If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted. --Francis Bacon
Mastering the Emotional Challenge of Chronic Illness
If you or someone you care about are dealing with chronic illness---such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue, pulmonary problems, addiction recovery---the primary task is "managing the disease." First and foremost, this means managing the emotions associated with (a) having the disease and (b) doing the things necessary to be as healthy and happy as possible despite it.
In short, you are dealing not merely with the disease itself, but with the emotional stresses involved in having it, or trying to recover from it, or that perhaps originally played an important role in causing it.
The challenge of dealing successfully with these emotions is both subtle and far-reaching. As the noted author and physician Dr. John Schindler observed many years ago, "The physical effects of the emotions lie outside consciousness or volition. Consciousness can control the changes of emotions only by changing the emotion potential of thought." (1)
Few people have been trained to do this. Chronic illness is the time and incentive to move toward this kind of self-mastery.
Emotions: the Key to Self-Management of Disease
The crucial fact, for good or ill, is that emotion is the decisive factor in all self-management tasks. These tasks are doubtless familiar but worth reviewing:
- Take care of your illness. This of course includes taking medicine, exercising, going to the doctor, changing and observing diet. But please also remember: Taking care of an illness involves your mind and emotions.
All challenges we face bring up a level of emotional response that is rooted in fight (take action) or flight (ignore it or run away). When we don’t believe that anything will help us, or we believe that the cost of action will be too high, we engage in displacement activities like drinking, drug abuse, escaping into sleep or TV. We can even feel paralyzed, unable to act.
In order to “take care of your illness”, therefore, you must perceive that the action will actually have positive effect---that is, what you are supposed to do will help you deal with it. This delves deep into your belief system. The emotional positives must outweigh the negatives.
- Carry out your normal activities. These can include daily chores, employment, social life, recreation, etc. Once again: emotions are central, pro or con carrying out these activities.
- Manage your emotional changes. These include such changes brought about by your illness as anger, anxiety about the future, changed expectations and goals, sometimes depression, and the all too frequent changes in relationships with family and friends, as well as associates at work.
How good are you at “managing your emotions”? How good are you at actually creating the kinds of emotions that will work best for you, keeping you as healthy and happy as possible under the circumstances, and doing the things you consciously know will help you be healthier?
Planning for the Future, Living in the Now
Chronic disease alters the future. New difficulties, new worries, new fears. They go with the territory. They must be met squarely and dealt with. And the daily necessities of life go on, too; again, each one of them requires a positive emotional mindset. Things once easy to do can now appear difficult or sometimes impossible, demanding personal resources of character and determination once reserved for genuine emergencies.
Increasing Your Control in Life With The Cameron Method
Follow the instructions medically prescribed for you, to the best of your ability. But understand that your basic and often unconscious beliefs, attitudes and mindset play a crucial role in your ability to ability to recover from any medical problem, and to manage chronic illness and its consequences.
Most importantly, know that that the actual influences shaping both your conscious and unconscious counterproductive beliefs, attitudes and mindset can be uncovered and changed for the better.
Even if right now you don't consciously have a clue what some of them may be.
Your health, well-being, happiness and rewarding longevity can thereby be improved, perhaps more than you can imagine. And it can be accomplished in either personal counseling or Telecounseling.
How The Cameron Method Works
Research has established that a positive attitude or mindset is the key to a healthful lifestyle, health-giving relationships with other people and animals, faster healing, resistance to illness, and successful management of chronic illness---as well as to extended and more rewarding longevity.
All negative emotions are based on perception of threat. For males, they produce a fight or flight response where these are possible; for females, "tend and befriend"; and a backfire of harmful fear and stress where they are not. Tending involves nurturing activities to protect oneself or one's children and reduce stress. Befriending is the creation and maintenance of social networks that promote safety and reduce stress. "While women may still flee or fight and men may tend and befriend," observe respected authorities David Sobel, MD and Robert Ornstein, PhD, "to some degree these responses to stress are built-in to our physiology and determined by our hormones." The Cameron Method calls for:
A realistic appraisal of the apparent threat. This is not just medical. It involves how you feel about the threat, and about what you can or cannot do about it.
Where feasible, taking suitable fight-or-flight or tend-befriend action.
If such action is not appropriate, feasible or "cost-effective" (you are not willing to pay the necessary price, in whatever form that exists), then Re-Framing is needed. That is, changing your perception of the threat and its consequences or of your ability and willingness to cope with it.
The Cameron Method has been designed to enable you, working with a personal Facilitator, to carry out these steps, easily and rapidly. The methodology involves using (a) a simple mechanical biofee4dback device that has been extensively employed in clinical hypnotherapy since the 1960s; (b) a graphic feedback "Fan" that greatly accelerates and simplifies the process of uncovering subconscious motivations and experience; (c) professional questioning of the user's subconscious while he or she is in a completely conscious state; and (d) a simple, usable way to reduce or remove the negative programming and feelings in your inner mind.
The Cameron Method is based on carefully integrated concepts and processes from clinical hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, social psychology, Psycho-Cybernetics, Logotherapy, and several outstanding spiritual disciplines (including Kria Yoga and A Course in Miracles).
It enables the user to uncover, measure (in percentages) and release such fears as those of death or dying, being incapacitated, getting or being sick, being abandoned, being unattractive, being fat, poor job performance, getting fired, losing one's mate, going broke, aging, being injured or hurt, being unloved, going broke, being rejected, failing at anything important, being criticized or scorned, being helpless.
The list and variety of fears to which human beings are subject is quite extraordinary, but the nine basic sources of these negative influences are well known, and can be elicited directly from your subconscious.
Once brought to conscious awareness, and measured for their effect, they can then be tracked to their origins and released, using the Releasing Strategy created and used with thousands of people by the developers of the Cameron Method, Clark and Sharon Cameron. The history of the effectiveness of Releasing Techniques shows them to be widespread, multicultural, and powerful. Documentary substantiation is available. (4)
Attitude and Mindset: Your Best Allies in the Continuing Battle
David Sobel, MD and Robert Ornstein, Ph.D are leading authorities on the medical relationships between mind, emotions and body. They summarize the challenge simply:
"Your body is not a mindless machine. Your thoughts, feelings, moods and actions have a significant effect on your health. They determine the onset of some diseases, the course of many, and the management of nearly all. What goes on in your mind also shapes your overall happiness, and sense of well-being." (5)
As another leading medical researcher has concluded, "If we could make only one change in our lives [to live longer, better], the most significant would be a change of attitude. From this point on, if we are to make any further inroads in reducing the major threats to our health…we will have to take steps to make ourselves as healthy as possible so we can resist disease from within rather than waiting for rescue from without." (6)
The importance of these facts cannot be overstressed. The world's leading researcher on the science of mind-body medicine, Dr. Candace B. Pert, in her groundbreaking book, Molecules of Emotion, as she begins the astounding story of her discoveries in biochemistry and biophysics, states simply, "I've come to believe that virtually all illness, if not psychosomatic in foundation, has a definite psychosomatic component….It is the emotions, I have come to see, that link mind and body." (7)
Advanced weapons to help you wage this inner emotional war are now available. Give them a try. See what they can do for you.Call us at 770-333-0131 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information how The Cameron Method can help.
2"Self-Management Tasks" in Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions: Self Management of Heart Disease, Arthritis, Stroke, Diabetes, Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema & Others, by Lorig, Holman, Sobel, Laurent, Gonzalez and Minor, Bull Publishing, Palo Alto, 1994, p. 9.
4 First described at length in medical literature by its pioneers, gynecological surgeon David Cheek, MD and clinical psychologist Leslie LeCron in their trail-breaking book, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Grune & Stratton, New York, 1964, ch. 11.
5 See the book by Sharon Marshall Cameron, Designing Your Heart's Desire: The Releasing Strategy for Personal Power & Peace of Mind, Watershed Books, San Jose, CA 2nd Edition, 1997. See also the book by Prof. Patria Carrington, clinical psychologist and Professor of Alternative Methods of Stress Relief, School of Medicine, Rutgers University: Releasing: The New Behavioral Science Method for Dealing With Pressure Situations, William Morrow & Co., New York 1984.
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