Module Eight Essay
Tutor: Jan Littler-Mitchell
Word Count: 1,868
Module Eight Essay - Choose a medical condition that interests you and research it. Write about the possible uses of hypnosis in the treatment of the condition as you see them
In this essay I have chosen to write about the medical condition of Diabetes.
I will research diabetes and describe what the condition is, the different types, the causes
and symptoms, as well as the forms of treatment. I will then look at all the possible uses
of hypnosis in the treatment of diabetes and the things it can help with, before drawing up
Diabetes is a common life-long health condition. There are 3 million people diagnosed
with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the
body can not use it properly. This is because the pancreas does not produce any insulin,
or not enough, to help glucose enter the body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does
not work properly, known as insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone produced by the
pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy.
Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrates and also produced by the liver, if someone
has diabetes their body can not make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the
blood and isn’t able to be used as fuel (Diabetes.org.uk 2013).
The main symptoms of diabetes are urinating more frequently, increased thirst, extreme
tiredness, unexplained weight loss and blurred vision.
There are two types of diabetes, these are type 1 diabetes which can develop very quickly
over weeks or even days and the signs and symptoms are usually very obvious, whereas
type 2 diabetes develops slowly over a period of years and the signs and symptoms may
not be so obvious and may only be picked up in a routine medical check up.
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes affecting only 10% of those
diagnosed with diabetes, it is a result of the body’s immune system attacking and
destroying the cells that produce insulin, and there is no preventative measure that can be
taken. This type of diabetes is always treated with insulin injections; these will need to be
taken for life along with ensuring the blood glucose levels stay balanced by eating a
healthy diet, taking regular exercise and having regular blood tests.
In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes and it usually
affects people over 40 years of age, is more common in people who are of asian/african
descent, and if someone has one or more of the risk factors. Risk factors for type 2
diabetes are if a close family member has it, being overweight, high blood pressure and
severe mental health problems, anyone with these factors are at greater risk of developing
diabetes in their lifetime.
Type 2 diabetes is a result of Insulin Deficiency which is not producing enough insulin to
maintain a normal blood glucose level or Insulin Resistance which is the body being
unable to use the insulin that is produced effectively. For this type of diabetes the
treatment focuses on aiming to keep the blood glucose levels as normal as possible, this
can be achieved in some cases by altering the individuals lifestyle such as developing a
healthy eating plan, avoiding cigarettes, cutting down alcohol and getting regular
exercise. However as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, medication may be
needed in time to keep the blood glucose levels normal, the medication will usually be in
the form of tablets but some cases may progress to injected therapies, such as insulin
In addition to the symptoms that diabetes causes of having an increased thirst, a frequent
need to urinate, fatigue and blurred vision, there are also long term effects of diabetes on
the body. The damage that diabetes can cause in the long term is termed as complications
of diabetes and it usually will take a number of years of poorly controlled diabetes for
them to develop. As diabetes affects the blood vessels and nerves, it therefore can affect
any part of the body but certain parts are affected more than others, which are the heart,
the eyes, the kidneys, skin, the nervous system and the digestion system.
With diabetes contributing to high blood pressure and also linked with high cholesterol,
this significantly increases the risks of heart attacks, cardiovascular disease and strokes.
Relatively common complications that can be treated if detected early enough are
diabetic retinopathy is a which is caused by blood vessels in the back of the eye swelling
and leaking, and diabetic nephropathy which is the term for kidney disease as a result of
diabetes. Another more serious complication is that of nerve damage which is know as
neuropathy, this will effect digestion issues of nausea, constipation or diarrhoea, sexual
dysfunction of lack of arousal in the penis or clitoris and numbness or tingling in the
hands or feet which is often referred to as diabetic foot (Diabetes.co.uk 2013).
As diabetes is a very serious condition it should be treated properly, with both type 1 and
type 2 it is vital that diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible so treatment can begin.
Diabetes can not be cured but the treatment available aims to keep the blood glucose
levels as normal as possible and help to control the symptoms to prevent further health
problems developing in the future. The normal treatment methods include diabetes
medication in form of a tablet, insulin injections and by developing a healthy diet and
A fairly new procedure has been developed to treat people with type 1 diabetes, it is
known as Islet Transplantation. It involves implanting healthy islet cells from a pancreas
donor into the pancreas and liver of someone with type 1 diabetes. Once transplanted, the
islets begin to produce insulin, actively regulating the level of glucose in the blood.
Islet transplants have been shown to be an effective way of reducing the risk of severe
hypoglycaemic attacks (hypos), which is when a person’s blood sugar falls to an
abnormally low level. So far, the results of islet transplants carried out in the UK have
shown a significant reduction in the number of hypos, from 23 per person per year before
transplantation to less than 1 per person per year afterwards. The findings from a recent
study also proved positive by showing that 57% of the patients who received islet
transplantation were insulin independent one year after the procedure (Wikipedia 2013).
These are very positive findings and hopefully it will become a more common procedure
in years to come in treating type 1 diabetes.
Hypnosis can be used in many ways to assist people in living with a chronic condition
such as diabetes, however a therapist must be aware that hypnotherapy should be part of
an effective and comprehensive treatment and not a ‘standalone’ treatment (Chrysalis
Module 8 2010). Before any hypnotherapy treatment commences a thorough assessment
of the clients condition must be done, this will include an explanation of their pain and
background history, length of time they have been suffering from the pain, whether the
problem is iatrogenic pain, whether the pain is experienced at different times of day or
month, a full description of the pain and possible secondary gains. It is essential to ensure
that a therapist never treats anyone with acute pain who has not been through the
appropriate diagnostic procedures with a qualified medical doctor and always obtains
written permission from the client’s doctor.
To assist in successfully helping people living with a chronic condition such as diabetes,
a therapist should be aware and understand the psychological and physical effects and
changes of living with the condition, these can be categorised in to practical changes,
personal changes and emotional changes. Practical changes associated with diabetes
would be changes in ability to perform the tasks of every day life, loss of available time
due to fatigue or loss of mobility, possible changes to employment or career and changes
in input from external sources in having to deal with a variety of medical professionals.
Personal changes associated with diabetes would be an effect on intimate relationships, a
change in the desired or expected future, ability to perform some tasks and the acceptance
of care needs. There would be quite a few emotional changes and feelings associated with
diabetes, they would include feelings of depression, denial, anxiety, negativity about the
future, feelings of being a burden and perhaps obsessing over the condition.
Hypnotherapy can help in many ways alongside other forms of medical and professional
treatment. Hypnosis can help people with diabetes to learn how to relax and therefore
reduce the feelings of anxiety, stress and worry over the condition; it can also help to
motivate people into working within the boundaries that their condition places and to
focus more on the positive things still in their life. Hypnotherapy can be of great help
with controlling and accepting a variety of emotions, the emotion must first be explored
before it is dealt with and once identified hypnosis can help in controlling the emotion.
A chronic condition such as diabetes can challenge peoples perception of the future and
alter their plans or goals, therefore they will require help in living for today and to let go
of the worry about the future, hypnotherapy can help with this by allowing the client to
appreciate the world around them whilst they are in a hypnotic state and will encourage
them to notice all the good things going on around them (Chrysalis Module 8 2010).
The type of hypnotic techniques and screeds to use on a client with diabetes will depend
entirely on an individual basis and the particular issues that they have.
To conclude this essay I chose to write about the medical condition of Diabetes.
I carried out a great deal of research on diabetes and described fully what the condition is,
the two different types of diabetes and their individual causes and symptoms, as well as
the forms of treatment available. I then looked at all the possible uses of hypnosis in the
treatment of diabetes and the things it can help with, along with the individual techniques
and screeds required.
Chrysalis Class Handout Psychotherapeutic Counselling – Year One – Module Eight 1-8 07/2010 SC
“Diabetes” Condition Information Pages on NHS Website
[4 June 2013}
“What is Diabetes” Article on Diabetes Information Website
[4 June 2013}
“How does diabetes affect the body” Article on Diabetes Information Website
[5 June 2013]
Islet Cell Transplantation on Wikipedia Free Encyclopaedia Website
[6 June 2013]