Support Your PTSD Recovery with Hypnotherapy
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is being diagnosed more widely today than ever. People with PTSD can be helped by many treatment modalities, including hypnotherapy.
What Is PTSD?
People who see or experience a traumatic, usually life-threatening event or series of events might develop post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a mental condition in which the person who has experienced or witnessed trauma develops lasting negative effects that seriously impair their quality of life. The four types of symptoms seen with PTSD include:
• Flashbacks. These can occur when you are awake or appear as nightmares. These flashbacks are upsetting and intrusive in daily life.
• Avoidance. Conditions and situations which remind you of the event are avoided, often limiting your lifestyle.
• Negative outlook. Many people with PTSD suffer from a change in their outlook on life or the people around them. They might feel that their core beliefs and understanding of the world are more negative than they were before.
• Hyperarousal. People with PTSD often feel perpetually keyed-up. You might feel extra irritable, jumpy, and find yourself seeking unhealthy ways to lower your stress.
What Is Hypnotherapy?
During hypnotherapy, a trained hypnotherapist guides a patient into a state of extreme concentration, or hypnosis. When a person is in this deep state of inward concentration, it is easier for them to make necessary changes to their core beliefs and, subsequently, their actions.
The hypnotherapist can help keep the patient focused on the desired outcomes. A person under hypnosis is completely aware of their surroundings or what is being said to them. They retain their ability to think and react however they wish; they are simply able to ignore any distractions and deeply concentrate.
Hypnosis can help a person gain access to feelings, emotions, and memories that they might otherwise not consciously recognize or deal with in a safe environment. They can then deal with them more effectively, hopefully resulting in a decrease in the PTSD symptoms that their mind is currently using to cope.
Hypnotherapy is often used by medical and mental health professionals in conjunction with other therapies and treatment modalities for a wide variety of conditions. It can help with pain management, digestive problems, and fears and phobias.
How Can Hypnotherapy Help You Recover from PTSD?
Studies are showing that people who have PTSD are more hypnotizable than the average population. Because PTSD is a condition in which a person's normal cognitive function is persistently disturbed by a traumatic event, this increased level of hypnotizability might be connected to its development. For instance, during a particularly threatening and traumatic event, a person may enter an extremely concentrated state of hypnosis, focusing intently on the immediate issues. That may be what leads to the symptoms of PTSD later on; what is learned and experienced in a hypnotic state becomes cemented into a person's psyche.
People with PTSD may also be more likely to respond favorably to hypnotherapy because they are often highly hypnotizable. Only this time, during the hypnosis, the traumatic memory can be accessed and dealt with in a different way, reframing it to be considered a less helpless moment. Patients with PTSD can also be taught self-hypnosis techniques to help them deal with flashbacks and other symptoms of the condition as they appear during daily life.
Hypnotherapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from psychologytoday.com: https://www.psychologytoday.com/therapy-types/hypnotherapy
PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (n.d.). Retrieved from US Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/what-is-ptsd.asp
Spiegel, C. E. (n.d.). New uses of hypnosis in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Retrieved from pubmed.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2211565