EMOTIONAL HEALING  & SPIRITUAL SUPPORT


A Vital Aspect of the Integrative Cancer approach

Cancer is a whole-person disease involving the body, mind and spirit. It has long been understood that any disease has a powerful psycho-emotional and spiritual component that can play a role in the healing process. A caring counselor can help navigate through illness as an opportunity to regain harmony of mind, body and spirit and:

• Detect and resolve emotional trauma or stress-triggers for cancer
• Discover unconscious blockages to healing and resistance to being fully alive
• Relieve psycho-social burden that is coming with a life-threatening illness through individual and family support, self-reflection and meditation.
• Augment the bio-medical healing process with psycho-emotional and spiritual methods to regain deeper harmony of mind/body/spirit

How it all works together:
You may already know that any illness can be seen as the result of an IMBALANCE.

We can identify three major factors that come together in the creation of such an imbalance:
1) Genetic 2) Environmental 3) Psycho-Emotional /Spiritual factors:

1) GENOME = Inherited Genetic Influences: Our genes lay the groundwork for our bodily functions. Many illnesses are caused by missing enzymes and a disturbance in the print-out of genes. Our NIHA doctors are very adept in helping to bridge many of these deficiencies and thus help lay the foundation to better health. See Precision Medicine

2) INTERNAL MILIEU = Environmental Influences such as chemical toxins, germs, environmental and electro-magnetic pollution, etc. need to be treated by the NIHA medical team. In some cases, they may use antibiotics, but more often they may engage one of the health coaches to teach you methods for detoxification, environmental clearing, and introduce you to and guide you through a specific program of supplementation, optimal nutrition and body exercise in order to restore balance in your body. See Detoxfication

3) PSYCHO-EMOTIONAL STATE = Mind/Body & Soul Influences describe the connection between internal experience and our actual bodily expression. I look for any inner conflict and stress a person may have because we know it will result in profound changes in the physical body of the person. You may have heard about the new science of “Epigenetics”. It studies how our environment and our beliefs modulate what our body cells “print out”. The now popular “ACEs study” describes the deep influences childhood trauma can have on the later development of adult illness and wellness of a person. Internal conflicts can derive from trauma from childhood (“developmental trauma”, often called “childhood wounds”) or they can come from unresolved conflicts that are coming from current-life situations such as your job, family, relationships, money, loss, loneliness, chronic illness, accidents, and even inherited conflict from our ancestors. When clients give us permission, we will also look into any deeper inner experiences and issues that we might call “spiritual”. The saying “HEALING IS MAKING WHOLE” guides us to look deeper into the meaning of illness, discover a person’s life purpose, and identify one’s “soul journey” in order to promote inner balance, improve integrative medicine treatment outcome and whole-person healing.

Understanding the Mind-Body Approach to Cancer

"When you change your mind, you change your body"

UNRESOLVED CONFLICTS often create depression, anxiety, depletion or one of the many physical expressions of stress in our body. Healthy cell-renewal and optimal bodily functions are stifled when our immune system is compromised due to the consequences of stress. It has been found that each conflict constellation has a certain very specific reaction pattern associated with it. This means that not all psycho-emotional conflicts will create the same bodily reaction. In fact, there are very specific ways how a person perceives a given conflict situation and it needs a very specific and client-centered psycho-emotional approach in order to change their way of looking at the situation and to resolve that conflict.

STRESS can be understood as the result of how we perceive a given situation and the degree we are able to appropriately respond to the unconscious conflicting inner impulses that are associated with the perception of it.

FIGHT-FLIGHT-FREEZE are the three ways we react to any threat. This is based on our primitive evolutionary defense system. When our life is at stake (based on our perception of a given stressful situation), we engage the so-called Fight-Flight-Freeze response to defend ourselves. While our stress response is a good thing in real survival situations, it is detrimental when it is unconsciously perpetuated over a prolonged period in “peacetime”. Stress, therefore, is a known contributing factor in what makes a person ill – or, to be more precise, it contributes to one’s susceptibility to an illness by generally influencing our epigenetics and reducing the immune system’s ability to defend your body.

PROLONGED STRESS from internal conflicts affects our immune system, adrenals, cardiovascular system and our brain. As we said, how our body reacts to our specific and unspecific stressors is largely related to how we PERCEIVE a situation. Perception is related to how we interpret a given situation based on past experiences. Any current experience we have is colored and over-shadowed by past experiences. That coloring influences if we see something as stressful or conflict-laden or if we interpret it as relaxing and healing. You can see: if you could change how you see things (“change your mind”) - your body may subsequently change how it functions (“change your body”).


Healing Happens in Relationship!
Mind-Body Approaches in Cancer Treatment

Emotional trauma usually happens in relationship. Someone has hurt you, was neglectful, or abandoned you. If the recent ACES report (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study by Kaiser Permanente & CDC) is correct, then conflicts that are coming from an early parent-child relationship cause predictable and long-lasting damages to the health of the person later in life.

It  follows that healing would also need to happen in relationship! Psychotherapy is a RELATIONAL, PERSON-TO-PERSON ENCOUNTER. It is a soul-to-soul process that aims to re-visit and heal those traumatic experiences in an environment of positive regard, deep connection, trust, truth, understanding, and personal validation.

The process of self-awareness, self-examination and re-adjustment is best done with the help of an “empathic other”. Psychotherapy, Psychosomatic Medicine, Mind-Body Medicine, and any other form of similar behavioral health counseling, are methods to help a person to tap into the unconscious blockages a person may have and to separate their current-time experiences from past experiences in order to facilitate emotional healing. Each of these approaches will help the client to be able to be more responsive and less reactive ( “present in the moment” vs. “defending against one’s traumatic past”).


From Perception to Bodily Change

Our reactions are often based on “old programs” from childhood but they are not relevant ANY longer. Acknowledging what is going on in the moment and letting go of old programs, or outdated defensive patterns and limiting beliefs is in itself healing and a powerful form of de-stressing.

Because the body-mind reacts immediately, specifically, non-consciously, and directly to a shift of consciousness and how you feel about a situation (“perception”), you may see physical changes and improvements once you resolve your inner conflicts and distortions following a “change of mind”. NIHA offers health counseling, individual psychotherapy and group counseling sessions to help you “change your mind” so that your body can relax and receive the healing.

Illness as a Path for Transformation

Check it out yourself: Every time you get angry you will discover that emotions are held in the body and expressed through movement and muscular discharge. However, many patients have learned to hold their emotions – and especially anger – inside. It has been noted by many sources that cancer patients have great difficulty expressing certain deeper emotions. In fact, one of the indicators of positive treatment progress is that these patients become more assertive and self-advocating. Here lays some of the strengths of body-based (“somatic”) psychotherapy as we have powerful tools to “ground” and safely “release” and embrace deep emotions such as love, longing, helplessness, powerlessness, hopelessness, and both, our fear of being totally alive and our fear of suffering and death.

There is a way of seeing any illness as an opportunity for personal growth and spiritual transformation. Looking at it in this way, cancer becomes a teacher - and possibly, even a friend. Illness can help us become aware of formerly unknown inner issues, and force us learn about our deepest emotional mechanisms and stressful life situations. It forces us to include what we exclude. It makes us restructure our lives and makes us bring our affairs in order. And, it teaches us to search for existential meaning in every aspect of our life – in the face of the challenges to health and life that a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, brings with it.

Spiritual Dimensions of Healing

It can be said that any life-challenging illness forces us to become aware of the spiritual dimensions we are embedded in. In the face of illness and pain, some of us will become aware of our innate longing for wholeness, one-ness, and divinity. You may become mindful of the things that go beyond our immediate boundaries and energies that are bigger than your mere physical presence.  In this phase meditation, mindfulness and prayer are extremely useful additions to the healing process.

Meditation gives us tools to “witness” ourselves. Such an expanded awareness of ourselves will lead us to see that we are more than our “ego”, our identification of who we are and what we want to be. We will become aware that beyond the mere physical we are also energetic beings, connected with dimensions beyond our bodies and even beyond our imagination. At this moment, illness will have fulfilled its deeper purpose: It will have led us to a state of healing, presence, acceptance, deep contentment and wholeness. Healing – making whole – will come when we integrate all dimensions of who we are.

List of Benefits of Psychotherapy for Chronic Disease an Cancer

In both the individual and group sessions we focus on any and all aspects that will achieve deep wellness:

1) UNDERSTAND all the emotional, biological, existential, social and spiritual conflicts that may contribute and have a direct and indirect influence on one’s illness,
2) LEARN methods for stress reduction, relaxation, body-based emotional release, trauma release work, inter-personal connectedness, self-expression and conflict resolution,
3) RESOLVE unconscious resistance to healing, living and aliveness,
4) DEVELOP a healthier life style, find and develop resources
5) ENCOURAGE self-discovery, letting go of limiting beliefs, self-empowerment and transformation,
6) FACILITATE self-discovery, personal growth, emotional mastery, and resilience,
7) SEARCH for existential meaning, spiritual development, and development of a “higher vision” and life purpose through learning about mindfulness & meditation,
8) DISCOVER how unconscious family loyalties and ancestral influences can have a very powerful influence on a person’s emotional health and physical wellbeing,
9) RECEIVE support in dealing with the practical facts and the emotional ramifications of being ill,
10) STRATEGIZE how to deal with relatives, coworkers and friends, who may have their own reactions (such as over-whelm, compassion fatigue) in their function as caretakers and explore how to engage them successfully in the healing process.

While healing with methods from holistic psychotherapy and integrative counseling is not a fast process, and may go on over many months and even years, we see it as an integral aspect in the process of creating deep wellness and becoming whole again.

I invite you on this powerful journey of Self-Transformation!

Warmly,
Kuno Bachbauer

  Counseling Modalities offered by Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT, at NIHA  

• Core Energetics (Body Psychotherapy)
• Psychosomatic Counseling (Mind/Body Medicine)
• Family Constellations Work (Trans-generational Healing)
• Couples & Family Therapy (Inter-personal Skill Training)
• Energy Work for Spiritual Opening
• Life Coaching & Mentoring
• Movement, Mindfulness & Body-based Meditation

Individual Sessions * Couples Counseling * Ongoing Therapy Group* Occasional Workshops & Classes *

 

Sessions are by Appointment only for Emotional Healing and Psycho-emotional Support

Individual Sessions with Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT
To Schedule:
Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or CALL 202-237-7000 ext. 156