It is very much recommended that a sick person changes her external circumstances. Better diet, vitamins, less stress, fresh air, etc. And it is recommended that she sees appropriate health practitioners for her condition, preferably holistic practitioners. However, what the process facilitator will concentrate on, is the client's internal state and her reasons for causing the illness. And that is more likely to make a difference than anything else.
In its simplicity, an illness is a message from oneself to oneself. That message will typically have manifested itself in other ways first, but one ignored them. The messages will get gradually more drastic as one continues to ignore them, intuitions and feelings turn into bodily afflictions. If one continues to ignore the message, the illnesses will get gradually more severe. The vicious circle gets broken only and simply by finding out what the illness is about.
It might take some persuasion to talk a sick person into seeing it that way. They are not sick for nothing, they are thoroughly ignoring something. So, they aren't going to let go of their denial without a fight. You don't really have to convince them up front. You just have to keep it in mind for yourself, that they are creating the illness themselves, and then use processes to uncover and demonstrate it.
Whenever you get a chance, reframe the illness as something with a positive intention. Get the client to look at what good they have gotten out of having the illness. Has she received more love, had more free time, developed more understanding for others, become motivated to improve her lifestyle? How has the illness served her? What has it allowed her to do? Don't let her spend much time complaining about what it has stopped her from doing. The key to the illness is much rather found in what it has helped her to accomplish. And if she claims that it has accomplished nothing, we just need to get some more denial off of it.
Any imagined suggestions of positive benefits from the illness will help. Even if they are silly and improbable. Then gradually we can maybe dig deeper and get some of the actual reasons why she has the illness. The client might have to get used to the idea first before she will offer anything substantial.
What we are trying to accomplish with an illness is basically to find out what it is about, what it is trying to say, or what it is trying to get her to do. That is always something positive. Once we have a positive intention, and if it is still applicable, we would like to find another outlet for it. We would like to bring in some more choice, so that she doesn't have to be sick to accomplish the purpose.
Often the mere recognition of what the illness is about will close the loop and it will vanish. In other situations the client must establish different habit patterns and actually do something before the illness will no longer be necessary.
A mental explanation or analytical realization is not likely to be sufficient. The illness is not there in the first place unless one has ignored one's feelings. Clever mental machinations aren't going to change that. One needs to actually feel what is there and then allow that feeling to flow differently into different doing.
There is usually a certain system to illnesses. Different illnesses in different body parts mean different things. The "meaning" of the illness is not absolute, but there is quite a high degree of consistency between different people on what certain types of illnesses relate to. That doesn't relieve the facilitator from the job of finding out what it is specifically for this person, but it does make it easier to look.
A person who suppresses anger is likely to get inflammatory diseases, like ulcers. A person with heart diseases is likely to not be accepting of others. A person with cancer is probably not accepting of herself. Breathing difficulties often relate to space. Exhaustion means one is resisting or denying something. Throat problems indicate something that isn't being said. There is often a certain logic to these correspondences that is quite common sense.
The person will need to reverse the limited behavior that she did to bring about the illness. She needs to get the message of warning and act on it. If she gets a heart attack because she is critical and hostile towards others, then she needs to realize that, and then act differently. She would need to actually start liking others and grant them some right to exist.
The first steps of an illness handling will typically be simple communication with the body. We need to bring the client more in contact with what is there in order to do anything else. And improved energy flows in the body will start alleviating the illness. So, feeling different points on the body is often a good place to start.
Getting the client to describe the kinesthetic perceptions of the affected body areas is also a very good idea. That might lead in any of several directions. She might just get more in communication with the area. It might lead to re-experiencing. It might lead to a simple "Hello there" communication process. It might lead to a 6-step reframing process. It could lead to entity processing.
If the illness is localized in a very distinct area and it appears to respond as a separate gestalt, then that is often a very fruitful road to pursue. We can talk with it then. As long as we can give it questions and it will respond in some way we can recognize, then we should be able to have an interchange. And then we are not far away from finding out what it is there for, and what else it could do.
If the illness does not respond as one unit, re-experiencing might be very useful. We would get the client to feel whatever it feels like, we re-experience a core incident with that feeling, and we check again what the feeling is, and address more incident(s), and so forth. Until the feeling has transformed completely.
Be aware always that the illness is not something to get rid of. It is a message that needs to be received, understood and acted upon.