Friday, February 14, 2014

Hypnosis and PTSD

Time doesn’t always heal all wounds.  Some events are simply too traumatic to recover from on one's own. The practice of using hypnosis to treat PTSD symptoms has the potential to greatly improve a person’s well being.  Hypnotherapy can give the subject more control over the symptoms and minimize recurring negative thoughts stemming from the traumatic event.  Hypnosis may not completely heal some subjects, but it can help many people cope with their traumatic past.
Hypnosis has been found to be highly beneficial in treating PTSD for two major reasons.  The first being that the symptoms of PTSD are similar to the phenomena experienced while under hypnosis.  Secondly, hypnosis has actually been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

Hypnosis and PTSD
In a 2005 study, the effects of hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on participants with PTSD were tested.  In the study 67 people with PTSD were divided into 3 groups.  Each group of participants received 6 sessions, either with CBT and hypnosis, CBT only, or supportive counseling.

The study’s results revealed that the hypnosis plus CBT group and the CBT-only group exhibited fewer symptoms of PTSD immediately prior to the treatment and also again at the 6-month follow up.  In addition, the group that received hypnosis had fewer re-experiencing episodes than the CBT-only group.

Although many people regard hypnosis as a trance-like state, it is actually a normal and natural altered state of consciousness.  In fact, after experiencing hypnosis sessions, many people question whether they really have been hypnotized.  This is because, although people expect it to be quite strange, hypnosis is quite a normal state.

Hypnosis has long been used in the treatment of war related post-traumatic conditions.  In recent years it has also been used effectively to treat post-traumatic symptoms in cases of sexual assault, car accidents and other events.

The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy
The main principle of hypnosis is to induce a deep state of relaxation in the subject.  This in itself is potentially effective against PTSD as it may lead to feelings of safety and less environmental anxiety, a decrease of intrusive thoughts and a re-involvement in daily activity.

Hypnosis is a method of communicating with our unconscious mind.  It is this direct communication with the unconscious that enables doctors to change even lifetime habits very quickly.  Hypnosis has long been used for smoking cessation, weight control, stress elimination, removing anxiety, curing phobias and improving confidence, among other things.  Hypnosis has even proven very effective in helping to treat chronic pain.

While hypnosis and PTSD may not be the solution for everyone, it has proven effective in people with an IQ of 70 or over.  This means it could potentially work for most people.

But not every PTSD patient is a good candidate for hypnosis or hypnotherapy.  Certain criteria need to be met.  For one, there should be a proper diagnosis of PTSD established.  Also the hypnotherapist needs to be aware whether he is dealing with a single, or multiple trauma incidents.  The subject should also understand the concept of PTSD and what the hypnotherapy goals are.  Lastly, treatment should be voluntary.  If the subject has any doubts in their mind regarding hypnosis and PTSD, they should be excluded from treatment.

Patients should also be aware that contrary to what you see in some movies, hypnosis is completely safe.  You cannot get stuck in hypnosis and hypnosis is not sleep, as many believe.  Most importantly, while in a state of hypnosis, you cannot be made to do anything against your will or against your own moral code.

All retrieved from

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