The Silent Enemy - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hypnotherapy
Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Hypnotherapy - The Silent Enemy
is being increasingly used to help people suffering from Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder. When people suffer from PTSD their thought
processes, reactions, actions, behaviours and emotional responses
become conditioned to the trauma experience. For the healing process
to be effective it’s helpful to look at these thought processes
and negative behaviour patterns and retrain the brain. This is
basically what an hypnotherapist does on a daily basis. The infographic below describes the Silent Enemy and the effect it has worldwide. For more detailed information click The Silent Enemy PSTD
in the therapeutic arena hypnosis is now being frequently used with
trauma survivors because it is proving highly effective.
at these statistics fro the American Medical Association (AMA) which
has officially recognized hypnosis as a valuable and beneficial
treatment as applied and used since 1958. In “Psychotherapy”
magazine (Volume 7, Number 1), various types of techniques were
listed and profiled in a review of relevant literature by Alfred A.
Barrios, PhD. The techniques that proved to generate the greatest
success in providing lasting change were the following (listed in
order of success rate):
recovery after 6 sessions (approx. 1 1/2 months @ 1 session per
after 22 sessions (approx. 6 months @ 1 session per
recovery after 600 sessions (approx. 11 1/2 yrs @ 1 session per
week). For further information read the following article surrounding the link between Post-traumatic stress disorder and military veterans. The article comes with some excellent diagrams and statistics.
medical profession is embracing the use of hypnotherapy. In a
fascinating article by Quincy Walters for “The Oracle” - the
University of Florida magazine the author describes a fascinating
account of how Doctor Shenefelt from the James A Haley Veterans'
hospital uses hypnotherapy.
PhilipShenefelt, a professor at USF College of Medicine’s
department of dermatology and a dermatologist at the James A. Haley
Veterans’ hospital, sometimes uses an unconventional method to
treat ailments ranging from uncontrolled chronic pain to weakened
immune systems that make it hard for warts to go away: hypnosis.
the technique is not quite the dangling of a locket in front of
someone’s eyes that one may imagine.
brain has four main states of consciousness: alert/awake, trance,
dream and deep sleep,Shenefelt said. The trance state — or the
state one may experience after reading a book or watching a movie and
then realizing they can’t recall what they just saw — can be used
to help facilitate hypnosis and treat several medical conditions.
are misperceptions based on movies about the hypnotist controlling
the person being hypnotiszed,”Shenefeltsaid. “It’s not a valid
thing that happens with hypnosis. The term hypnosis has almost a
pejorative scent to it.”
a teenager growing up in Wisconsin in the 1960s, Shenefelt said he
“had a curiosity” about meditation and hypnosis, and obtained
several self-help books on both topics, but it wasn’t until the
1990s — a little more than two decades after graduating from
medical school — that Shenefelt had the opportunity to learn the
technique at a workshop held by the American Society of Clinical
conducted in an exam room, each hypnosis session lasts approximately
entering the trance state, Shenefelt said patients usually hear the
experience something where you will still be aware. And you will
still have control, but your conscious will not—it will be set
aside—and your subconscious will be in control. You can come out of
trance at any time.”
the way, Shenefelt will help the person learn self-hypnosis.
an eye roll technique that usually induces hypnosis in about a minute
or less,” he said. “It requires some homework on the part of the
person. The person needs to be motivated to allow hypnosis to give
them their full effect.”
said he doesn’t use hypnosis as the first option, and sometimes
hypnosis doesn’t work for all patients.
use conventional treatments first,” he said. “If the conventional
treatments don’t do enough then I consider an alternative treatment
such as hypnosis. There are some people that get no benefit,” he
said. “There are some that get tremendous benefit, and most people
are in between.”
hypnotherapy has been deemed the appropriate treatment option, he
said, the therapy has to be conducted over the course of multiple
you don’t rewire the nervous system with one session,” Shenefelt
said. “It typically takes 30 to 40 times to change a habit or
patients vary in terms of age and ailment.
see an age range in my clinic of infants to people in their 90s,”
long as the patient has the ability to understand language, they have
the ability to be hypnotised, he said.
Eleanor Laser, a psychologist in Chicago, also utilizes hypnosis with
her patients. She met Shenefelt at an American Society of Clinical
Hypnosis conference a few years ago.
they now co-present hypnosis workshops at conventions.
Laser and Shenefelt practice in different fields of medicine, both
experience cases that coincide.
years ago, Laser used hypnosis to help a patient break his smoking
habit. Last year, she received a call from the same patient. He was
experiencing a debilitating, prickly sensation in his feet; it was so
bad, he couldn’t work. In an attempt to relieve the pain, he stood
for hours in a bathtub filled with cold water and ice.
went to multiple doctors, here in Chicago,” Laser said. “But no
one could help him.”
then met laser and mentally took her back to a recent vacation to the
Dominican Republic. His mind took him to a specific restaurant, and
he saw the menu.
asked him to point to the item he ordered on the menu,” she said.
“He ate the grouper.”
she said, swim near a red coral reef that emits toxic poison that the
can’t cook it away.”
diagnosed him with ciguatera, a foodborne illness. Laser called
Shenefelt to tell him about the case
didn’t believe her at first, she said.
she knew the problem, she was able to successfully use hypnosis to
relieve the man of his symptoms.
used a form of hypnosis called memory regression.
purpose is to help the patient realize when the symptoms first
manifested, and locate the origin on their body.
us back to where it originally started,” she tells her patients.
finding the memory, she said she has the ability to “neutralize the
memory and eliminate the symptoms.”
doctors co-authored and published a case study about the ciguatera
diagnosis, and the successful hypnosis treatment.
will be presented this March in San Diego at the national American
Society of Clinical Hypnosis conference.
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