Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder. If a person is exposed to a traumatic event (or events) that critically endangers or injures them, they may go on to develop PTSD. It can be a deeply disturbing condition to live with; however therapy is proven to make a real difference to PTSD sufferers.
Here’s a bit of background about PTSD, and how hypnotherapy helped my client.
What is PTSD?
PTSD was recognised as a condition in 1980; and although it’s often associated with military veterans, it’s actually an anxiety disorder that affects individuals in all walks of life.
Violence, sexual violence, serious accidents, terrorism, and natural disasters can all cause PTSD. Crucially, you don’t actually have to be the victim yourself to develop PTSD: witnesses, close friends, relatives, and emergency service staff have all experienced PTSD from events they’ve seen.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
It’s perfectly normal to feel disturbed after a trauma. However, the NHS recommends that you seek help if you’re still experiencing symptoms four weeks after the trigger event.
Symptoms can include insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, depression and hyper-vigilance (always feeling on edge). Some people experience physical symptoms (such as tummy aches and headaches), or exhibit destructive behaviour, for example drinking too much.
The good news is that therapy really makes a difference, even if the traumatic event occurred a while ago. Here’s how hypnotherapy helped one of my clients overcome PTSD.
Managing PTSD through hypnotherapy: a case study
My client had experienced a “near-miss” accident at work, and came very close to being killed. After a year off work, he was still experiencing daily flashbacks, and his feelings of anxiety made social interaction hard for him. Then, his organisation gave him an ultimatum: return to work, or leave your employment.
He came to me at that point; and it soon became clear that as well as returning to work, he wanted to return to the normal family life he’d had before the incident. He wanted to be “present in mind as well as body” when he was with his young children, and needed to feel he could talk to his wife without upsetting her.
Specific visualisation techniques
We worked together with various techniques, including the solution focused hypnotherapy approach of visualising a positive future and working towards it.
We also used specific hypnosis techniques to address the traumatic event. This involves taking control of the flashbacks by running them as disassociated video clips in your own mind. Imagine you’re playing with a remote control, rewinding and fast-forwarding: sped up or run backwards, on an imaginary screen, events soon lose their impact with the repetition. We added a silly soundtrack, and replaced individuals with cartoon characters.
This may sound a rather quirky approach; however this is a proven NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) technique that allows you to reframe a distressing event and remove its power.
A happy outcome
My client went back to work, and agreed a phased return with his employers. He also negotiated a generous compensation payment, which he had previously been too distressed to do.
His family and social lives improved – and he even started flying lessons, a long-held ambition! A great achievement for my client after just six sessions.
You can treat PTSD
I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic, and an Anxiety UK approved therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you recognise any of the PTSD symptoms or have been diagnosed by your GP, please contact me for a confidential chat. We can make this better.