History of the Medical Hypnosis Foundation
The mission of the Medical Hypnosis Foundation (MHF) is to offer self-hypnosis groups for individuals who are seriously ill and would not otherwise be able to afford these integrative medicine services. MHF is based in an Integrative Medicine approach to health where the patient and physician work together as a team and the patient is encouraged to be proactive in their health and wellbeing. To quote Christy Mack, co-founder of the Bravewell Collaborative:
"...Integrative Medicine fosters treating the empowered patient as a whole person rather than a body part or a disease"
The Medical Hypnosis Foundation helps individuals to use their own inner resources together with medical science to optimize their health.
In 2002, Dr. Forester-Miller, PhD, LPC, NCC, President of Wellness Counsultants International, PLLC in Durham, together with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, received a grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (Triangle Affiliate) for the Healing Skills Project, to offer self-hypnosis training to enhance quality of life for breast cancer patients. Holly developed a group format for self-hypnosis training that offered breast cancer patients an opportunity to learn how to manage their symptoms and side effects. The breast cancer patients were given a quality of life measure before and after their four-week self-hypnosis training sessions. Significant changes were noted on numerous items, including being more satisfied with how they were coping with their illness, being able to sleep better, and an increase in their quality of life. The results also indicated that the participants reported they had more energy, less swelling, less pain, felt less sad, less nervous, and had less fear of dying. Overall the women’s self report indicated self-hypnosis was very useful and that it contributed to a noticeably improved quality of life.
During 2004, Holly Forester-Miller had a vision of offering medical hypnosis to those who typically could not afford integrative medicine services. She, together with the assistance of Martha Simpson, PhD, a licensed psychologist with HRC, PA in Raleigh formed the WCI Foundation as a charitable corporation. The WCI Foundation received federal tax exempt status 501 (c)(3) in October, 2005. The first Self-Hypnosis Group was held for four weeks - June 9 – June 30, 2005. This group followed the same format as the groups Holly developed in 2002 for the Healing Skills Project. Several area doctors and local health care providers readily supported this idea, and volunteered to serve on the Foundation’s Founding Board of Directors.
In January, 2006, the Foundation officially changed its name to the Medical Hypnosis Foundation. This organization is working to enhance the public’s understanding of self-hypnosis as an integrative medicine tool. By the end of 2007, we had offered nine Self-Hypnosis Training Groups to over fifty participants.
Part of our work also includes educating health care professionals and the general public about the effectiveness of hypnosis as a powerful healing tool. Presentations are offered to organizations, medical facilities, and medical schools to provide members with an understanding of the power of hypnosis and its use as a tool for health and comfort. We plan to continue our growth, and spread our services throughout the state of North Carolina. We are training more group providers, and more and more area doctors and hospitals are interested in utilizing our services. One of our group participants, a cancer patient, reminded us why our efforts need to continue:
...You will hear patients talk of cancer as the “ultimate loss of control” and to me that was the worst part of it. There seems to be so little you can do to fight an enemy that comes from inside you. I was searching hard for a way I could regain a sense of this lost control, or contribute positively to my own health.
...I wish self-hypnosis could be offered to everyone facing a serious illness. I feel like you need a toolbox of things to help you through a cancer diagnosis. Medical self-hypnosis belongs in every cancer patient’s healing toolbox.