Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a recognised psychiatric disorder that can occur subsequent to a major traumatic event. Characteristic symptoms comprise of re-experiencing phenomena such as nightmares and recurrent distressing thoughts of the event, avoidance and numbing of general responsiveness such as trying not to talk about or be reminded of the traumatic event, experiencing detachment and estrangement from other people and hyperarousal symptoms including sleep disturbance, increased irritability and hypervigilance. PTSD is a relatively common condition. The National Co-morbidity Survey (Kessler, 1995) found that 7.8% of 5,877 American adults had suffered from PTSD at some time in their lives. When data were examined from individuals who had been exposed to a traumatic event rates of PTSD varied according to type of stressor. For example, physical assaults amongst women led to a lifetime prevalence of 29% and combat experience amongst men to a lifetime prevalence of 39%. It is apparent that PTSD causes much suffering and that developing effective interventions is important.
Hypnotherapy, in a large part, deals with unlocking the subconscious mind. We must emphasize here that the main tools of the conscious mind are rational thinking, analyzing and judging. In contrast, the gifts of the subconscious mind are all located within our senses. The subconscious mind is a huge sensory vehicle consisting of the ability to experience our world through our senses: sounds, smells, tastes, visuals or pictures, and/or feelings. One way to locate what is stored in our subconscious in order to help an individual suffering from PTSD is to understand what the PTSD triggers actually are.
Trigger events can be very disconcerting for any victim of PTSD who does not either know they have PTSD, or are unfamiliar with their own particular triggers. PTSD often goes undiagnosed by the medical profession and even in the psychological community. Hypnotherapy and the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD is an evidence-based treatment and can effectively treat the symptoms as well as the underlying causes.