by Dr. Francisco Valenzuela, MA, DCH, PhD ~r ~

Psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of how mental, neurological and hormonal factors affect the functioning of the immune system, has interested me for several years.

It’s a subject I’ve devoted part of my life to learning, while practicing as a Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapist and a Psycho-Oncologist in private practice for more than 15 years. I  hold a M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, two Doctorate degrees and I recently attended the Mind-Body Medicine Program with Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

It was more than 23 years ago that my wife acquired her first cancer. Ten years later she was struck by a new cancer. She again recovered making her a two-time survivor of an illness that, not long ago, was considered a death sentence. This experience forced me to abandon the field I was in to become a Clinical Hypnotherapist/Psycho-Oncologist. Through her experiences and later through my client’s experiences, I gained valuable insight into the way a cancer patient thinks and feels.

Cancer is not an accident. It is the result of both psychological and biological factors negatively affecting the immune system, destabilizing it.

Once the immune system is stabilized, it is capable of blocking and eliminating the cells that create tumors.

Cancer is not a tumor – it’s a condition, and like any condition, it may be reversed. It is important to understand that the body develops cancer cells throughout an individual’s entire lifespan, but most people do not develop cancer even though cancer cells are continually produced by the body. This is because the body has a natural immunological surveillance system that sets in motion a variety of immune system processes that protect against tumor formation.

I believe that cancer can be influenced by psychosocial factors, a belief that was confirmed at the Harvard Medical School. Most of the presenters agreed that 80% of the visits to the physicians were motivated by psychosomatic problems.

It is already known that there is a mind-body connection in the genesis of cancer and cancer therapies have not yet incorporated ways to modulate and potentiate the immune system.

In every situation involving a destabilized immune system, I tend to look for the factors, the tragedy that created this alteration, which in many cases are not known by the client/patient. The information is hidden somewhere in the body-mind and, in order for my client to access it, I utilize clinical hypnosis to reach the unconscious contents of the mind and the sickness-related programs that are blocking immune activity, to give the body-mind a fighting chance.

Many of my clients, my wife included, have taken advantage of this chance and fought to win. Through individual and couple’s therapy, I use the same evidence based approach to work with every one of my clients suffering from a psychosomatic sickness.

The most pressing emotion that brings this client to my office is fear. They normally have insufficient information about their sickness, and they feel that they have lost control of their lives. They were not informed that they possess powerful tools in their body-mind to fight the disease, and that their participation in their own healing is very important.

In my office, they become members of the healing team. They become their own therapist.

Dr. Valenzuela is a Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapist and a Psycho-Oncologist in private practice in the City of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He holds a M.A. and a Ph.D in Transpersonal Psychology, and a Doctorate Degree in Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapy. He also attended the Mind-Body Medicine Program with Dr. Herbert Benson, at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Contact:

ART: Detail of Eos, © Oksana Zhelisko. Oksana’s work revolves around the theme of woman in various stages, poses and emotions. In her view, a woman is neither crisp nor blank, but coloured and tinged; each being an image or an iconoclast that is warm or perhaps cold, but always strong, alluring, full of mystique, and of course, true inner beauty.