For anybody that does not have the condition Psoriasis it would seem ludicrous to suggest that they deserve to suffer from this condition. However, during the study I conducted on the effects of Hypnotherapy upon Psoriasis, this is one of the core beliefs that I discovered a Psoriasis sufferer has.
What is Psoriasis? Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition. There are nine types, each with unique signs and symptoms. Plaque Psoriasis is the most common type of Psoriasis and the only one so far that I have been able to affect. About 80% of people who develop psoriasis have plaque psoriasis, which looks like patches of raised, reddish skin covered by opaque scales. These patches, or plaques, often form on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. However, the plaques can occur anywhere on the body.
Researchers believe that psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition. This means the condition is caused by faulty signals in the body’s immune system. It is believed that psoriasis develops when the immune system tells the body to over-react and accelerate the growth of skin cells. Normally skin cells mature and are shed from the skin’s surface every 28 to 30 days. When psoriasis develops, the skin cells mature in 3 to 6 days and move to the skin surface. Instead of being shed, the skin cells pile up, causing the visible lesions. It is my belief that by using Hypnotherapy what the client is able to do is to correct those faulty signals. There is good evidence to show that Hypnotherapy can have a significant effect on Psoriasis.
Psoriasis usually causes discomfort. The skin often itches, and it may crack and bleed. In severe cases, the itching and discomfort may keep a person awake at night, and the pain can make everyday tasks difficult.
In my previous article “Psoriasis an angry man’s game” I described the study, the results and another trait common to a Psoriasis client, anger. However in this article I want to discuss a common belief amongst Psoriasis clients and that is that “I’m not good enough”. This is a common belief that virtually all Psoriasis clients, which I have worked with over the years, have. They believe, deep down at a sub-conscious level, for one reason or another, that they have done something wrong. This develops into a belief that “I’m not good enough”, which is eventually translated into the belief that they deserve the condition. To an outsider looking in this would appear to be bizarre. However, consider the small child, say a five year old girl, whose parents split up and her daddy is suddenly taken away. What does that child think? It’s a fair bet that she will be very upset and in trying to understand what has happened to her world, (given her limited understanding of the world and its complexities), she may feel that SHE has done something wrong, which is why daddy left. In turn, this leads to feelings of guilt and low self-worth. Hence, the “I’m not good enough” syndrome is born.
Psoriasis will often develop after an event like this. Of course it then follows on quite naturally for the child to link the two together to come to an even bigger fictitious belief that because she wasn’t ‘good enough’ God, Father Christmas or whoever, gave her this horrible scaly, itchy skin. Now, most adults would of course dismiss this belief structure. However we are talking about a small child with very limited processing capability; to her it’s a straightforward cause and effect, “I deserve it and here it is!”
Okay, so now this child has the belief, what happens as she grows? Does her self-worth improve? It’s very unlikely! What would you expect to happen when she’s at school doing PE with scales on her elbows or in her hair? Do you imagine the other children will understand and give her positive encouragement? Of course not! Names like scabby and snakeskin make her feel more ashamed and teach her to hide it away, dropping her self worth even lower. This will continue for the rest of her life unless someone steps in and tells her subconscious mind to “STOP” these destructive thought processes, and starts the reversal of the cycle so that the healing may begin.
Many people are unaware of the automatic functions of the subconscious mind. This simply means that if a process is repeated often enough, almost irrespective of the outcome, this ‘thinking’ develops into an automatic process. This is because the subconscious mind does not have a critical factor, which means that it does not interrogate behaviour or thinking to establish whether or not it is beneficial to the client.
Hypnotherapy is really the most direct and influential way of changing subconscious thinking; within therapy patterns thinking and behaviour can be improved to facilitate beneficial resolutions. Often this process is both surprising to, and effortless for, the client.
A belief in the benefits of Hypnotherapy is not necessary in order to change behaviour. Many clients that I have dealt with have either been unable to understand the link between the way we think and the way our body responds, or tend to think of ‘hypnosis’ as being something they have seen on television, which has no relevance to them. Hypnotherapy works independently and separately from a client’s critical intellectual assessment, which often comes as a ‘big surprise’.
Paul Howard has been specialising in Psoriasis for nearly ten years. He has trained many hypnotherapists around the country to treat Psoriasis effectively. He works at The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy in Wallington, Surrey, UK. He can be contacted via the Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy website. He is the Marketing director for The National Council for Hypnotherapy – the premiere governing body for hypnotherapists in the UK.