Part 1 – Pain and Trauma
It’s been on my mind for a while to write this article about how hypnosis can help those suffering from severe trauma and stress disorders like PTSD, OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, depression and grief. The trauma that I work with in my hypnotherapy practice is both mental and physical. I help men and women and of course, children who have experienced alarming trauma such as child abuse, war and other disasters. The trauma may have been in the past but is haunting their current day to day life.
I will be writing a series of articles on healing with hypnosis. This is part 1 of the series focusing on trauma and pain management.
Quick Facts About Clinical Hypnotherapy for Trauma
- It is very specialized and demands specialized education and experience.
- My formal education is in psychology and have dedicated over 15 years of experience and continuing education in clinical hypnotherapy. Working with the Veterans Affairs in NY, I worked one on one with patients with PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- People suffering from traumas are extremely vulnerable to the misinterpretation of the subconscious minds record of past events.
- Healing trauma takes time. Each person takes a different length of time to heal.
- Healing trauma is successful when the hypnotherapist takes his time to understand and address the root cause of the trauma. This takes patience, practice and awareness.
It is essential that the hypnotherapist is well-trained in all aspects of hypnotherapy, the mind and psychology. It is important that the hypnotherapist knows many techniques to address different people, cultures, personalities and belief systems. Each of these plays an essential role in the healing process. The tools used for hypnotherapy must be mastered and the hypnotherapist to be proficient in choosing which techniques to use. This assures that the client is receiving the best help possible.
One important thing to address is that if the client has never experienced hypnosis before, then it is essential for them to have an introductory single session. In this introductory session the client will learn basic relaxation skills to prepare for the work in the following therapy sessions.
Hypnotherapy is not magic it is a tool to create change.
Hypnosis Relieves Physical & Emotional Pain
For hundreds of years hypnosis has been a tool to relieve those experiencing various degrees of pain. Pain is an alert to the body that something is wrong. It’s our body’s way of telling us there is an infection, wound or allergic response. Emotional pain can also be experienced in response to a situation. When a well-trained and experienced hypnotherapist carefully implements the tools of hypnosis, pain can be comforted.
How Hypnosis Helps with Pain
With hypnosis we teach you how to use your mind to put distance between you and the pain you are experiencing. The pain can be acute, chronic, neurological, phantom, or any other type of pain. This is called dissociation. Hypnosis doesn’t cause the pain to disappear, it helps you step away from it. Patients who dissociate their pain often say it “it’s like it just doesn’t matter anymore” or “it just doesn’t bother me.” With this method of hypnosis, you can go on living your life easier.
With hypnosis we bypass the conscious mind and work with the subconscious mind. Asking the right questions, exploring past events, beliefs and perceptions helps us understand the origin of the pain. When addressing the origin of the pain we can often make the pain disappear. This method of hypnosis is especially helpful in cases where the patient has unexplained pain.
Pain is Emotion
There is a close relationship between the mind and the body. When pain occurs, we react emotionally. We create a perception of the pain that effects our mind-body collaboration. In our mind we process pain as emotion, thoughts, perceptions and senses. Emotion is simply a thought moving through the body. The way our mind records and process events is always reflected in our physical body. The same goes for our mind. What happens physically to the body is always verified in the mind.
The Hypnotherapists Role
Because the mind-body has many layers with different beliefs memories and perceptions, heavy emotions may be present. For this reason, the hypnotherapist needs to be skilled and well-practiced to prevent further stressing of the patient.
Hypnotherapy is a highly effective tool when used carefully. The less the hypnotherapist says, the more he helps the patient. The patient must find his own answers with the professional guidance of the hypnotherapist. The patient must know his own strength to give him the sense of self-sufficiency and confidence.
The hypnotherapist helps the patient’s subconscious mind and physical body work together. Once this is accomplished the tools of healing imagery and positive programming is applied.
A simple example of a healing visualization and positive programming may be:
“As your body’s immune defenses become stronger and stronger, you know that you are healthy, protected and safe. More and more now you direct healing energy to your body. You sense the light repairing your body. You are full of vital energy and you easily restore your body. Strength returns quickly to your body. Your appetite improves and you sleep easily through the night. As you heal your body all feelings of anxiety lift and float away from you. You know you are important, you are getting healthier and it feels wonderful.”
The Patients Role in Healing
The patient must be open and willing and want hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy cannot be forced upon another person. Many people come to me asking for help with family members, lovers or friends. However, healing can only take place when the patient willingly participates in the hypnotherapeutic process. They must really want to heal. They must be ready for hypnotherapy and willing to learn how to accept and learn the process. As we live our lives according to free will, the patient needs to approach the help of a hypnotherapist on his own.
Emotional Pain Expressed in the Body
The most common expression of emotional pain is anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks occur from a buildup of anxiety. Often people don’t even know where the panic attacks come from. The panic attack will just start happening for what seems to be no reason. But there is always a reason.
Hypnosis can help a person by having them connect to the origin of the panic and anxiety. With hypnosis the patient can turn inwards to the subconscious mind to find answers. Hypnosis also helps calm the patient so they can become healthier, move on with life and find balance and peace.
In my 15 years of practice I have discovered that physical pain is the easiest pain to relieve using hypnotherapy. This is because there is always a cause to the physical pain. Once I can help the patient find the cause of the pain, I guide him to focus his attention on the cause. The cause can be a physical injury, allergies, the effects of surgery, or the body breaking down from age or abuse.
I regularly have patients visit me with tears in their eyes because they are being told that there is no reason for their pain. Medical professionals are telling my patients to simply “get over it” or that “it’s all in your head.” This is an outrage as pain is real in every case and it should never be dismissed. This is happening because some medical professionals have forgotten that physical pain can stem from emotion. Because of this, the pain is all too often dismissed. We need to always remember the mind-body connection.
Flashbacks and Pain
A flashback is when your mind jumps back in time to a specific event you have experienced. The event can feel real, like you are re-living the experience over again. Often my patients say they are unable to escape the flashback and feel stuck in the experience.
Flashbacks directly connect to our subconscious perceptions and emotions and can cause emotional and physical pain in the body.
With hypnosis you work with the subconscious mind to activate a code word. This allows you to easily escape any terrifying flashbacks in an instant. You quickly return to your present reality and can calm down and continue with life.
When the patient is ready, I have them explore the flashbacks to see how they can overcome the negative feelings and perceptions associated with them. This allows the flashbacks to stop occurring all together, which is our main goal.
Pain is a real experience no matter who tells you otherwise. If you are feeling pain, I believe you and I believe there is a cause to that pain. Sometimes that cause cannot be found in a blood or imaging test. However, the cause can always be found buried deep inside the mind. Sometimes that pain cannot be calmed with medication but can with focus and attention. Hypnotherapy can help you uncover the true cause of your pain and help you manage it so you can live life free and happy. I invite you to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to schedule a free consultation so we can see if hypnotherapy is the right option for you.
In part 2 of Healing with Hypnosis I’ll address how hypnosis helps those suffering from stress and sleep disorders.