Getting Well, Staying Well
Over fifteen years ago a health food store owner described how visualization helped cure her cancer. She then handed me a copy of her visualization bible, Getting Well Again. Never one to doubt the power of the mind, I bought the book with the rationale that if visualization does wonders for someone with cancer, then visualization can also help someone like me who is in good health. O. Carl Simonton, an oncologist, and Stephanie Matthews-Simonton, a psychologist, co-wrote Getting Well Again, a pioneering technique in mind-body medicine. In their book, the Simontons outline the theory behind visualization, explain the Simonton method, and detail case studies. Getting Well Again is no longer in print, but more recent Simonton visualization work is available through bookstores. My clients report that the Simonton books and tapes help support and enhance their hypnotherapy.
In my clinical practice I find not all cancer patients are willing or able to practice the Simonton method. These patients maintain they lack the creativity to conjure up images or talent to draw out the pictures. It is the hypnotherapist’s job to encourage and elicit as many positive images from the patient as possible. However, I agree with a small percentage of patients who say they are not creative or visual; of course, they are blessed in other ways that are helpful to their hypnotherapy.
Stone’s light technique (SLT) is a form of guided-imagery that aids clients who have less creative or visual talent. Hypnotherapists and patients may complement other techniques such as the Simonton method with SLT. It is the nature and practice of hypnosis and visualization that clients who have more choices and variety often fair better. Stone’s light technique does not replace chemotherapy or radiation treatments, nor does SLT replace age-regression, hypnoanesthesia, time-distortion or any other hypnotic technique. SLT supplements and enhances other treatments. So far, I have applied SLT to the following health problems. After that, there is an in-depth description of one case study. Applications of SLT.
|Bone Fractures||Graves’ Disease||Kidney Cancer|
|Brain Cancer||Heart Disease||Liver Cancer|
|Breast Cancer||Hepatitis C||Lung Cancer|
|Colon Cancer||Hypertension||Pancreatic Cancer|
|Eyesight Problems||Irritable Bowel||Prostate Cancer|
SLT Case Study
Betty is a self-made, forty-five-year-old African American business woman who received scholarships to top undergraduate and graduate schools. Despite her financial success and standing in her community, Betty felt plagued by her family’s history of alcohol, drug and mental health problems. Betty who had never been in an automobile accident before, went to an eye doctor after she had two car accidents within a week. Betty’s eye doctor immediately noticed her bulging eyes; lab results confirmed that Betty had Graves’ disease.
A doctor recommended immediate surgical removal of Betty’s thyroid. It was explained to her that Graves’ disease is an auto-immune illness; the same virus that was destroying her thyroid gland was also destroying her eyesight. Betty did not like the finality of a thyroidectomy and being drug dependent for the rest of her life, so she began exploring other alternatives. Besides hypnotherapy, Betty tried homeopathy, nutritional supplements and dietary changes.
Because of her poor eyesight for driving, several sessions were conducted in Betty’s home. Age-regression, NLP, therapeutic metaphors, and visualization were used in conjunction with SLT. Within six weeks, Betty reported that her thyroxin level, one of the markers for her Graves’ disease, had returned to normal. Betty has not had surgery although eighteen months have elapsed since her first session.
The following SLT script, tailored to Betty’s unique needs, began after a brief hypnotic induction:
1. “Feel a warm, healing light enter through your toes and soles of your feet. Through the wisdom of your imagination, pull the warm, healing light up to your ankles. Through the power of your mind, keep the light below your ankles.
- With each self-perpetuating breath you take, the light becomes brighter, stronger and warmer.
- Wherever you feel light, you feel love,
- and wherever you feel love, you feel light.
2. Each time you inhale, slowly pull the light and love up through your calves and shins. Throughout this peaceful meditation, feel all of your bones absorb the light and love. Now through the power of your own self-directing breath and self-directing mind, feel your warm, healing light move in, around and through your knees. With each self-healing breath, the light moves up the front and back of your thighs.
3. Through the strength of your will, lift the light inside your pelvis. The warm, healing light circulates a plentiful and healthy blood supply through your pelvis and reproductive organs. During this quiet and serene stretch of time, feel all your organs sponge up your light and love. Your mind and body are starting to anticipate how good the light will feel when it reaches your neck and thyroid. With your self-guiding breath, allow your warm, healing light to naturally flow intyour abdomen. Whenever you feel light, you feel love,
- and whenever you feel love, you feel light.
- Thanks to the love and light, after this deep relaxation, you will maintain complete, healthy and thorough digestion.
4. Through your self-evolving breath, raise the light to your upper chest and back. As your heart naturally continues to circulate your blood, it automatically sends around the healing, loving light to all your cells, organs and glands. Your love and your light will consciously and unconsciously sustain a healthy blood pressure and normal heart rate after you open your eyes (an accelerated heart rate was one of Betty’s graves’ disease symptoms).
5. Silently determine the greatest source of the light’s love
- and love’s light.
- Now quietly reveal to yourself other sources of light and love
- and where else you will experience them ….
6. With each self-correcting breath, feel the light and love move into your neck, thyroid and parathyroidglands. Feel the love and light brighter on the top half of your thyroid gland than on the bottom.
- Now feel the light warmer on the bottom half of your thyroid than the top.
- Feel your entire thyroid equally bright and warm with love and light. (Top and bottom: see Table 2 for how to incorporate SLT for this and other diseases.)
7. Through the intelligence of your own imagination, feel the right side of your thyroid illuminate more light and love than the left side.
- Let the left side of your thyroid illuminate more light and love than the right side.
- Both sides are now equally illuminating light and love.
- (right and left side)
8. Feel the center of your thyroid radiate more light and love than the outer edges.
- At this moment, your thyroid’s outer edges radiate more light and love than the center.
- The center and periphery of your thyroid radiate an equal amount of love and light. Upon awakening, your light and love will let your thyroid continue to function healthy and normal. (center and periphery)
9. Your confidence increases as you feel the warm, healing light move from the top of your thyroid to the bottom.
- Your confidence continues to increase as you notice the light moving from the bottom of your thyroid to the top …. Though you may not always be aware of it, the light and love will continue to properly circulate between the top and bottom of your thyroid gland. (Movement: to and from the top and bottom.)
10. The healing energy of your faith guides your light and love from the right side of your thyroid to the left.
- The power of your love directs your healing light from the left side of your thyroid to the right …. The healthy flow of love and light is constantly occurring in your thyroid even if you don’t notice it. (Movement: to and from the right and left side.)
11. With each self-regulating breath, observe your love and light flowing from the back of your thyroid to the front,
- and now with each self-improving breath, you are aware of the light shining from the front to the back.
- Your love and light continue their joyous dance even when you don’t think about it. (Movement: to and from the front and back.)
12. When you open your eyes today and in the future you automatically search for and discover signs that your thyroid is working naturally and regularly
- as you routinely find signs of your healthy and normal thyroid, you go about your business with calmness and confidence.
13. With your self-healing breath, extend your light and love to your face, head and brain. Increase your love and light’s intensity in any areas of your brain that you used to associate with your illness.
- Through the awareness of your mind, scan your body for any remaining dark spots. As you continue your self-healing breaths, naturally transform the dark spots to brilliant places of light and love.
- Your abundance of love and light will stay with you until your next rejuvenating relaxation.
14. Picture your love and light encircling your entire body. The love and light naturally form a protective shield or bubble around you. Emotional or physical harm are unable to penetrate your protective shield of love and light. You feel safe and secure as you unconsciously know your protective shield will guard you even when you are not aware of it.
15. When you are ready to maintain your calm mind and relaxed body in your usual state of consciousness, open your eyes.
Patient, Heal Thyself
Light has long been used to induce relaxation, deepen hypnosis and suggest healing; SLT takes what has been successfully done with light and adds a little something to it. Research shows that more active visualizations achieve greater success than less active. In SLT, active visualization occurs every time the light changes from front to back, side to side, top to bottom (paragraphs 6-8), and active visualization happens when the client experiences the light moving from side to side, up and down and front to back (paragraphs 9-11).
Studies also indicate that the more control one has during visualization, the greater the chances of attaining the desired outcome. In the above example, there were more than a dozen embedded suggestions for the patient to take control; for instance, the patient took charge when she heard, “through the power of your own mind,” “through the strength of your will,” and “through the intelligence of your imagination.” Other empowering suggestions were given in the form of “self-healing,” self-guiding,” “self-improving,” etc. The patient is given ultimate control because the self in self-healing, self-guiding and self-directing is the patient’s self. During SLT, the patient is the one who does the healing, guiding and directing.
SLT also includes the critical element of focus. In the above case, Betty focused most of her love and light on the site of the problem, her thyroid gland (paragraphs 6-11). Stone’s Light Technique is an extremely flexible method that can focus on just about any illness or injury. Stone’s Light Technique is adaptable to any part of the body because all human organs and bones have the four opposites listed in Table Two. It is as simple as focusing the light and love on the area in need of relief. For example, for infertility, ovarian cancer or PMS, during most of the visualization the ovaries are soaking up the light and love. For cirrhosis, hepatitis or liver cancer, the light and love is mostly absorbed by the liver. For asthma, lung cancer or shortness of breath, the lungs are the primary recipient of the light and love.
The table listed below will help you and your clients focus the light and love where it is needed the most. For quick and easy reference, write down Table 2 on an index card.
Here is an example of how SLT was modified for pancreatic cancer. The patient was a sixty-five year-old out-of-state psychiatric social worker and hypnotist. The patient chose to have chemotherapy in Chicago so he could be near his children and ex-wife. He claimed several nationally recognized hypnotists were unable to get him into a deep trance. The technique was the same as the SLT script above until the light and love reached his pancreas. Suggestions were given to feel more love and light on the top half of the pancreas and then on the bottom, more light and love on the right side of the pancreas and then the left side, and more light and love in the center of the pancreas and then at the periphery. Next the patient guided the light and love from top to bottom, side to side and front to back through his pancreas. As with Betty, instructions were then given for the rest of his body to absorb the light and love. The intervention ended with the client experiencing the protective shield and bubble of light and love. At the end of the session, the elated client said, “This is the first time I experienced amnesia!”
|Column A||Column B|
|3.||Right Side||Left Side|
Step one: Start with the light and love progressively rising from the soles of the patient’s feet.
Step two: Empower the patient by suggesting that the light and love flow “through the power of your mind,” “through the wisdom of your intelligence” and “through the strength of your will.” Include the embedded suggestions of “self-healing,” “self-correcting” and “self-evolving breath.”
Step three: Once the light reaches the diseased organ, gland or bone, use the opposites listed in Table 2 to direct the light and love’s healing energy. Suggest that the light is brighter according to the places listed in columns A and B (paragraphs 6-8).
Step four: Suggest that the love and light move through the diseased organ, gland or bone by following the opposites listed in columns A and B (paragraphs 9-11).
Step five: Gradually suggest that the remainder of the body absorbs the light and love.
Step six: Recommend that the patient surround herself with a protective shield or protective bubble of light and love (paragraph 14).
Step seven: Instruct the patient to open her eyes when she feels she can maintain her calm mind and relaxed body in her usual state of consciousness (paragraph 15).
I thank Dr. Mary Sinclair, a University of Illinois kinesiology professor, for her help with this and other articles.