Of the services called out on this site, trauma is probably the most subjective. There are scales to rate trauma based on subjective criteria: “How do you feel?” There are also scales that attempt to quantify trauma based on physical measurements like blood pressure, heart rate and the like. Of course, what makes trauma subjective is that people experiencing the same event can have widely varying reactions to that event. Some people seem to have an amazing capacity to absorb the impacts of trauma, while it takes very little to overload others. There’s no “right” or “wrong” to this. We ALL experience some degree of trauma in life, but even our capacity to cope may vary with time. Sometimes we don’t think we are traumatized, or we feel we shouldn’t be, but we are just the same.
Determining whether you are experiencing the aftermath of trauma is a subjective matter. Seeking the perspective of a friend or a professional can be extremely valuable. They have the ability to articulate things in a way that enables you to recognize aspects that you might not have noticed before. Simply put, if you feel traumatized, you probably are. There’s no “shouldn’t be” about it, though that is a natural pattern to fall into.
Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. A traumatic event involves one’s experience, or repeating events of being overwhelmed that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences.
However, trauma differs between individuals, according to their subjective experiences. People will react to similar events differently. In other words, not all people who experience a potentially traumatic event will actually become psychologically traumatized. This discrepancy in risk rate can be attributed to protective factors some individuals may have that enable them to cope with trauma. Some examples are mild exposure to stress early in life, resilience characteristics, and active seeking of help.
Hypnosis is uniquely suited for dealing with the after-effects of trauma, often without having to relive the trauma as is done with other counseling methods. In general, hypnotherapy is more concerned with modifying how you react in the present time than what happened in the past. Observing an event from a safe distance is a helpful approach for desensitizing a person to soften the memory and create emotional distance. It is important to avoid reliving the event in order to achieve this.
For individuals diagnosed with PTSD, it is crucial and ethical to obtain consent from a mental health provider before working together. Luckily, the majority of mental health professionals are open to the concept of integrating hypnosis into the treatment plan, and they are more than happy to offer a referral. I am certified in using hypnosis to help deal with the after-effects of trauma, as well as with PTSD. Please see my “credentials” page for more information.
When you are ready to try hypnotherapy, contact me and let’s discuss your situation. There is hope.