Someone once asked me if a traumatic incident could be resolved by inducing amnesia through hypnosis…
The mind is capable of anything so I would say it is possible to some degree, but not through hypnosis. I say it is ineffective because of the following thought process. The mind already attempts to do this through repression and it is often quite successful. Sadly, even though the memory is repressed the victim is still being victimized by it. The problem lies deep in the brain while certain triggers will still continue to elicit a reaction at some level. The victim who does not remember the trauma continues to react to triggered subconscious perceptions of imminent danger even though they are or may be inappropriate responses. If the trauma were successfully “forgotten” it would still be there and the subconscious would still be in need of defending against another occurrence. So, in the end, the problem is still unresolved.
The ultimate goal for a person who has experienced traumatization is not simply repression of the memory, which will allow it to resurface even without an overt recollection of the experience, but for genuine healing and resolution. With hypnosis, an individual can quietly and from a distance process the trauma, integrate it, make sense of it, and determine how to regain power over it and one’s own life. The individual can begin to move forward in a healthy manner. Most clients attempt to process trauma through talk therapy. Talk therapy can be effective if prolonged systematic desensitization is used but the client has to relive the trauma over and over again. This can be extremely difficult and painful. For some individuals, this approach is not even possible because of the way our brains bypass our narrative encoding systems during traumatic flight/fight/freeze situations. For some individuals, there is essentially no coherent story to tell. Through the use of hypnosis, the client does not have to talk about the trauma and can process it from afar in a very relaxed comfortable state. In fact, in most situations, it is not necessary for the provider to ever hear what the trauma actually was. There is also a much shorter treatment time when compared to traditional talk therapy.
Unfortunately, many people have experienced traumas that they were unable to process in a healthy manner at the time. There may be numerous reasons for this, such as the inexperience of youth, the need for survival, or even fear. Then months, years, or even decades later the traumatic event continues to haunt them and often manifests as anger, depression, physical pain, insomnia, or other maladaptive behaviors.
Maladaptive behaviors from previous trauma also affect everyone around the victim including their children, spouse, significant others, parents, extended family, work colleagues, and friends. The traumatic event as it lies in the subconscious ego state has to be resolved in a manner that changes the emotional reactions about the past into something that no longer traumatizes the victim so she/he can let the pain go and move on to a more fulfilling life.
If you or a loved one lives with the trauma of sexual abuse, physical abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Combat Stress Disorder (CSD), Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), auto accident, murder, rape or any other type of traumatic experience you may be a candidate for our single session trauma resolution therapy.
Trauma, Stress, and Health
Numerous studies have found that trauma has negative effects on physical health. People who are exposed to traumatic events may be at increased risk not only for posttraumatic stress disorder but also major depression, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance abuse. They may also have physical illnesses, including hypertension, asthma, and chronic pain syndromes (Yehuda, 2002). One study found that adults who reported traumatic experiences as children had higher rates of serious medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and chronic lung disease (Felitti et al., 1998).