Guided Imagery

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					Guided Imagery, Visualization And End Stage - Cancer
For many years I worked with people with all kinds of cancer at all
stages. Visualization is a widely used technique to help people focus on
the more positive aspects of life and therefore improve thei r health. The
most profound experience that I had was working in a chemo clinic with
many individuals who were end-stage and had bone mets. I found that the
visualizations were highly effective with them. The clients were
extremely receptive to this kind of work because of their questions about
death and what happens after death. The weekly sessions eased their
anxiety, helped them to plan for their families, clear up unfinished
business and make peace with many life long issues. They were able to get
unstuck and open communication with loved ones about their death. Many
times end stage cancer patients are the most realistic of all. The
families tip toe around their illness and hold onto hope far beyond what
is realistic or healthy for them. Then, when the p erson dies the family
members are shocked and unprepared.
Even doctors struggle with the issues of what to tell the patient and
what to share with family members. Often a doctor will say one thing to a
patient but behind closed doors with the staff, a muc h clearer picture is
given. The staff is far more aware of the truth than the family members
or, sometimes the patient. Usually a patient knows how sick they are and
they don't even need to be told by the doctor. Some families will ask
that the patient not be told the truth about their illness, but they are
the ones who know the best how sick they really are.
Visualizations allow the patient to explore a world beyond this one. This
gives them peace of mind when they can see or imagine a beautiful place
that is peaceful and full of supportive beings to help them with the
process. The visualizations I used involved "healing temples" with
gardens and "healing masters". The kinds of experiences that clients had
were amazing. One woman discovered her inner guide . His wisdom and
reassurance helped her through her radiation treatments for lung cancer.
Her cancer was caught early and the outcome was very positive.
Another client will always stand out in my mind. She was a very special
lady in her 60s whose breast cancer had been missed. She was furious with
the doctor who didn't listen to her concerns 7 years earlier and was in
the middle of a law suit that she wanted to see through before she died.
Her daughter was pregnant and she wanted to live until the birth of her
grandchild. Through the visualizations she was able to let go of the
anger about how she ended up with metastatic cancer which had spread to
her liver and bones. She focused on being present for her daughter and
was able to live two years longer than the doctors expected. She had
vivid visualizations which included seeing her future granddaughter
growing up. She had conversations with her granddaughter and saw that her
adult children were able to manage without her even though they missed
her terribly.
She went to the same healing temple each time and very often she and I
would see identical scenes during the visualizations. I knew that we had
arrived at the same place and that I was there to support her along with
the many healing masters that showed up each time. Her anxiety decreased
significantly and her relationship with her husband even improved before
her death. They had had a strained relationship for most of their
marriage and she was able to forgive him for his limitations and
mistakes. Most of all, she was able to enjoy her time with her daughter
with whom she was the closest. She never told her children that the
cancer had metastasized and they were devastated when she died. They were
confused because she had misinformed them of her condition so as not to
worry them. This actually made their grieving process much worse than it
had to be.
I had worked with hundreds of cancer patients and have seen quite a few
die unfortunately. The saddest part is how many of them withheld
information about their illness from their families in order to protect
them. They thought they were doing the right thing but actually the grief
was so much more complicated and the family often thought the doctors had
made a terrible mistake that caused their death when that wasn't the case
at all. When a person knows that they are dying, and patients often do,
it is much kinder to include the family in the process rather than
exclude them. Most people are stronger than others think and can handle
the truth and the facts. We always like to hope for the best and wish for
a miracle but sometimes an illness is clearly taking a person's life. The
important thing at that stage is to make the most of one's final days and
the best way to do that is to let others know the truth.
Debbie Simon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, NY State Licensed
Psychotherapist and Life Coach. Specializing in
visualization/manifestation; 20 years experience; seasoned, skilled and