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Serious Diseases


Emotional causes of cancer????

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

As impossible as it may seem (at least to my mother), I make mistakes now and then.

Fortunately, I have some benevolent watchdogs out there in cyberspace who monitor my words and give me valuable feedback when I have blown it. Gratitude to Nils Jacobson, MD, a Swedish physician who is one of a small handful in his country using EFT. He is a diligent student of these procedures and, of course, is plugged into the attitudes and ways of the medical/scientific community. As such, he is quick to let me know when I have trespassed on those beliefs.

In this case, Nils took exception to my recent comment in "Bulimia in Brazil" wherein I said,

"It has long been my view that bulimia is NOT a problem in and of itself. Neither are addictions, cancer and a long list of other ailments/behaviors. Rather, these are SYMPTOMS of unresolved anger, guilt, fear, etc. These unresolved emotions cause conflicts (lack of peace) within the system and are thus the true causes of many of our problems. Until they are properly resolved, we will just flit from symptom to symptom with the illusion that healing is taking place."

This can be read, of course, as my asserting that the ONLY cause for cancer, etc. is unresolved emotional issues. That is my mistake. Taken out of the context of my many other writings on this subject, this stand alone paragraph can, indeed, give that impression.

Below is Nils' most recent letter to me, together with my comments. You will see that I don't buy all of his premises. Thus I thought you might find this spirited exchange of interest.

Hugs, Gary



In your comments to "Bulimia in Brazil" 4 June you write:

..."cancer and a long list of other ailments...are SYMPTOMS of unresolved anger, guilt, fear, etc."

Dear Gary, almost always I find your writings inspiring and stimulating. But sometimes you write about medical issues in a careless way.

GC COMMENT: We need to be accurate for our readers here, Nils, so let me comment on the quote you put forth above. First, I suggest that it came a bit out of context. The paragraph from which you quoted also stated that this was my BELIEF. That is a bit different than blowing a loud horn as though it was the gospel truth. Further, my previous writings and conversations on this topic usually frame emotional factors as contributors to our physical ailments, rather than their ONLY cause.

Second, although my statement can give the wrong impression (you are right! thank you, thank you) it does not preclude other causes. To set the record straight, I have repeatedly seen evidence where physical symptoms vanish upon elimination of an emotional issue. So have many experienced readers on this list. I conclude from that, rightly or wrongly, that the emotional contributors to our physical issues are substantial. Clearly, though, other things can be causal. A broken leg from a car accident, for example, is not likely to have an emotional cause. How well it heals, however, can have emotional factors.

NILS CONTINUES: In the New Age therapies 10 or 20 years ago, it was a popular talking about a patient that "he had given himself cancer" or similar. As if it was not enough with the burden of disease, now the patients should also have the extra burden of guilt to have caused it himself. It was all his fault. The statement "cancer is caused by emotional factors" inevitably leads to the conclusion "it is your own fault". I do not know if this was your intention, or mainly a slip of the keyboard.

GC COMMENT: Although I see where you are coming from, Nils, I don't see anything "inevitable" about this conclusion. Why does it have to lead to guilt? If cancer is caused (all or in part) by emotional factors, doesn't this provide HOPE rather than guilt? I mean doesn't this give the patient another avenue of healing to augment the rather severe options of chemotherapy and/or surgery?

Further, much of our unresolved emotional issues were given seed in childhood when we were too young to know the difference (or to do anything about it). One could hardly point the finger of guilt at such circumstances. Isn't it empowering to know that the baggage one has been carrying around for so long (and which may well be a contributor to cancer and other ailments) can now be unloaded with our new techniques? That's not guilt. It's relief. Even if resolving emotional issues doesn't cure cancer, it certainly provides healing. Where's the guilt? I suggest it is simply a mindset that, fortunately, is reframe-able by a skilled practitioner.

NILS CONTINUES: The problem is not that the statement is not true. It may well be, but this is impossible to prove or to disprove. It is purely a statement of faith. If it is in some way true, then the "truth" is so generalized that it becomes meaningless. Newborn babies may have cancer, even if it is rare. All higher animals may have cancer, which is not at all rare (owners of old pets know this). Even trees may have what looks as cancer. You may claim that these newborn babies, animals, and perhaps even trees, have unresolved emotional issues. Such a statement to me is meaningless. Of course all animals and newborn babies (I do not know about trees) experience fear and a lot of other emotions, but not all of them get cancer. So how can we claim a casual relationship?

GC COMMENT: Cancer is also attributed to asbestos, tobacco (including second hand smoke), carcinogens in our diet and so on. Nonetheless, there are people who consume these things and live long lives without cancer. One can point to statistics but this does not prove or disprove the causal relationship. By observation and common sense, though, it seems rather obvious that these things at least contribute to cancer and I find that argument persuasive.

Also by observation and common sense, I find repeated and very persuasive evidence (as do our experienced readers) that a growing list of our physical ailments are clearly linked to our emotional states. Is that proven yet? No. Science has hardly begun investigating this phenomenon. We are years away from being blessed by the scientific community and have all this proven by their methods.

Ss you know, my academic background is straight from the hard science camp. While I've never done any formal research, my engineer's left brain is well developed enough to know that our results with EFT go well beyond coincidence, placebo, etc. We are on to something very important here and I'm not about to muffle myself when something seems so obvious. It would be a disservice to free speech and this growing snowball if I did so.

NILS CONTINUES: The truth is, as you have written several times, is that we all have unresolved emotional issues. The final truth, as formulated by some cancer specialists, is that we all will die of cancer if we live long enough.

If you claim that cancer is caused by emotional factors, how do you know that this is true only for cancer, and not for ALL bodily diseases (as your writing really seems to imply)? For example, we have a group of diseases that are caused by hereditary factors and which are apparent immediately at birth. Then you must claim that also these are caused by unresolved emotional problems, active in which person, when? Then we get into impossible and unfruitful theological discussions.

GC COMMENT: Again, it is not my position that cancer is caused by emotional factors all by itself. I think this is possible and even likely in many instances but there are obviously other factors that can be at play.

Let me comment, though, that this entire discussion revolves around medical & scientific conclusions vs. my thoughts about emotional causes. Medical & scientific conclusions are limited in that they work within the 4 dimensions of space and time and tend to ignore at least 6 other dimensions (and perhaps many more) that have been discovered and discussed by Dr. William Tiller. Further, they tend to be limited to our paltry senses which only receive a miniscule fraction of the possible sights, sounds and other input out there. They tend to ignore any other inputs which are outside of our sensory apparatus.

I mention this because of your comments about "impossible and unfruitful theological discussions." I think the truth of this statement depends on who is having the discussion. A minister and a hard scientist, for example, may soon find conflict.

As it turns out, I happen to be from both camps and have no conflicts within myself on any of these issues. I appreciate the hard science argument and understand it well. I find it persuasive in many ways. However, I am also persuaded that there is a much grander level of existence than the tightly constrained one within which we seem to live. That makes it very difficult for a hard scientist to sell me their complete inventory. I find myself looking beyond it into areas that don't fit within space and time.

As a result, many hard scientists are going to treat some of my comments/theories as the ministerial meanderings of an errant engineer. They will relegate what I say to the trash bin because it has no match in their belief system. So be it. But I'm not about to back pedal on my thoughts just because they don't comply with someone else's beliefs. If I did that, EFT, this list, our web site and all of our training tapes wouldn't exist.

NILS CONTINUES: It is of no help to a cancer patient to tell him that he has brought the disease upon himself. Even if your statement is not at all meant as an accusation, it will be felt as such.

GC COMMENT: You are concluding, of course, about how other people are going to feel. Further, there is no need to tell the patients that they have brought the disease upon themselves. To do so ranks, in my opinion, as questionable bedside manner. How they react, I suggest, is a function of how it is presented to them. And that, of course, is a choice. They don't have to live with such a negative conclusion.

Interestingly, in the hundred or so conversations I've had on this subject, I can only recall one person who equated this "emotional contributor to disease" idea with guilt. In my experience, almost everyone recognizes the possibilities involved and finds hope (and often results) as EFT reduces both emotional and physical issues simultaneously. Again, I think the patient's perception of guilt or hope depends on the mindset of the practitioner. I have said many times that we radiate our inner thoughts by our postures, choice of words, etc. and that radiation is picked up by others. If the practitioner is coming from a guilt mindset then s/he can expect the clients to respond accordingly.

NILS CONTINUES: Also, these statements of emotional problems as cause of cancer will certainly not help to get EFT accepted in the scientific/medical community. Rather, the medical people will (rightly) recognize such statements as "this old New Age prejudice" or similar. And so they turn their back to EFT.

GC COMMENT: There are many members of the scientific/medical community that are reading this right now and I doubt if any of them consider my statements as "this old New Age prejudice." I agree, however, that your generalization will certainly be echoed by others in that community. I don't know what to do about it. I happen to think (through extended observation) that the emotional link to physical ailments is a biggie on the horizon. It is not new, of course, but the extent to which we can now assist the physical healing process through emotional relief is clear, obvious and unmistakable.

I am certain to annoy some people with my writings and conclusions. If I tiptoe around these statements for fear of turning off some medical/scientific folks, then I will be criticized by others for wimpifying the whole EFT process. There is no way to satisfy everyone. I try to walk the line and be reasonable, of course, and I blow it now and then. This conversation is evidence of my imperfection in this regard.

NILS CONTINUES: The fact that bodily diseases may respond to energy treatments does not prove that the disease from the beginning was caused by emotional factors. It only proves that the patient now has some emotional problems with or caused by the disease, which is self-evident.

Larry Dossey, MD, has a good discussion about this is his book about the medical applications of prayer, "Healing Words".

So, please, be a little careful when writing about causes of diseases. Leave statements about the origin of cancer outside, and concentrate on how we may help cancer patients and other patients with energy treatments. Then you will do both patients and EFT an even better service.

Best wishes and greetings,


Medical Word Watcher :)


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