Hypnosis in Treating PTSD

Hypnotherapy. Credit: PaulaConnelly

Numerous mental health professionals attest to the success of using hypnosis in treating the consequences of traumatic exposure, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by either experiencing or seeing a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as excessive thinking about the event.

Many people who experience a terrifying event have a difficult time coping for a while, but they don't have PTSD.

But if the symptoms worsen or last for months or longer and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.

Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop is important in reducing symptoms.

Hypnosis in Treating PTSD

It has been suggested that hypnosis may help prevent or reduce dissociation following exposure to a traumatic event, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and help people get in touch with memories and feelings associated with their traumatic experience. Hypnosis is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration.

Few studies have been done that actually examine whether or not hypnosis may be more effective than cognitive behavior therapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy in treating PTSD.

One study found that hypnotherapy, on its own, was at least as successful as some other treatments for PTSD, including psychodynamic psychotherapy. Another study found that hypnosis added to standard cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD may be just as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy in improving PTSD symptoms up to two years following treatment.

So, there is some evidence that hypnotherapy may be helpful for people with PTSD or other symptoms resulting from a traumatic experience.

It is important to know that hypnotherapy may not work for everyone. Some people are more suggestible than others. In addition, as with any treatment for PTSD, it is important to get as much information as you can to make sure it is the right treatment for you.

A number of treatments are available for someone with PTSD. You can find more information about treatment providers in your area who might offer some of these treatments through UCompare HealthCare from About.com, as well as the Anxiety Disorder Association of America.


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Foa, E.B., & Meadows, E.A. (1997). Psychosocial treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder: A critical review. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 449-480.

Mayo Clinic. Hypnosis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hypnosis/basics/definition/prc-20019177​

Mayo Clinic. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/definition/con-20022540

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Spiegel, D. (1989). Hypnosis in the treatment of victims of sexual abuse. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12, 295-305.

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