Experiencing trauma can have a massive impact on someone’s life, there is a case for trauma being the root cause of all mental illness. Hypnotherapy has been shown to be a very effective way to overcome the effects of trauma and help people get their lives back in order. Through hypnotherapy, NLP, CBT and mindfulness I have helped many clients overcome PTSD, complex trauma and childhood trauma.
Different Types of Trauma
We all experience traumatic events at some points in our lives, it seems that some people are able to overcome traumatic experiences and move on from them very quickly while others experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The effects of PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, distressing thoughts, anxiety. PTSD is commonly suffered by war veterans and victims of violent crime. Sufferers of PTSD often come to associate certain smells or sounds with the traumatic memory and these will then trigger them to regress to and relive the traumatising event.
Complex Trauma is now more commonly referred to as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). In studies of war veterans they noticed that some of them were able to get over trauma very quickly while others suffered, it’s thought that the ones that suffer from PTSD actually already had CPTSD. PTSD is thought to affect one in three people who suffer a traumatising event. Some psychologists believe there is no PTSD without CPTSD.
What is CPTSD?
With standard PTSD there is a one off trauma whereas CPTSD is caused by repeated and ongoing trauma. Circumstances that may cause CPTSD are living in violent homes, being regularly exposed to the abuse and death of others, feeling powerless for a long period of time. CPTSD is most commonly experienced by people who are reliant on their abusers such as members of cults, prisoners of war and children who grow up in dysfunctional families. CPTSD is caused by repeated and ongoing trauma from which there is no escape.
I would argue that childhood trauma is the most common form of trauma and we all have it to some extent, in his book CPTSD from surviving to thriving Pete Walker suggests that 80% of people grow up with some form of dysfunction. To a child the smallest event can be traumatising, as children we believe everything to be about us. It is believed a child doesn’t begin forming a sense of self until the age of 2 and this process doesn’t finish completely until they reach adulthood.
We don’t need to experience violence to develop childhood trauma just growing up in an environment with a lot of arguing will be traumatising for a small child. If an otherwise loving and adequate parent or caregiver suffers with anxiety a child will pick up on that. Many children suffer mental, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, some experience all of these to some extent but the internalise it, it becomes an unknown known and continues to affect them on an unconscious level. Children who experience trauma will suffer relationship issues, they will internalise their abusers, develop toxic shame, become people pleasers and codependents. You can learn more about codependency in this blog post. People who grow up in such families may develop personality or dissociative disorders.
Acting Out Or Acting In
Trauma sufferers will look for ways to cope with their unwanted memories they may act out, become physically abusive or narcissistic. The narcissist has become so full of toxic shame, they need to create a mask that they can hide behind, they maintain this mask by being mentally and emotionally abusive to others.
Someone who is acting in may abuse themselves the way they were abused, they may self harm or develop addictions. Many survivors of childhood trauma look for ways to avoid their emotions. They might develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), become workaholics, over or under eat.
Anxiety and Trauma
PTSD and CPTSD sufferers will become hyper aroused, they will always be on the lookout for danger, easily startled, they will suffer from brain fog and have difficulty concentrating. If we felt neglected as children or experience this hyper arousal for a long period of time it can lead to chronic anxiety. Anxiety is a natural response to danger, if you have never been able to let go of the traumatising event you will continue to experience anxiety symptoms. Learn more about anxiety in this blog post. People with trauma often experience phobias and social anxiety, I have found that once I have helped clients overcome their PTSD they are often able to let go of their phobias and reduce their overall anxiety levels too.
How Can Hypnosis Help PTSD?
Hypnosis has shown to be very effective for helping people overcome PTSD, I have a very popular recording on my YouTube channel. For trauma sufferers I usually use methods which detraumatise the memory, trauma sufferers are often very afraid of facing the traumatising event one of the good things about using hypnosis in the way I do is that there is no need to actually relive the memory. Using hypnosis I allow the sufferer to double dissociate from the memory so they can become desensitised to it and allow their mind to process it like any other memory.
After using hypnosis I will often ask the client to try and get back the feelings they had about the memory, to date I have not had one that can. Using visualisation I will help the clients see themselves the way they want to be in the old situations and rehearse new behaviours, visualisation has actually been shown to build new neural pathways in the brain. Many clients overcome PTSD in just one hypnosis session but we usually need additional sessions to help put them on track toward their goals.
How Can Hypnosis Help CPTSD?
With CPTSD and childhood trauma I use hypnosis a little differently to help clients, most CPTSD sufferers do have memories that stand out more than others for which I use the techniques mentioned above. Many have a lot of bad memories which can be desensitised on mass. CPTSD sufferers also have a lot of toxic shame and internalised abuse which can be addressed through inner child work, helping the sufferers to increase their self esteem, self worth and confidence. I recently gave a workshop for sufferers of CPTSD a recording of which can be found on YouTube.
How Much Does Hypnotherapy To Overcome Trauma Cost?
The cost of hypnotherapy to overcome trauma varies from person to person, for many of my trauma clients 3 sessions is enough to allow them to stop the flashbacks and overcome anxiety. Clients with CPTSD and a wounded inner child often experience fantastic results after 3 sessions but many require more. I have tried to create solutions that cater to all types of client and trauma survivors, one to one sessions with me are the most effective solution. If you would like to find out more about one to one hypnotherapy you can schedule a call with me here. I also have inner child courses and a Facebook group more information on them can be found here.