— Jane Mackenzie
Hypnotherapy for Trauma & PTSD
Can hypnotherapy help after traumatic events?
There are a range of Hypnotherapy processes that help with release of trauma, some of which are entirely content free so you never have to relive events. The way you react to deeply distressing or disturbing experiences, termed ‘trauma’, depends on many things, though has a long lasting impact on the mind and the body as the mind vows to protect you from similar events in the future, sometimes by over reacting to common stressors, distrusting incoming support and shutting down to life experiences. Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to help you relax and focus your attention. It is so very useful to be gently guided back into deep states of relaxation, as we cannot often do safely ourselves for fear of ‘going down the rabbit hole’ of unresourceful recollections.
What are the symptoms of PTSD and lasting trauma?
If you suffer with the after effects of deep trauma, you often feel on edge, in a state of unease or dread for no apparent reason. Others cannot console you with reassurances. Everyday occurrences may seem fraught with danger previously unperceived. You may experience flashbacks to events, or may not even be aware of the trauma event, though your mind and body put you in a state of high alert, to protect you from something that happened in the past. You may feel uncomfortable being alone or maybe you wish to be entirely alone, thinking yourself a burden. You may seek distraction at all costs or sink into a depressive state of inaction.
The important thing to recognise is that your reaction is personal to you and someone else will experience the same event differently. This painful guarded state WILL get better over time. This process can, however, be sped up dramatically by hypnotherapy.
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❛❛A close friend brought me to see Jennie and they had to drive me as I was terrified to travel anywhere alone. I was shaking as I sat there and didn’t even know why, and I couldn’t even talk, it was like my mind wouldn’t let me. Within minutes I was reclining back into the chair and felt like I was floating, I still cannot believe I held onto that stuff for so long.❜❜
- Steve, Walsall
Quick Tips for You
‘Grounding’ is reconnecting ourselves with the present moment, as it tells the body where you are in time and space, firmly rooted in the physical world. This can break the cycle of us ‘going down the rabbit hole’ into past hurt. We are giving the body new sensations to focus us which brings all parts of us back to now where we are safe. This is how to do it. Do one, two, or all of the following.
1. Cold Water
Run your hands and lower arms in cold water, feeling each splash as the water cascades over them.
2. Notice and name items around you.
Notice and name items around you, eg blue jumper, red pen, yellow shoe. Describe the item out loud, then pick up or touch each to discover if it feels the way you thought it would, eg hard, soft, textured, warm, cold. Tell yourself what you see and what you feel.
3. Deep Breathing
Put your hand on your stomach. Take a purposeful, fast, deep breath in and hold it, release forcibly, pushing your tummy out, then breathe deeply.
4. Use your tastebuds.
Eat something and really savour the taste, bringing your full attention to it. Or drink something tasty.
5. Do something physical.
Do something physical to shake off the built up energy, eg take a short walk, or run up some stairs.
6. Brush your hair or massage your head.
Comb or brush your hair, or gently scratch over your head, and do it deliberately and slowly, feeling the movement across your scalp and imagine each stroke clearing your mind.
7. Smell something.
If you have the right items nearby, grab them and smell a strong scent, like coffee, perfume, shower gel, etc.
8. Use ice.
You can hold a piece of ice for a strong physical sensation, or you can even chew on an ice cube to bring yourself back into your body.
9. Listen to music.
Play upbeat music and allow yourself to be immersed in a different vibe. Ensure you have your favourite, positive, empowering tracks always to hand. Listening to sad music is okay, since it can help us feel understood, but consider more empowering tracks if it starts to lower your mood.
10. Speak to someone.
Speak to someone, announcing that you just need to ‘vent’ so they don’t have to fix anything, they just have to be there for you. If you have no one to talk to, try talking aloud just to get things out your head, or scribble your thoughts down on paper. You can even rip it up afterwards.
Your mind brings things to your attention to be dealt with. When something is painful, we might choose to try and ignore its repercussions or pretend it hasn’t happened - or, we may keep telling the same narrative of the event over and over, adding more pain to each recollection. The past cannot be changed, but our reaction to it can. And the future is still yours to experience.
If you think it's time to be soothed and live free from these memories, we're right here and ready to help you. We'll get through it together.