Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly found among those that have experienced extreme emotional trauma, war, sexual assault, injury, near-death episodes, accidents or natural disasters. It has been suggested that hypnosis may help prevent or reduce the dissociation following exposure to a traumatic event, which has been found to be a major risk factor for the development of PTSD, reduce symptoms of anxiety and help people get in touch with memories and feelings associated with their traumatic experience.
Doctors do not know why traumatic events cause PTSD in some people but not in others. Our genes, emotions and family setting may all play roles. Past emotional trauma may also increase risk of PTSD after a traumatic event. With PTSD, the body’s response to a stressful event is changed. Normally, the body recovers after the event and the stress hormones and chemicals the body releases due to the stress go back to normal levels. For some reason, in a person with PTSD, the body keeps releasing the stress hormones and chemicals.
One study found that hypnotherapy on its own was at least as successful as some other treatments for PTSD, including psycho-dynamic psychotherapy. Another study found that hypnosis, added to standard cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD, may be effective on its own in improving symptoms up to two years following treatment.
Each hypnotic stress reduction session varies, because each client’s needs are individual. A fire chief of 20 years and a police officer of 17 years have been coming to the New Jersey Healing Center regularly for hypnosis and deep mind/body relaxation technique after Superstorm Sandy. Both were in charge of assisting fellow officers caught in two crushed rescue cars from a large oak tree. After the first session, the body remembers how to let go and the relaxant hormones dopamine and serotonin begin to release, as in meditation, leaving the client with an inner sense of peace. Daily practice is essential to shift PTSD and the dark looming cloud so many clients feel.
A healthcare provider may give patients a mental health exam, physical exam and blood tests to look for other illnesses that are similar to PTSD. Treatment involves talk therapy (counseling), medicines or both. During talk therapy, patients talk with mental health professionals such as psychiatrists or therapists, in a calm and accepting setting. They can help people manage their PTSD symptoms and will guide them through their feelings about the trauma.
The Healing Center is located at 132 Main St., in Bloomingdale, NJ. For more information, call 973-714-0765 or visit NJHealingCenter.com.
Published on September 6th, 2013 | by Lindsey Sass in the Natural Awakenings Magazine Bergen/Passaic Counties New Jersey