worked with people in extreme health crisis. I was there when people were recovering from extensive surgery. I was there when people were healing from massive heart attack, overwhelming illness or severe injury. I was also there when people were at the end of their lives. I enjoyed being able to give hands on care to all kinds of people in need. It is a wonderful feeling to see someone get better. It was also fulfilling to provide comfort to patients and their families when the end was near. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Western Medicine. It is an invaluable resource for treatment of acute, serious illness.

During the last few years of active nursing, however, I began to feel disillusioned with the care I was giving. I was seeing a tremendous amount of attention, energy and money spent to help people in crisis, with little attention, energy or money spent to prevent the crisis in the first place. Why were so many people getting so sick? We have the best nutrition, the best sanitation, the best of everything - why are we all so miserable? I also became uncomfortable with the idea that all of us wearing white coats were the experts, while the patient's job was to do as told - be compliant. It seemed as if we in the medical professions were taking the power away from the individual. Even the idea of calling someone a patient seemed significant - stop being active and start being "patient". Was this really the only way of doing things?

Finally I was forced to stop wondering if there was a better way, and forced to go find that better way. I had my own health crisis. I developed severe, unrelenting asthma. I was on steroids and inhalers, and was still having frequent, severe attacks. I was unable to work. When I asked my doctors when I would recover, I was told that that I probably wouldn't get much better. I should learn to live with it. You can imagine how I felt. This was not how I intended to live my life. I felt I had been let down by the medical system I had worked in all my adult life. I discovered that while Western Medicine is wonderful with crisis, it has limitations with chronic illness. Once I failed to get better, there seemed little the doctors had to offer me besides more drugs and less hope. I had to find alternatives.

I examined several forms of alternative therapy. The first form I found that helped me was Traditional Chinese Medicine - primarily herbs and acupuncture. Through months of persistent therapy I finally began to improve. I was able to go back to work, although I was still fragile. I remained weak, easily fatigued and still on inhalers. When I returned to work as a nurse, I was even more disillusioned than before. I continued to search for alternatives, although it was more difficult than ever now that I was chronically ill. I decided that I probably would never find a good alternative, and instead found myself a safe desk job to settle in. I didn't enjoy it, and it wasn't very satisfying, but it also wasn't very demanding, and what else could I do?

Then a fellow nurse mentioned that she was going to take a short course in hypnosis. Suddenly a light went on. I knew I had to learn more about this. I met with practicing hypnotherapists, and liked what I saw. I checked out schools and read all I could find. I learned that hypnotherapy is a safe, effective way of helping people heal themselves from physical, mental and emotional stresses. I learned that hypnotherapy teaches a client how to reach and recognize their own authority, rather than giving it away to anyone else.

I started studying, eventually graduating as a Clinical Certified Hypnotherapist. Within one month of learning and practicing self hypnosis, I was off all medication for the first time in years. By the end of six weeks, I was healthy - healthy in a way I had forgotten how to be. I have enough energy to last all day. I don't get sick every time any bug comes around. And I don't wheeze anymore. Today I consider myself an ex-asthmatic.

In my practice, I see private clients for a variety of issues. I help people recover from chronic illness, just like I did. I teach clients how to change the sensations of chronic pain. I also help people with stress management, anxiety, unhappiness, phobias and a number of emotional issues. I even help clients quit smoking and change other habits as desired. A particular love of mine is teaching self hypnosis workshops. I believe that if everybody practiced self hypnosis on a regular basis, we would live in a different world. Self hypnosis is such a valuable and versatile tool that I believe it can help almost anyone approach their goals. I love my work and my life. I can help people now in the ways that I always wanted to before. I see people achieve and maintain their health in all of its forms, and help others discover their own center, balance and power.