Nottinghamshire hypnotherapist Briony Clarke
Southwell therapist is drawing on her own experiences after helping herself
through cancer treatment.
Briony Clarke used her skills as a hypnotherapist to
support herself through diagnosis, treatment and recovery following the
discovery last year that she had breast cancer.
Briony is back up and running her practice, Perfect Mind Hypnotherapy in
Portland Arcade, King Street, Southwell, and reflecting on how her hypnotherapy
expertise has been invaluable in helping her get through her
would have been lost without it, I really would,” she explains. “Using
hypnotherapy gave me a proactive approach to my health and wellbeing no matter
what I was going through; from diagnosis, throughout the treatment and
afterwards. When you are diagnosed, you go into the process and it’s all
happening to you. With hypnotherapy, you have an element of control. You are
contributing to your own health throughout the process. You are not just a
Briony, 48, had worked in the food and drink sector for
many years before retraining as a hypnotherapist. She launched Perfect Mind
Hypnotherapy in 2011, and had been working with a range of clients, including
people who wanted support to give up smoking and to lose weight, and people with
anxieties, fears and phobias, including three women who had a fear of
Briony was also approached by a consultant anaesthetist
at the City Hospital, Nottingham, to become involved in a multidisciplinary pain
clinic for patients. But ironically, not long afterwards, she found herself at
the City Hospital as a patient, rather than as a therapist, after being
diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer which had spread to her lymph
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and very aggressive
form of breast cancer which has very few symptoms, and Briony was referred to
consultant oncologist, Professor Stephen Chan. Her treatment began with six
courses of chemotherapy at the City Hospital.
was followed by a radical mastectomy and removal of the lymph nodes around her
breast and a reconstruction, which was carried out at BMI The Park Hospital by
consultant breast surgeon Douglas MacMillan. She then underwent 15 sessions of
advanced, highly targeted radiotherapy and a further three chemotherapy
treatments at the Park Cancer Centre, which had recently been opened by Cancer
Partners UK.
you are diagnosed with cancer it feels like you wake up in a different world,
and I really wanted to stay focused on my treatment. Hypnotherapy was invaluable
to me, giving me the strength not to feel a victim. It started with me with
managing the fear and anxiety, to controlling pain, sickness and keeping me in a
positive mind frame. It is easy at such times of trauma to feel you are in free
fall,” says Briony, who is married to Phil and who has two children,
Kelsey, 23, and Max,
“Hypnotherapy helped me to maintain a positive outlook. It was
a whirlwind, but I was mentally strong.
me, the biggest thing was having the mastectomy, and my hypnotherapy really
helped me. I’d prepared my body for the surgery and the pain control, and
witnessed first-hand the benefit of hypnotherapy. Surgery is different for
everyone but for me I needed very little pain control and was able to go home
quickly after the operation.”
back at work and practising again, Briony feels upbeat for the
don’t feel damaged by my experience, I feel really positive,” adds Briony. “I’ve
been reminded how easy it is for something to go wrong with your health. I’m not
going to let cancer stand in my way and hold me back. One thing I’ve learned is
to do things that interest me, and that I enjoy.”
now hoping to help others going through the
thought long and hard about using my personal experience in my practice but felt
that I had benefited so much that I wanted to offer it to others in a similar
position,” she says.
Hypnotherapy The Complementary and Natural Healthcare
Council (CNHC), of which Briony is a member, describes
hypnotherapy as a skilled communication aimed at directing a person’s
imagination in a way that helps elicit changes in some perceptions, sensations,
feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
are several misconceptions about the therapy, says Briony, but it can be useful
in many different areas of life. It is used to help manage the pain associated
with irritable bowel and The National Institute for Health and Clinical Guidance
(NICE) recommends the NHS should consider referring patients for hypnotherapy if
their irritable bowel is persistent and has failed to respond to simple
prescribed medicine.
alongside a person’s own willpower and motivation, hypnotherapy is often
undertaken to help relieve anxiety, aid sleeping, address attitudes to weight,
help to address bedwetting, and support people to achieve behavioural change to
stop smoking and overcome fears. It can also help with minor skin conditions
that are aggravated by stress, and may also be used to enhance performance or
overcome anxiety by sports people, singers and others who are involved in public
For more information visit
Press release issued by Nottingham PR agency Perfect 10 PR