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Unfortunately many of us may at some point in life experience trauma. Trauma could be defined as persisting psychological and/or physical symptoms following a dangerous or threatening experience. The effects can be varied. The sufferer may experience flashbacks, panic attacks, phobic responses, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety or anger outbursts for example. Such symptoms can profoundly affect the sufferers quality of life. Work and relationships can be severely affected which places further strain on the sufferer.
Whether the traumatic event was a road accident, a violent assault, an ongoing stressful situation or even systematic abuse, the mechanism is largely the same. When faced with a threatening situation the brain switches the body into survival mode often called fight, flight or freeze. There is a part of the brain called the amygdala which is, essentially the fear control centre. The amygdala is sensitised when one is in fight, flight or freeze and registers all the details of the event. In the traumatised individual the body and mind don’t return to a normal resting state and the amygdala is on red alert looking out for similar danger. That’s why a returning soldier may dive for cover when a loud noise such as a car backfire is heard. The amygdala does this automatically without conscious thought and this is why trauma can be difficult to treat using conventional talking therapy. The reactions are not logical or reasoned but generated by the primitive survival centres of the brain.
The good news is that it is possible to reset the fear response and return the body to it’s resting state using hypnotherapy and similar methods. When this is achieved the symptoms resolve and the individual can return to normality. Hypnotherapy and related techniques are particularly good for treating trauma because the focus is precisely directed at this kind of automatic subconscious response.
Individual results vary from person to person.