This chapter presents the Self-Programmed Control (SPC) mind-body approach to curing and preventing cancer. As in my original 1961 paper, "Hypnosis as a Possible Means of Curing Cancer", the approach is based on three basic premises:

  1. The body has natural immune defenses against cancer.
  2. Negative states of mind (in particular hopelessness) can suppress the immune system.
  3. If these negative states of mind can be reversed, the immune response can be revived and the cancer prevented or rejected.

The main goal of the SPC-mind-body program is to eliminate two main sources of hopelessness, one or both of which are usually present in cancer patients:

  1. The typical "death sentence" interpretation of a cancer diagnosis;
  2. A deeply embedded hopeless attitude towards the possibility of ever achieving happiness and fulfillment in life.

The following overview briefly outlines the initial session with the patient as well as the overall strategy for subsequent sessions (the procedure is applicable for both one-on-one as well as group or class sessions): First, in order to minimize the immune-suppressing sense of dread and hopelessness usually created by a diagnosis of cancer, the initial focus is on establishing a high level of hope and belief in the power of the mind to help eliminate the cancer. This includes:

  1. Presenting the strong evidence and rationale supporting the mind-body approach to cancer.
  2. Leading the patient through mental exercises that experientially demonstrate the mind-body connection and how one has the potential to develop control over it through the power of thoughts. This would include causing salivation by having patients focus on the thought of biting into a lemon; using a thermal biofeedback device to illustrate the ability to increase blood flow to the hands by thoughts of warmth; as well as having the patient experience a number of the different SPC hypnotic techniques (demonstrations of the power of the mind).
  3. Further adding to the patient's sense of control by leading the patient through imagery exercises where he/she visualizes the cancer cells being "gobbled up", "destroyed," "dissolved," etc. by the body's natural defenses.
  4. Presenting case histories (testimonials) of numerous successful applications of the mind-body approach to cancer.

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