Trauma treatment

Since the beginning of time people have been tormented by states of nightmare producing the feeling of irreparable loss, and the feeling of fear and horror. Neurologists and psychiatrists all over the world have specified the posttraumatic state as a past life matter, and as a sudden and repeating feeling of helpessness. An immense number of traumatized people have great difficulties giving a more explicit formulation of what has taken place. Often they live through sensory elements of the traumatic experience without being capable of making sense of what they feel or look for. The mysterious combination of recalling feelings and at the same time forgetting the origin and the content , is named repression or dissociation

Covered amnesia or imminent events was initially considered as an outcome of paralising fear
rising from the threat of death. The loss of memory is not only met with an insufficiant ability to recall the detailed incident , but rather an absence of persistent mental activity and to stick to an appointment. These people have difficulties with attention and are easily exhausted. Memories are inextricably bound up with one`s sense of oneself, and when the fear and the horror attached to the trauma interferes with a verbal and well defined memory of the event, people loose themselves, feel helpless, and begin to search for understanding from the surroundings.

When people improve PTSD the repetition of the trauma results in an uneasy feeling. For those where the traumatic incident is attached to social and interhuman processes, secondary biological consequences will increase that are hard to reverse. Because these people suffer from an intolerable state, they are inclined to evade everything that remind them of the trauma. As a result of that they become addicted to drugs, narcotics or alcohol, in order to
make the feelings disappear, because they have lost the belief that they can learn to tolerate these feelings without the support of the outside world. The fear of being eaten by these “cruel” feelings, leads them to believe that not knowing them will make them disappear.

What is felt stays unchanged or increases as an inner pressure that forces people to strengthen
their escaping behavior. Suppressed emotions call for attention from their shadow existence. Treatment with hypnosis implies to shape these inconsistant feelings by connecting them carefully so that the pasient can start to tolerate the state that previously overwhelmed them.

The first part of the treatment is the idea of the incident where the trauma took place. The other part is the idea that is attached to the traumatic event. Particularly the ones that arise in the childhood. Among such examples can be mentioned nature disasters, war experiences, and social traumas like kidnapping and rape. Symptoms resulting from these disorders are often linked to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We seem to deal with a syndrome that affects all aspects of a person life, at a somatic, mental and intellectual level. The posttraumatic syndrome is triggered by a sudden threat of loss of life, or harm as a result of a state helpessness.
The neurophysiological alterations triggered from these events, is somehow stored in the memory ot the persons subconsciousness in a self-reinforcing manner mixed with other such experiences, and results in a vulnerability. Peter Levin (1) has observed that people in contrast to animals - perhaps because of highly developed cognitive brain centers - seem to suppress instinctive behaviors, and that the storage of abnormally intense conditions leads to an overload of various brain centers leading to traumatization.

Although we have accepted that a state of emotional stress seems to break down the body for a long time, the relatively rigid medical method of medical science has allowed us to blind ourselves to the underlying somatic manifestations of the emotional stress. Due to the lack of sophisticated scientific methods, the early pioneers of medicine have been based solely on observation, and the diagnosis are solely based on history and physical examination alone. The result has been a manifestation of a mind/body relationship rather than a mind/ brain/ body continuum. Since then, we have found out – including through hypnosis – that changing a threat of the unknown, by informing and educating the patient, changes the body`s stress relationship and accelerates healing.

Giving the patient a rational and comprehensive explanation of their symptoms is strong medicine. The obvious relief experienced by the patient through the hypnosis, the gratitude expressed, and the rapid response to the treatment resulting from detailed and thorough training, is an impressive process.

Sources:

(1) Levin, P.: Waking the Tiger, Berkeley, CA.: North Atlantic Press, 1997