Whether you were directly involved in a traumatic event or maybe simply exposed to it after the fact, there are very effective steps available today that you can take to recover your emotional equilibrium and regain the essential control necessary in your life. Here’s where advanced techniques in Hypnotherapy come in. But choosing the right Hypnotherapist with the necessary skills is vital when setting out to seek help
Trauma & PTSD
The Childhood link and the roll of Hypnotherapy as an effective treatment.
But firstly, what is traumatic stress? And how is it manifested?
To better understand traumatic stress, we have to firstly go back to our childhood, because that is where most, if not all of our reactions and responses first begin as subconscious programs downloaded from our environment within the first 7 years of our lives.
In actuality, high level stress brought on by exposure to traumatic events is quite a normal reaction to have and is directly related to our survival as a species. Without it we simply wouldn’t have evolved. Evolutionary it served us better when we needed to escape from a sabre tooth tiger but, in today’s more modern society we face very different types of threats. Traumatic events and or experiences can be frightfully harrowing to endure and can oftentimes leave the sufferer notably shaken, we only have to look at sustained childhood trauma/abuse for example, whether physical, emotional or both.
The repeated exposure to a particular, uncontrollable situation or event in which the child feels completely overwhelmed and has utterly no control over what is happening. Either to them or around them, creating therefore an extreme and unusually higher level of stress anxiety than normal for the child, who’s first attempt in that very moment is to look for the necessary and adequate responses to the situation itself. It is at this very point evolution kicks in.
But more modern examples can just as easily trigger this. Such as the child growing up in an unstable and volatile home, fractured relationships of the parents, living in an unsafe home environment, repeated exposure to hostilities within the home or in fact any environment where the child feels overwhelmed or threatened.
This effectively hard wires the child’s neuro-chemical responses to react to situations like these from that moment on in life. These new learned responses to stressful situations and trauma are now unconsciously downloaded and hardwired into the mind of that child and are now called upon to become the unconscious minds very first selected responses to help that child cope with in similar stressful event or situation from that moment on in his/her life, whether the event is real or just imagined.
Then, this can be even further compounded if the child continued through school and [for example] experiences bullying of any kind, compounding those types of experiences again repeatedly over time leading children to go on to excessively stress and worry even more, by the time it comes to learning in school about such things as natural disasters, death, motor vehicle accidents earthquakes, volcanoes, plane crashes, violent crime, or terrorist attacks the subconscious mental and emotional response trend is already set.
The emotional toll from any such traumatic event can now seem to easily trigger intense, confusing, and frightening emotions subconsciously as the child is now predisposed to growing up to become a very highly anxious adult. Also these emotions are not limited to the people who personally experienced the event they are equally as traumatic to those who witness trauma.
As children and adults we are continuously bombarded with round-the-clock news coverage of global events unfolding in real time especially with the advent of the internet and social media which means that we are all bombarded with the horrific images from natural disasters, violent crimes, and terrorist attacks almost the instant they occur anywhere in the world. Repeated exposure can very easily trigger and completely overwhelm the trauma victim’s sympathetic nervous system, which by now is more [acutely tuned] than average, also begins stimulating the neuro chemistry within the brain as the subconscious mind very swiftly remembers how it responded to past childhood trauma, immediately creating the intense traumatic stress responses it learned back as early as those first 7 years.
So let’s fast forward 25/30 years as the child now has become the adult. Usually by now the adult is experiencing the classical physical response to which ever event they are now going through. All sense of security seems shattered, coupled with the feeling of helplessness and feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable in a dangerous or precarious situation, especially if the adult is a member of any professional frontline service like an emergency paramedic or Gardai or in any highly stressful work environment, whether the event was man made or just a tragic accident, an act of terrorism. Post trauma is usually the result of multiple stressing factors compounded over time.
But whether you lived through the event itself, witnessed it in person, or experienced traumatic stress in the aftermath, there are plenty of ways to calm your nervous system and regain your emotional balance. The first step is to recognize the warning signs of traumatic stress.
Traumatic stress signs and symptoms and the roll Hypnotherapy can play when it comes to seeking to resolve PTS-D
Whether or not the traumatic event directly impacted you, it’s normal to feel fearful, highly anxious, scared stiff, and uncertain about what the future may hold.
The sympathetic nervous system has become completely overwhelmed by stress, triggering a much wide range of intense emotions and physical reactions than you need in that moment. These reactions to traumatic stress often come and go in waves. There may be times when you feel jumpy or jittery feeling very anxious for no apparent reason, this is when the cause of that feeling is more likely to be buried a little deeper within the mind and may not be available to the conscious mind at all – and times like this when you feel totally disconnected and numb. Other normal emotional responses to traumatic events include:
Shock and disbelief –you may have a hard time accepting the reality of what happened – given its magnitude.
Fear – that the same thing will happen again, or that you’ll lose control or break down and begin to become even more afraid.
Sadness – particularly if people you know died – your reaction to loss of a significant person from your life.
Helplessness – being susceptible to the all of a sudden unpredictable nature of volatile situations, accidents, or natural
disasters leaving you feeling extremely vulnerable and totally helpless.
Guilt – that you survived when others haven’t, or that you could have done more to help a person or situation but didn’t.
Anger – you may be angry at someone who has hurt you or others. you feel uncontrollable anger as a frequent responsible.
Shame – especially when it comes to feelings of fears you can’t control
False sense of relief – you may sometimes feel relieved that the worst is over, and even hopeful that your life will return to normal, but your fear of impending doom always seems to kick back in quite quickly.
The physical symptoms of traumatic stress can include:
- Trembling or shaking
- Pounding heart
- Rapid breathing
- Lump in throat; feeling choked up
- Stomach tightening or churning
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Cold sweats
- Racing thoughts
When is it the right time to explore the idea of Clinical Hypnotherapy as a treatment option to help resolving traumatic stress?
Foremost at Advance Hypnosis we would always state that its is vitally important to firstly visit your family GP or your healthcare professional or team so as to be satisfied they have ruled out any obvious physical or medical explanation for your symptoms.
Following this vital first step should you wish go on further from that point, to source the right hypnotherapist for you.
A professional and accredited clinical hypnotherapist with extensive experience in successful trauma resolution, one who specialises in the area of complex resolution, one who may have already gained the recognition and regard of both the Doctors or Hospitals in his or her area. Fact is that hypnotherapy has to be an incredible experience – it must be easy to engage with and leave a lasting and profound benefit to anyone who withes to explore it.
A responsible and ethical, accredited clinical hypnotherapy practitioner will always be able to assess whether or not you may need additional help or further assistance from a designated mental health professional.
A responsible and ethical, accredited clinical hypnotherapy practitioner will never advice or suggest that you should make any changes to any medication or healthcare routine prescribed by your Doctor/Consultant, without their guidance and supervision.
Accredited clinical hypnotherapy is a far cry from stage hypnosis, or the comedy hypnosis show and a very clear distinction should always be made in relation to the two.
Wayne P Hennessy CHt GQHP
Senior Clinical Hypnotherapist
Advance Hypnosis Navan Clinic.
Director of Advance Hypnosis National Clinics Network.