Trauma Treatment at Sunshine Coast Health Centre (Part 3): Hypnotherapy
Has Something Traumatic Happened?
Lingering mental anguish can easily be cited as the reason why we aren’t thriving in our day to day lives. Having to constantly battle an onslaught of negative and distressing mental images or disordered thoughts can be exhausting at its easiest. For many people, it is a battle that just cannot be fought day in and day out without relief. The more traumatic the event, or the more events that occur back to back, the harder it might be to heal. For some people it seems natural to dissociate, you may check out mentally and let the world pass by so that the everyday tasks no longer influence or add to the chronic distress in your mind. Others use substances (alcohol or drugs) or activities (gambling/gaming, sex, etc.) to keep these distressed thoughts muted so that an individual can get through the day to day tasks without being wholly overwhelmed. Many individuals struggling with trauma experience dissociation and rely on substances to get them through their everyday life. However, if we are honest these strategies don’t actually help us heal they just mask our pain and suffering.
It’s like choosing to buy new clothes and wear them for several days or weeks instead of doing our laundry. The quandary for most people who need to heal from traumatic events or PTSD is that the giant mountain of laundry seems impossible, a sort of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. This is because life continues to occur as we are supposed to heal. It’s like doing two or three loads but then throwing a new dirty load onto the pile. Many people are in the “why bother at all?” stage because it’s not 6 loads which can be managed and caught up on, it’s 60 loads. Sunshine Coast Health Centre wants to help you address the trauma/PTSD you might be struggling with and help you heal. They want to get you to a place where tackling 60 loads of mental laundry doesn’t seem impossible, in fact, it seems completely possible to not only get it done but to also develop new techniques and coping strategies so that it doesn’t get to the “why bother at all stage?” again. One of the unique qualities of SCHC is that there are several options for healing, and hypnotherapy is just one of the many approaches offered.
What Is Hypnotherapy and How Can it Help?
“Hypnotherapy is the use of different types of therapy in hypnosis, along with the mind’s own natural abilities, to resolve issues, relieve emotional burdens and achieve personal goals. It is a safe, effective process and involves the client and therapist working together to bring about positive changes in how they think, feel and act.” It helps a person who is struggling to make sense of a traumatic event have their mind put into a relaxed state where they can more easily deal with the lingering distress from a traumatic event or PTSD. When a person is in a hypnotic state the brain is no longer trying to manage and balance the traumatic impacts with rationalizing thoughts/feeling/behaviours of the conscious mind that often make it difficult to function in a healthy manner.
Hypnosis coupled with therapy can vastly improve a person’s chances to regaining control over their lives and behaviours again. An NCBI study determined that a client who has been diagnosed with trauma/PTSD has a higher susceptibility to being hypnotized. This was believed to be a benefit when it came to providing hypnotherapy for healing, as it would put the client in a calm, safe space to process the traumatic event from a new perspective. Once hypnotized a therapist and client may begin the work of restructuring both conscious and unconscious memories. Furthermore, NCBI reported in a study on veterans struggling with PTSD that clients “can be taught self-hypnosis techniques that allow them to work through traumatic memories and thereby reduce spontaneous unbidden intrusive recollections.”
Similar to EMDR, hypnotherapy helps reorganize traumatic memories so that a client no longer gets stuck, dissociates, or becomes overwhelmed by the traumatic event(s) and feels the need to use substances to cope with the mental disturbance. It allows a person to face their past without becoming debilitated by it. That doesn’t mean the brain forgets that we’ve experienced something terrible, but rather we know that it cannot be hurt by those events anymore. It allows us to honour the hurt parts of our self and make space for the scars one might have to carry physically and mentally.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you are tired of coping in unhealthy ways and are ready to return to being the author of your own life, then Sunshine Coast Health Centre might be the right fit for you. At the centre clients have a chance to work with a couple of staff members who can see if hypnotherapy might be right for you.
Tatiana Tsarouk is one of the PhD level clinicians as SCHC who is capable of providing hypnotherapy for clients in treatment in their one on one sessions during their recovery stay.
Quyn Le Erichsen is one of the other MA level clinicians who has recently completed training in hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is just one of the many tools in her therapeutic toolbox that she offers to a client to help meet their recovery goals.
If you are struggling with stand-alone trauma and no substance use or other dependency problems, then SCHC might not be the right fit for you. We suggest you look at a reputable website and search for a local clinician or practitioner in your area. Psychology Today and Canada Drug Rehab host content and profiles of therapists who may be able to assist you in your recovery as inpatient programs for only trauma aren’t many in number in Canada. Once you select a few professionals who might be taking new clients it would be a good idea to verify their credentials
We advise you to check the following before you pick a counselor or delve deep into therapy:
- Has your preferred credentials (for benefits and/personal preferences)
- Check the Assn. of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists or the CACHE Canada to make sure your provider has completed the necessary training and is a member in good standing. Most credentials have corresponding associations or colleges that help keep them accountable to you and their practice.
- You will typically have a few sessions beforehand to make sure the professional is someone you connect with and can get you through your healing. A reputable provider will not start hypnosis with you until they know exactly what your goals are and they feel you’re capable of dealing with your trauma(s).
- Make sure you are ready to do the work of healing. Most people need multiple treatments using hypnotherapy and may continue to need additional therapeutic supports afterward.