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PTSD and Trauma

There is so much research on PTSD and trauma successfully treated with Hypnotherapy these days. It has been shown to be so effective at re-routing pathways of traumatic memory and turning them into more positive life-affirming routes, effective at removing triggers and dealing with associated issues, such as anxiety, depression and poor sleep. 

From the research below...  

"The consistency of clinical reports and observations going back for

almost two centuries, coupled with some controlled studies, suggest

that hypnosis is an effective and safe adjunctive procedure in the 
treatment of PTSD and other posttraumatic conditions." (Cardena)

"There was a significant main effect of the hypnotherapy treatment with PTSD symptoms as measured by the Posttraumatic Disorder Scale". (Abramowitz)

"The results indicate that hypnosis incorporated in the four-phase treatment framework could effectively eliminate the symptoms of complex trauma". (Kwan)


Vermetten, Eric; Christensen, Ciara. (2010). Posttraumatic Stress 
Disorder (PTSD). In Barabasz, Arreed Franz (Ed); Olness, Karen 
(Ed); Boland, Robert (Ed); Kahn, Stephen (Ed), Medical Hypnosis 
Primer: Clinical and Research Evidence, (pp. 41-51). New York, NY: 
Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. 

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental disorder characterized 
by a preoccupation with traumatic events beyond normal human experience. This 
chapter discusses diagnostic categories; assessment; treatment; PTSD and hypnosis; 
psychological treatment of PTSD using hypnosis; and hypnosis for release of 
unbound affect. 

Cardeña, Etzel; Maldonado, José R.; Hart, Onno van der; Spiegel, 
David. (2009). Hypnosis. In Foa, Edna B. (Ed); Keane, Terence M. 
(Ed); Friedman, Matthew J. (Ed); Cohen, Judith A. (Ed), Effective 
Treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines from the International 
Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2nd ed.), (pp. 427-457). New 
York, NY: Guilford Press. 

“There are compelling theoretical reasons and clinical observations 
to recommend the use of hypnosis as an adjunct treatment for 
PTSD. Hypnosis is a procedure that may accelerate the therapeutic 
relationship and positive treatment outcome. Hypnotic techniques 
may also facilitate the important task of working through traumatic 
memories, increase coping skills, and promote a sense of 
competency. They may also be valuable for patients who exhibit 
symptoms such as anxiety, dissociation, pain, and sleep and other 
problems for which hypnosis has been effective. There is consistent 
clinical evidence that hypnosis can facilitate, intensify, and shorten 
treatment.” (Cardeña, Maldonado, Hart, Spiegel, 2009, p. 427) 

The consistency of clinical reports and observations going back for

almost two centuries, coupled with some controlled studies, suggest

that hypnosis is an effective and safe adjunctive procedure in the 
treatment of PTSD and other posttraumatic conditions.

Straub, James H.; Straub, Vicki W. (2009). Resolving Traumatic 
Memories Related to Persistent and Recurring Pain. In Brown, 
Donald C. (Ed), Advances in the Use of Hypnosis for Medicine, 
Dentistry and Pain Prevention/Management, (pp. 153-175). Norwalk, 
CT: Crown House Publishing Limited. 

Traumatic memories and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often related to 
persistent pain, anxiety and other difficulties seen in medical, surgical and dental 
procedures and treatment. In addition to physical injuries resulting from trauma, a 
variety of pain-related syndromes are significantly correlated with a history of 
PTSD. The trauma and traumatic memories can be the basis of the pain or serve to 
exacerbate the pain related to injuries or disease. In this chapter, we focus primarily 
on dealing with specific traumatic memories that may be related to the experience 
of persistent pain or triggered during procedures. However, underlying traumatic 
memories that are not specifically related to the expression of pain can also be 
resolved by these techniques.

Abramowitz, Eitan G.; Barak, Yoram; Ben-Avi, Irit; Knobler, Haim Y. 
(Jul-Sep 2008). Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Chronic 
Combat-Related PTSD Patients Suffering from Insomnia: A 
Randomized, Zolpidem-Controlled Clinical Trial. International 
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol 56(3), 270-280.
This study evaluated the benefits of add-on hypnotherapy in patients with chronic 
PTSD. Thirty-two PTSD patients treated by SSRI antidepressants and supportive 
psychotherapy were randomized to 2 groups: 15 patients in the first group received 
Zolpidem 10 mg nightly for 14 nights, and 17 patients in the hypnotherapy group 
were treated by symptom-oriented hypnotherapy, twice-a-week 1.5-hour sessions 
for 2 weeks. There was a significant main effect of the hypnotherapy treatment with 
PTSD symptoms as measured by the Posttraumatic Disorder Scale. This effect was 
preserved at follow-up 1 month later. Additional benefits for the hypnotherapy 
group were decreases in intrusion and avoidance reactions and improvement in all 
sleep variables assessed. 

Yarvis, Jeffrey Scott. (2008). Hypnotherapy under Fire: Efficacy of 
Heart-Centred Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Iraq War 
Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress. Journal of Heart-Centred 
Therapies, Vol. 11(1), 3-18. 

A growing literature addressing the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
has appeared in the decades following the Vietnam War. However, only a small 
portion of this literature represents empirical investigations of hypnotherapy as a 
form of efficacious therapy for PTSD and its implications. This investigation seeks 
to define the extent of treatment success of Heart-Centred Hypnotherapy (HCH) 
versus traditional cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been considered the most 
efficacious treatment for PTSD without the use of medication, and critical incidence 
stress debriefings which have been widely used by military combat stress control 
teams when soldiers present with trauma reactions. This study showed Heart-Centred

Hypnotherapy is a most effective means of treating PTSD.

Peebles, Mary Jo. (2008). Trauma-related Disorders and 
Dissociation. In Nash, Michael R. (Ed); Barnier, Amanda J. (Ed), The 
Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis: Theory, Research, and Practice, (pp. 
647-679). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

The term trauma-related disorders, instead of simply trauma, is used in the title of 
this chapter because people who need a trauma-focused psychotherapy can present 
in hidden ways. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the clearest and most 
familiar presentation; however, people who have been traumatized alternatively can 
suffer no lasting symptomatology, can present with symptoms of dysregulation (of 
emotions, of self, of impulse control or of physiology) or can even develop severe 
psychiatric disturbances such as borderline personality disorder, schizoaffective 
illness with psychosis or dissociative identity disorder. What this chapter addresses 
is the application of hypnosis when a careful evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, 
history and functioning determines that a trauma model of psychotherapy is called 
for. Dissociation is also addressed in this chapter because dissociation is a coping 
mechanism commonly called into play when there has been trauma. Being able to 
recognize both blatant and subtle forms of dissociation helps us locate traumatic 
triggers for the patient. Helping the patient learn to use dissociation adaptively, and 
repairing the splits in self-integration caused by chronic overuse of dissociation, are 
also part of any trauma-focused work. 

Kwan, Priscilla S. K. (Jun 2007). Hypnosis in Complex Trauma and 
Breast Cancer Pain: A Single Case Study. Contemporary Hypnosis, 
Vol 24(2), 86-96. 

This case study addresses the effect of hypnosis on a range of problems associated 
with complex trauma (i.e. spouse abuse). It begins by exploring the specific 
symptoms that were generated in complex trauma and identifying that hypnosis is 
an appropriate treatment for these problems. A four-phase framework of treatment, 
taking into consideration the specific features of complex trauma which are distinct 
from single-episode or non-interpersonal trauma, was adopted. Breast cancer pain, 
another source of distress to the client, was also discussed. The therapeutic 
outcomes are described with reference to data collected from pre-, during and

post-treatment, as well as from verbal feedback regarding Ms S’s feelings about the 
therapy. The results indicate that hypnosis incorporated in the four-phase treatment 
framework could effectively eliminate the symptoms of complex trauma. 

Poon, Maggie Wai-Ling. (May 2007). Using Hypnosis with a 
Battered Woman with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Australian 
Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, Vol 35(1), 63-74. 

This report describes the successful hypnotic intervention with a battered woman 
who has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The treatment basically consists of 
three phases: The first is stabilisation by reducing stress and building up personal 
resources, the second is re-exposing the client to the trauma by graded 
approximation, and the last is consolidation of the therapeutic gains. Data obtained 
by the client’s verbal reports, the therapist’s observations, and objective measures at 
one month and three month posttreatment follow-ups provides evidence of 
maintenance and continued improvement in symptoms. This suggests that hypnosis 
may be an effective adjunct to therapy for battered women with PTSD. 

Wester II, William C. (2007). Hypnotic Treatment of Anxiety in 
Children. In Wester II, William C. (Ed); Sugarman, Laurence I. (Ed), 
Therapeutic Hypnosis with Children and Adolescents, (pp. 199-215). 
Norwalk, CT: Crown House Publishing Limited. 

Discusses the use of hypnosis to treat panic disorder, specific phobia, social phobia, 
separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, 
and posttraumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents. 

Lynn, Steven Jay; Kirsch, Irving. (2006). Posttraumatic Stress 
Disorder. In Lynn, Steven Jay; Kirsch, Irving (Eds.), Essentials of 
Clinical Hypnosis: An Evidence-Based Approach. Dissociation, 
Trauma, Memory, and Hypnosis Book Series, (pp. 159-173). 
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

In this chapter the authors illustrate how exposure-based techniques can be 
combined with hypnosis and cognitive interventions to ameliorate PTSD symptoms. 
The symptoms of PTSD include stress and hyperarousal (e.g., sleep difficulties, 
exaggerated and distressing startle response), emotional numbing of responsiveness 
(e.g., restricted range of emotional experiences, feelings of detachment and 
alienation from others), and persistent avoidance of situations or reminders of 
trauma (e.g., efforts to avoid activities, places, or people associated with the event).

Phillips, Maggie. (2006). Hypnosis with Depression, Posttraumatic 
Stress Disorder and Chronic Pain. In Yapko, Michael D. (Ed), 
Hypnosis and Treating Depression: Applications in Clinical Practice, 
(pp. 217-241). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. 

This chapter examines how direct and indirect hypnotic suggestions can be used 
specifically to treat symptoms of depression and chronic pain that often coexist as 
two of the sequelae of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A complex case of 
PTSD, pain, and depression treated with hypnosis is presented in detail. 

Carter, Christine. (May 2005). The Use of Hypnosis in the Treatment 
of PTSD. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 
Vol 33(1), 82-92. 

This study describes the application of hypnosis in the treatment of a woman, 
Jackie, with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from accidents at work. She 
was referred by her general practitioner and through the use of hypnosis achieved 
her goals of returning to work and abolishing distressing flashbacks, feelings of not 
being safe, inability to leave her home, loss of appetite, panic attacks, and sleep 
disturbance which she had been experiencing. The implications of using hypnosis, 
should Julie wish to seek legal action in the future, were discussed. 

Bryant, Richard A.; Moulds, Michelle L.; Guthrie, Rachel M.; Nixon, 
Reginald D. V. (Apr 2005). The Additive Benefit of Hypnosis and 
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in Treating Acute Stress Disorder. 
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 73(2), 334-340. 

This research represents the first controlled treatment study of hypnosis and 
cognitive- behavioural therapy (CBT) of acute stress disorder (ASD). Civilian trauma 
survivors (N = 87) who met criteria for ASD were randomly allocated to 6 sessions 
of CBT, CBT combined with hypnosis (CBT-hypnosis), or supportive counselling 
(SC). CBT comprised exposure, cognitive restructuring, and anxiety management. 
CBT-hypnosis comprised the CBT components with each imaginal exposure 
preceded by a hypnotic induction and suggestions to engage fully in the exposure. 
In terms of treatment completers (n = 69), fewer participants in the CBT and CBT-hypnosis

groups met criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder at posttreatment and 
6-month follow-up than those in the SC group. CBT-hypnosis resulted in greater 
reduction in reexperiencing symptoms at posttreatment than CBT. These findings 
suggest that hypnosis may have use in facilitating the treatment effects of CBT for 
posttraumatic stress. 

Evans, Barry J. (May 2003). Hypnosis for Post-traumatic Stress 
Disorders. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 
Vol 31(1), 54-73. 

This paper describes the research and clinical literature relating to post-traumatic 
stress disorders (PTSD) and acute stress disorders (ASD). It begins with a review of 
the general nature, classification and aetiology of the disorder, using DSM-IV 
criteria. The particular relevance of hypnosis as an adjunct to the range of 
therapeutic approaches suitable for the disorder is then discussed, focusing on the 
evidence for the higher hypnotisability of many PTSD sufferers. The paper 
concludes with detailed suggestions for the use of hypnosis as an adjunct in the 
treatment of post-traumatic stress reactions. 

Spiegel, David. (2003). Hypnosis and Traumatic Dissociation: 
Therapeutic Opportunities. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol 
4(3), 73-90. 

Hypnosis and the related phenomenon of dissociation have long been linked to 
trauma. Evidence is reviewed regarding the relationship between trauma and 
dissociation, the prevalence of these dissociative symptoms in the acute aftermath 
of trauma, and their salience in predicting the development of later PTSD 
symptoms. Dissociative amnesia is described as the key commonality between 
formally induced hypnosis and dissociative symptomatology, and controversy 
regarding traumatic amnesia is discussed. Finally principles of psychotherapy 
involving hypnosis and related techniques for dissociative and other post-traumatic 
symptoms are reviewed. 

Moore, Monica. (Nov 2001). Hypnosis and Post-Traumatic Stress 
Disorder. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 
Vol 29(2), 93-106. 

Describes the application of hypnosis in the treatment of a 24-yr-old woman with 
acute post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the client’s exposure to an armed 
hold-up at work. She was self-referred, and through the use of hypnosis achieved 
her aims of abolishing the distressing flashbacks, feelings of not being safe, and 
sleep disturbance which she had been experiencing. She was also able to reframe 
her experience from a negative to a more positive one, and to resume work. 

French, Christine. (Nov 2000). The Meaning of Trauma: Hypnosis 
and PTSD. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 
Vol 28(2), 188-199. 

Presents the case of the use of hypnosis therapy for a male (aged 27 yrs) who had 
been the victim of an armed robbery and subsequently developed posttraumatic 
stress disorder (PTSD). A combination of hypnosis and cognitive–behavioural 
therapy was employed over 8 sessions for 3 mo. Under hypnosis, the idiosyncratic 
nature of the subjects reaction became apparent and he was able to reintegrate the 
experience of the trauma into his life and alleviate the fragmentation of self which 
prevented him from functioning adaptively. The case illustrates the importance of 
understanding the personal meaning of the trauma to the individual with PTSD and 
the efficacy of hypnosis in dealing with it. 

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