top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureKate Roberts

Hypnotherapy And Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Healing Path


Key Takeaways -

  • Hypnotherapy has shown effectiveness in relieving PTSD and CPTSD symptoms.

  • PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.

  • Accessing the subconscious mind through hypnotherapy can help alleviate PTSD symptoms.

  • By replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones, hypnotherapy can lead to long-term healing for PTSD patients.



It's possible you're familiar with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can occur after being involved in or witnessing a distressing event.


According to a study conducted by King's College London, it has been estimated that about 1 in 13 people in the UK could experience PTSD at some point in their lives. [1]


That's a startling number, and if you or someone you know is struggling with this condition, it's crucial to explore various treatment options.


In this blog, we'll delve into the world of hypnotherapy as a potential means of treating PTSD. As you read on, you'll discover what PTSD is, how hypnotherapy can address its symptoms, and the research supporting this intriguing treatment method.


By the end of this journey, you might consider hypnotherapy a viable option for you or a loved one affected by PTSD. So, let's embark on this healing path together.



Understanding PTSD


As you seek to understand PTSD, it's important first to grasp its definition and prevalence. PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing TRAUMATIC EVENTS, such as a severe accident, natural disaster, combat situation, or assault.


While it's natural for anyone to feel DISTRESSED or overwhelmed after such events, those with PTSD experience physical symptoms long after the event has passed, often struggling to cope with their daily lives and facing some of the most intense psychological challenges imaginable.



PTSD Symptoms


As you strive to understand PTSD better, it's ESSENTIAL to familiarise yourself with the common symptoms that individuals may experience, which can be categorised into four main areas:


Intrusive Memories

  • Recurrent, unwanted and distressing memories of the traumatic event

  • Flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again

  • Nightmares related to the traumatic event

  • Emotional distress or physical reactions to reminders of the trauma

Avoidance

  • Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations related to the traumatic event

  • Evading people, places, activities, or situations that remind you of the trauma

  • Emotional numbness or detachment from others, activities, or surroundings

Negative Changes in Thinking And Mood

  • Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world

  • Persistent and distorted blame of oneself or others for causing the traumatic event or its consequences

  • Persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame

  • Feeling alienated from others or experiencing difficulties in maintaining close relationships

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions

  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions (also known as arousal symptoms)

Being Easily Startled or Frightened

  • Constantly feeling on guard or hypervigilant

  • Self-destructive behavior, such as reckless driving, substance abuse, or self-harm

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

  • Sleep disorders, including insomnia or restless sleep

  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior


Pro Tip: The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary among individuals, and not everyone with PTSD will experience all of these symptoms.


What causes PTSD?


In understanding PTSD, it's important to recognise the various factors that can contribute to its development. Here's a list of common causes and situations that may lead to PTSD:


Directly Experiencing A Traumatic Event:

  • Serious accidents, such as car crashes or workplace incidents

  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes

  • Acts of terrorism or mass violence

  • Combat or warzone exposure

  • Physical or sexual assault

Witnessing A Traumatic Event In Person:

  • Observing harm or violence inflicted on others

  • Watching a loved one suffer or being exposed to their distress

Learning About A Traumatic Event That Affected A Close Friend or Family Member:

  • Hearing about a loved one's serious injury, violent death, or sexual assault

Repeated Exposure To Traumatic Details Or Situations:

  • First responders, such as paramedics, firefighters, or police officers, regularly encounter distressing scenes

  • Professionals, like therapists or social workers, who frequently hear about or deal with a traumatic experiences of their clients


It's essential to note that not everyone who encounters these situations will develop PTSD, as INDIVIDUAL responses to trauma can vary widely depending on various factors, including genetic predisposition, personal history, and the presence of a strong support system.



Hypnotherapy As A Treatment For PTSD


As you navigate the myriad of treatment options for PTSD, hypnotherapy emerges as an INTRIGUING alternative that may provide relief for those who are suffering.


Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that utilises clinical hypnosis to help individuals access their subconscious mind, promoting POSITIVE CHANGE and healing. When applied to PTSD treatment, hypnotherapy addresses the anxiety disorders of the condition in several ways:


Memory Reconsolidation

Hypnotherapy can help individuals with PTSD revisit and REPROCESS traumatic memories in a safe and controlled environment.


By altering how these memories are stored and perceived, hypnotherapy can LESSEN the emotional impact and reduce the frequency of flashbacks and nightmares.


Reduction Of Anxiety And Stress

Hypnotherapy can teach individuals relaxation techniques and help them develop NEW coping mechanisms, which can alleviate anxiety and stress associated with PTSD.


Additionally, by accessing the subconscious mind, hypnotherapy can help identify and address the ROOT CAUSES of anxiety.


According to studies, hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for PTSD. In a 2018 study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, researchers concluded that “hypnosis is highly in helping those with PTSD to manage better and process traumatic memories, reducing their intensity and frequency over time.” [2]


Empowerment And Self-regulation

Hypnotherapy aims to empower individuals by increasing their sense of control over their thoughts, emotions, and reactions. Through hypnosis, individuals can learn to MANAGE their PTSD symptoms more effectively, enhancing their overall well-being and resilience.


Processing And Releasing Emotions

A mental health professional can assist individuals in processing and releasing the intense emotions that often accompany PTSD, such as fear, anger, guilt, or shame. This emotional release can lead to a greater sense of CLOSURE and healing.


Pro Tip: Remember that hypnotherapy supplements your doctor-prescribed medications and should not be relied on as the only treatment for PTSD.



Who’s At Risk?


Understanding who is at risk for PTSD is an essential aspect of tackling this condition. While PTSD can affect anyone exposed to a traumatic event, including children, certain factors may INCREASE an individual's vulnerability.


Previous mental health issues, a family history of mental health disorders, or a LACK of a strong support system can heighten the risk of developing PTSD.


Additionally, the nature of the traumatic event can play a role, with more severe or PROLONGED traumas, such as combat exposure or repeated abuse, increasing the likelihood of PTSD or CPTSD.


It's also worth noting that first responders and military personnel, frequently encountering DISTRESSING situations, may be at a higher risk due to their work.


However, it's crucial to remember that each individual's response to trauma is UNIQUE, and not everyone who encounters these risk factors, including children, will develop PTSD.



Conclusion


Hypnotherapy shows promise as an alternative treatment for PTSD and CPTSD. This method helps individuals access their subconscious minds and better control their thoughts and emotions.


Hypnotherapy can help people with PTSD by allowing them to safely process traumatic memories, reduce stress and anxiety, and release emotions. It's also important to identify who may be at risk for PTSD and understand what factors can make them more vulnerable.


In general, hypnotherapy can be a helpful way for individuals with PTSD symptoms to find relief.



Sources -

  1. King's College London. Troubling extent of trauma and PTSD in young people. Kcl.ac.uk. Published February 22, 2019. Accessed April 19, 2023. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/troubling-extent-of-trauma-and-ptsd-in-young-people

  2. Spiegel D;Cardena E. New uses of hypnosis in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. 2022;51 Suppl. Accessed April 19, 2023. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2211565/


2 views0 comments
bottom of page