I am a clinical Oncologist based at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust, where I integrate clinical hypnotherapy into my practice delivering chemotherapy and radiotherapy for Head & Neck and Thyroid Cancer.
Over the course of my career, I have provided personalised medicine for my patients, and remain convinced that this therapeutic relationship is the cornerstone of achieving the best outcomes from treatment, as well as moderating side-effects. I have always had a deep interest in psychology, and have been amazed at the profound alterations in mood, well-being and symptom control achieved by patients who engage with hypnotherapy.
After a decade of being constrained to delivering individualised hypnosis to patients in crisis, I am convinced there is a way to bring these benefits to more patients. This partly necessitates highlighting its potential more widely within the medical profession which has largely forgotten what hypnosis has to offer. However, patients can take the initiative themselves, and yet need some guidance and support to do this.
Although the focus of my work centres on bringing the best of modern western medical technology and pharmaceutical expertise to my patients, I am collaborating with a number of clinical colleagues to explore using clinical hypnotherapy beyond oncology settings, speaking at a widening variety of healthcare fora, and teaching colleagues and medical students about the increasing body of evidence supporting the integration of ‘mind-body’ medicine into standard care. Ultimately, I hope this will be an ‘adjuvant therapy’ offered to all patients in future.
So far I have played an active role in specialist training support within oncology, as well as medical student education, and am currently on the Council for Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine, promoting wider recognition and education regarding hypnosis.
I first met Rumi Peynovska when completing my training at the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) in 2005. We set up a Hypnotherapy service based at Charing Cross Hospital between 2007-2012, where we won a grant for a study integrating Hypnosis and Radiotherapy.
Later, I introduced the option for hypnotherapy at Mount Vernon Hospital whilst completing a year-long Sabbatical in 2016, which excited interest from the local Research Network in supporting a larger study. However, my return to Charing Cross after a year left this vision unfulfilled. Nevertheless, Rumi and I resolved to bring this vision to fruition in a different format, in hope that this would empower a wider number of patients to use the resources we have designed, based on the existing evidence which shows its benefits.
I juggle work with bringing up a family of 3 sons with my Engineer husband. All my boys have enjoyed the benefits of ‘sleepy talk’ to help them wind down at bedtime, and quickly tame anxieties related to school pressures, or trips to the dentist. Integrating these psychological techniques into daily life has been invaluable for me both personally and professionally, and I remain dedicated to disseminating its benefits through practice and research to prove its worth within the healthcare services, as well as far beyond.
Frequently, patients themselves ask me ‘Is there something more I can do to get through this?’ and the answer is a resounding ‘Yes – learning to use hypnosis to change the way you think, feel and heal’, and THIS is where you can begin…….