Hypnotherapy (or clinical hypnosis) is a solution-oriented therapy treatment. It works with a person’s conscious and subconscious minds to induce emotional and behavioral changes. It is effective for treating anxiety, stress, phobias, PTSD, and other issues. The average hypnosis session lasts between 60-60 minutes.
A course of treatment for PTSD can last from two to three weekly sessions up to multiple sessions over weeks or months.
Hypnosis – How Does It Work?
It uses a model of the mind that includes conscious as well subconscious aspects. The subconscious mind holds all of our past learnings, memories, beliefs, routines, and habits. The subconscious mind can teach you things like how you tie your shoes, ride a bike or speak another language. For PTSD, the subconscious can keep the memory of traumatic events “stuck” in the mind. This can lead to negative reactions when an external stimulus recalls the trauma.
When the subconscious mind becomes more active and accessible in hypnosis, the hypnotherapist can help the client resolve any traumatic experiences or memories. You can reprogram undesirable reactions and behaviors through guided imagery, relaxation, positive hypnotic recommendations, and other methods such as guided imagery.
Hypnotherapy For PTSD: How Can It Help?
Nearly everyone will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. The brain’s natural response is to life-threatening situations or danger. This is known as the “fight and flight, freeze” response. The hypothalamus releases stress hormones to alert the amygdala, which causes the sympathetic nervous to react appropriately. Once the danger is gone, the brain stops producing these stress hormones. Normal functioning resumes.
PTSD means that a person’s brain is unable or unwilling to process trauma. If future events occur that bring back memories of trauma, the fight-flight-f freeze response may be activated unnecessarily. Hypnotherapy can be a great intervention for PTSD because it focuses both on physical and mental relaxation.
Many Hypnotherapeutic Strategies Can Be Used To Treat PTSD.
Relaxation A therapist will help a person pay closer attention to every part of their body to reach a hypnotic trance state. This can be a natural remedy for many symptoms of PTSD. It is much easier to start therapeutic work once the intensity of symptoms has dropped.
Identifying Triggers Often symptoms such as PTSD can be triggered even by non-threatening stimuli. Many combat veterans react to loud noises, such as fireworks or motor vehicles that are backfiring. In hypnosis, common triggers are often easier to spot than previously thought.
The trance state allows a person to visualize the stimuli that trigger them and then practice appropriate reactions. The severity of adverse reactions will decrease over time until the stimulus is no more triggering.
Many hypnotherapists can also recommend tools that can be used to manage PTSD symptoms. These include instructions for self-hypnosis, deep breathing exercises, relaxation meditations, and self-hypnosis.
Is Hypnotherapy Effective In Treating PTSD?
Hypnotherapy for trauma has been proven to be very effective when used as a part or alone in the treatment of PTSD. Many studies have confirmed the efficacy and safety of hypnosis as a treatment for PTSD in a range of populations.
Here are some of the results of several studies regarding hypnotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- The effectiveness of hypnosis for children suffering from PTSD was examined in a 2011 study. It was conducted after the attacks on Bali in 2002. According to statistically significant data, children who received hypnosis treatment saw a 77% improvement in their PTSD symptoms after a year. The study showed that hypnosis was an effective and simple treatment for PTSD.
- In 2013, a meta-analysis looked at six studies that investigated the effectiveness of hypnosis in treating PTSD. It was shown that hypnosis can be used to relieve symptoms of PTSD.
- A study that was done in 2019 found that women with PTSD due to abuse suffered decreased symptoms when they received hypnotherapy.
- A 2001 report outlined the successful treatment of a British veteran who had suffered from severe PTSD symptoms for over 40 years. The man received hypnotherapy treatment and was almost free from PTSD symptoms.