Dealing with trauma through hypnotherapy
Trauma has a profound impact on an individual's mental and emotional well-being, often leaving lasting scars that can be challenging to overcome. Coping with trauma requires a holistic approach that addresses both the conscious and unconscious mind.
Hypnotherapy is an effective therapeutic technique in this regard. This article explores the intersection of hypnotherapy and coping strategies for dealing with trauma, shedding light on how this complementary therapy can empower you on your journey to healing.
Trauma manifests in various forms, including physical, emotional, or psychological experiences that overwhelm people’s ability to cope. Whether it's a single distressing event or prolonged exposure to stress, trauma can leave a lasting imprint on your mind, affecting your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. It’s important to note that trauma is not what happened to you but what happened inside of you when something happened to you. We all see the world through different lenses so what affects one person may not affect another.
The role of hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that leverages the power of suggestion and focused attention to induce a state of hypnosis to access deeper parts of your mind. This state of consciousness will help you explore and address your trauma to facilitate healing from within. As a hypnotherapist, it is not always the story that I seek to find. The intention is to process the trauma, aligning your mind and body whilst helping you let go of any buried emotion that affects you today.
In the wonderful book, The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, he mentions hypnosis. Describing the experience of World War I soldiers in the documentary Let There Be Light (1946) he says, “The trance state induced by hypnosis allowed them to find words for the things they had been too afraid to remember: their terror, their survivor’s guilt, and their conflicting loyalties. It also struck me that these soldiers seemed to keep a much tighter lid on their anger and hostility than the younger veterans I’d worked with.”
Hypnosis helps you to feel a calm tranquillity in which you can observe your trauma without it feeling overwhelming. This helps to integrate the traumatic memories and release the feelings to remove the symptoms of trauma without brushing aside your story.
Hypnotherapy often involves regression techniques, if your hypnotherapist works with regression, they will guide you back to the origin of your trauma. By revisiting past experiences in a controlled and supportive environment, you can gain insights into the root causes of their distress and work towards realigning, reintegrating, and letting go.
Not all hypnotherapists believe this is the best way to work. There is the risk of re-traumatising. It is therefore important to work with someone who has experience in this way of working with trauma. Your hypnotherapist should know they do not need your story. The purpose of this type of work is to fit pieces of a puzzle together and release stuck emotions. You may feel you need and want to retell your story, and this is your therapy therefore necessary. However, this is not necessary for the hypnotherapist, and they do not need to force you to do so.
Positive affirmations and visualisation
Hypnotherapy will help you replace negative thought patterns with positive affirmations. Through guided visualisation, you can create mental images of a safe and empowering future, fostering a sense of control and resilience. Trauma is usually the result of a situation in which you felt out of control. When you use hypnotherapy to feel in control of your life today everything feels steadier and more stable.
Hypnosis helps you to feel a calm tranquillity in which you can observe your trauma without it feeling overwhelming.
Reframing and cognitive restructuring
Hypnotherapy assists in reframing traumatic memories, altering the way your mind perceives and stores them. This process contributes to a more adaptive and positive interpretation of past events, reducing the emotional charge associated with the trauma. The intention of your hypnotherapist is not to change you or rewrite your history. Your story is part of you and the process helps you to understand how your past affects you today and to let go of any destructive behaviours and strengthen the positive.
Building resilience and coping skills
Hypnotherapy sessions often focus on enhancing coping skills and building resilience. By accessing deeper parts of your mind, your therapist can help you develop a healthier response to stressors, empowering you to navigate future challenges more effectively.
Self-compassion and forgiveness
Addressing trauma through hypnotherapy provides you with the platform to cultivate self-compassion and forgiveness. Guided by your therapist, you can release feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame, fostering a more compassionate relationship with yourself.
Hypnotherapy offers a unique and powerful avenue for coping with trauma by addressing the underlying issues and suppressed emotions. The integration of various coping strategies within hypnotherapy sessions will empower you to reclaim control over your life, fostering healing and resilience. As our understanding of trauma continues to evolve, embracing complementary therapeutic approaches like hypnotherapy becomes crucial in providing comprehensive and personalised care for those on the path to recovery.