How can PTSD be helped with Hypnotherapy?

If you have landed on this page, it is likely because you, or someone you care about, is struggling with Post traumatic stress.

First-let me say-- Hypnosis can help!

 

Most therapies deal with the rational mind. But knowing something in the rational mind doesn't stop you from having symptoms, anxiety, flashbacks etc. because it is NOT the rational mind that is generating these symptoms.

So, let's talk first about the subconscious mind. The SC is illogical and it's primary function is to protect you. When you have experienced, heard about or witnessed a potentially life threatening event, it leaves an imprint on your SC. While we are highly emotional, whatever messages we are picking up from the environment, or whatever messages we are giving ourselves, get imprinted into the subconscious mind. So, if during a traumatic event, you are feeling frightened and threatened, this "sticks": on a SC level. and because the SC is illogical, it doesn't update once the event has passed.   You can know that the life threatening event has passed or that you are safe now, but that doesn't mean the Sc is aware of that.

We also know, scientifically, that memories are stored differently when we are in a threatening situation then they do when we are calm and at ease. When we are relaxed, a memory gets logged as a "past event" once the situation has passed. When we are in a traumatic situation, a memory does not get logged as having passed. The brain acts like the event is still occurring; hence the flashbacks, hyper vigilance, panic, intrusive thoughts etc.

Using Hypnotherapy, we can help the brain to properly process and catalogue the event so it no longer has an overwhelming impact on you.

Some ways that hypnotherapy  can help with PTSD:

  • Eliminate Unwanted upsetting memories,Nightmares, flashbacks, Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders and physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders

  • Eliminate the need to avoid potentially triggering people, locations or events 

  • Help you to process the trauma in a safe way

  • Help to shift to more positive thinking, feeling and expectations 

  • Help you to develop an interest in life and activities once again

  • Eliminate hyper vigilance and hyper arousal

  • Improve sleep and appetite (if needed)

  •  Normalize your response. Post-traumatic stress is a adaptive response. If you are in a potentially life-threatening situation, your body is supposed to respond by going into a hyper-vigilant state so that you can protect yourself. This is not a disorder. This is your body doing where your body is supposed to do when you're in distress.  The problem is the subconscious doesn't realize that the trauma has passed and that you're now safe. So, it remains in that hyper-vigilant state. 

  • Give you an opportunity to speak about what occurred-  Trauma often renders us speechless.  A client who comes to see me may need to verbally process what has occurred and may not want to burden their loved ones or may feel that they have already spoken to their loved ones too much. They may feel their loved ones do not understand, are impatient with them or are unable to listen objectively.  My work with a traumatized client often involves giving them a space to discuss what occurred with someone who will listen without judgement or impatience.

  • Reclassify the trauma as a past event. When in a life-threatening situation, the details of that situation do not get stored as a past event but rather as an ongoing event, within the brain.  The SC forgets that there was a safe time prior to the trauma and a safe time after. We can help the subconscious to recognize that event as now done, change the way the event is stored and remove the emotion from it.

  • Help you manage emotions- There are a lot of emotions that come up for a person who's had or witnessed a life-threatening experience; survivor’s guilt, responsibility, anger, powerlessness, shock, fear, grief etc.  I can help to normalize  the emotion, process and accept the emotion and express the emotion. 

  • Address the change in the your world view- When a life-threatening event occurs it changes what you think about yourself and about the world. Instead of “I'm safe” it becomes “bad things can happen in any given moment”.  Instead of “I’m going to live forever. I'm Invincible” It's “I am vulnerable”. You might question their own competency. So, my work may involve reminding you of their resiliency and  helping you to become aware of the skills you have to take care of yourself

  • Addressing re-enactment or repetition compulsion-- Freud observed that people often re-enact traumas to master and complete them. So, for example, if you had a traumatic relationship with a parent there was a lot of abuse or criticism you may attract partners who have similar qualities because there's a part of you that is trying to resolve it.  Another example of this would be people who have had trauma going into service work where their job is all about trying to help people in trauma.

  • Addressing high risk behavior- Clients who've experienced a lot of trauma get used to having a lot of adrenaline in their system. Because of this they are constantly in hyper-alert and having a normal calm life feels boring. They may be drawn toward high risk behaviors such as sky diving, rock climbing's, bungee jumping, scuba diving etc.  Or they may be drawn into a high-risk profession where they must live on the edge all the time. In this case, helping them to become accustomed to lower levels of adrenaline and/or helping them to make healthy choices with regards to their behavior is useful

  • Making meaning of the event- an example of this would be Mothers Against Drunk drivers. This really depend upon how recent the event was. A person who has had a recent trauma may not be at this place yet.   

  • Address self-injury-These behaviors may include hitting yourself, cutting, scratching using harsh abrasives braces on the skin, pulling out eyebrows or hair, inserting objects into your body orifices.

If you suspect that you are dealing with Post traumatic stress get in touch and let's talk. I always offer a free consultation.