In this paper we explore the meaning and experience of living with breast cancer that had returned after conventional treatment. We focus on the process of learning and applying a specific psychological intervention to aid with the coping process. Of sixteen women who were randomized to self-hypnosis training, Johrei training or a control wait-list group, eight agreed to be interviewed. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and then analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The major themes that conceptualized living with the return of breast cancer were self-identity, self-blame, social isolation and feelings of being constrained. The themes relating to psychological intervention were gaining a sense of control and empowerment, normalizing and re-attribution, and a powerful military metaphor for dealing with the actual cancer.