UNDERGOING major surgery is an experience that may leave many of us feeling anxious, but now one North East hospital is taking an alternative approach to help patients face their fears.

Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital is working with hypnotherapist and motivational coach Carol Barwick to offer patients alternatives to traditional treatments, such as sedatives, to help them deal with medical-related fears and phobias.

Working with patients both pre and post-surgery, Carol aims to get to the root of an individual’s fears and then give them a range of tools they can use throughout their hospital experience and during recuperation.

These include IEMT (Integral Eye Movement Technique), an acupressure technique known as ‘tapping’, hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), which studies how people organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour to produce certain results, with all sessions recorded so that patients can continue to benefit once back at home.

Carol said: “Fear and anxiety around being in hospital or undergoing an operation can be quite common but the cause is always specific to the individual, so the first thing I do is spend time getting to the root of the problem and understanding why the patient is behaving in a certain way.

“Their fear may be linked to a memory or event in the past and by using techniques such as NLP I am able to build up a rapport with the patient and identify the root cause.

“I then work with the individual to provide them with tools they can take away with them and use to combat the anxiety, whether before the operation, during their time in hospital or afterwards during their recovery.”

Carol, a former Barclays North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year winner, has worked as a behaviour specialist for nine years, having previously run her own recruitment agency in Newcastle for 14 years.

She works with people of all ages, including school pupils suffering from exam anxiety, self-harming and confidence issues, professional athletes looking to mentally prepare for competitions as well as managers, business owners and some of the region’s top chief executives, helping them achieve their professional and personal goals.

Now her services are being offered to patients at Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital to complement existing treatments and provide an alternative to pharmaceutical intervention.
The holistic therapies she offers can be used to address a variety of hospital-related fears and anxieties including a fear of needles, doctors, anaesthetic, MRI scans and pain management.

Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital’s sales and services manager, Chris Land, said: “We recognise that for many people coming into a hospital environment and undergoing treatment or surgery can be a worrying time and it is our aim to do everything that we can to make our patients’ hospital experience as calm and stress-free as possible.

“We also realise some of our patients have a genuine fear or phobia surrounding hospital and surgery and in addition to the medical treatments on offer we have joined forces with Carol to provide an alternative method of dealing with these fears.

“Carol is highly experienced and her work has achieved some fantastic results for her clients over the years so we are very excited to be able to offer her skills and experience to our patients – it will be a welcome addition to the treatments already on offer and will really complement our existing services.”

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