Imagine facing an unthinkable trauma - a devastating, life-changing trauma. Now imagine, at any moment and without warning, a sound, smell, a fleeting thought or emotion takes you back to that day and to that event. Not only do you live that traumatic moment when it happens, but you relive it with the same intensity repeatedly after it happens. This is what it is like living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
When trauma occurs, it becomes stored in the subconscious mind, along with the rest of our memories, beliefs, habits, and past experiences. The brain’s primitive fight or flight response remains stuck in the “on” position. Living in a constant state of fight or flight can cause anxiety, insomnia, irritability, anger, and memory loss.
When people hear ‘PTSD,’ most think of combat veterans returning from war, but PTSD isn’t something that only military personnel experience. PTSD is caused by violence, sexual assault, abuse, neglect, natural disasters, accidents, and even the death of a loved one.
Through the use of hypnosis, which is a trance-like state similar to sleep, but you are fully awake and aware of what is going on around you, hypnotherapists work with a client’s conscious and subconscious mind to create emotional and behavioral change and resolve trauma.
Traditional treatments for PTSD include cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), but these don’t work for everyone. Reports indicate that hypnotherapy has been used to treat PTSD for more than 200 years.
Hypnotherapists can help their clients work through traumatic memories by helping to access memories surrounding trauma in a safe, neutral environment. Hypnotherapists can also help clients increase coping skills, which gives them a greater sense of peace, well-being, and control.
Most people who experience PTSD express that they feel helpless to the triggers. Hypnotherapists can help clients identify triggers and help their clients control how they feel about the triggers using various modalities, including relaxation, guided imagery, and positive hypnotic suggestions. These modalities can help reprogram responses to negative memories and events, giving clients control of their lives by acknowledging and releasing suppressed emotions.
Unfortunately, only 50 percent of people with PTSD seek treatment or support. Some people go through life suffering from not only the trauma but the shame of feeling like there is something wrong with them. This number is significantly lower amongst veterans. Veterans who have PTSD often don’t reach out for help because they fear being viewed as broken or defective. Let’s reframe how we view PTSD and PTSD resolution. Hypnotherapy and PTSD resolution are about solving a problem, which military members are phenomenal at doing. Military men and women are programmed to face hell, and this same programming can also be used to heal trauma or, if needed, undo this programming to allow healing that wasn’t previously allowed. We need to break the stigma of PTSD so that warriors can mourn as humans.