Seattle PTSD Alternative Treatment Method for Veterans Using Hypnotherapy and NLP
by Kelly Gerling
(This article is reprinted from Examiner.com, where I am the Washington State Mental Health Examiner. To see the original publication place of this article go here.)
Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, like all U.S. metropolitan areas, have a large number of our veterans who have returned from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and earlier from Vietnam. Many of these veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder also called PTSD. So do many of their family members.
Suicide Rates as Evidence for PTSD
Part of the evidence of the prevalence of PTSD among veterans is the very high rate of suicide attempts and suicides among US veterans.
Suicide involves the inherent conflict between the part of the person who desires survival and the part that cannot live with pain, where the latter part wins.
Tragically, about 30 veterans each day attempt to commit suicide and about 18 a day die from such attempts. Of these daily tragedies, about five soldiers receive medical care from the Veterans Administration. Overall, over 600,000 soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or related problems, including traumatic brain injuries. These numbers come from an article summarizing them here.
How Can PTSD Sufferers Get Help?
What can be done to help our veterans and others suffering from the effects of PTSD and related problems?
Fortunately, with advances in personal change through hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), there are thorough, fast-acting remedies for the symptoms of PTSD.
To understand the details of these advances, consider the exact nature a returning soldier's situation, or other persons with similar stresses:
When a soldier experiences months of stressful activities in a foreign military operation or occupation, horrible, stressful things happen all too often. Soldiers get wounded, often gravely; they witness their fellow soldiers being wounded or killed; the fear of death or serious injury; they witness militia members attacking them, often with horrific scenes of violence and death; they experience their own violence prompted by the situation, motivated by survival or revenge; they operate with a hair-trigger, ultra-hyper-vigilance to respond to enemies or would-be enemies, and many soldiers do this for months and months per tour, and then do multiple tours. Then they return home to Portland or Seattle, or some other city where everything they have been doing for survival in the foreign occupation context is now either inappropriate, illegal or immoral in the home context. And on top of it all, our soldiers, and their surviving families often have debts that remain unpaid, and are looking for work in an economy with many more job seekers than jobs. Each of the thousands of soldiers who died or killed themselves, or those with severe injuries, have surviving family members who also have been traumatized.
This is a formula for too many cases of PTSD in the extreme.
What is PTSD exactly?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition of having troubling, stressful symptoms related to memories of traumatic incidents. Caused by events experienced in war, or personal or family traumatic events, PTSD can afflict anyone.
The symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive memory flashbacks of traumatic incidents; hyper-awareness; hyper-vigilance; hyper-sensitivity; illegal violence; addiction to alcohol; addiction to drugs; angry outbursts; avoiding and/or numbing in relation to traumatic memories; feeling detached and disassociated from self and others; reoccurring nightmares; relationship problems; and more.
People in Portland, Seattle and other US metropolitan areas and towns suffering from PTSD often ask themselves this: “What kind of counselor, therapist, hypnotherapist, hypnotist, psychologist, psychotherapist or other personal change agent has a powerful, effective method to reduce or eliminate my PTSD symptoms?”
What Method Can Help Actually Reduce the Symptoms of PTSD?
Any method that seeks to alter and heal the symptoms that arise from traumatic events must use a process for activating the powerful inner thoughts and feelings of the client for change; must engage the whole range of human healing processes people possess; and must guide the client towards a reduction or elimination of the symptoms of PTSD.
One group of agents of personal change who have developed such skills are those who use the processes of hypnotherapy together with methods of NLP.
Practitioners with advanced skills in hypnotherapy and NLP provide a particular body of techniques that can be combined into a set of highly effective methods for treating PTSD. Such methods help a client revisit memories in a safe, emotionally distant manner to re-live them in a way which enables them to be healed. Such a method greatly reduces or eliminates the symptoms associated with the original traumatic memories. This therapeutic process involves changes in scope in time and space, to bring about not only the healing of the memories, but also to learn new lessons from the experiences of trauma. That way, the harmful aspects of traumatic experiences are used to guide a process of both eliminating the harm they caused, and also learning from them.
Regarding the phenomena of re-occurring traumatic memories, they often have this positive intent: learning. No matter how much pain, guilt, shame, fear, self-criticism, or grief is connected with traumatic experiences, the memories of these experiences seem to come back to people. It is as if the unconscious, involuntary part of the person who is bringing back the memory is saying to the person’s conscious mind: "There is more learning to do regarding these events. I'll keep coming back to haunt you until you learn the lessons they provide."
Veterans and others with PTSD who experience this therapeutic process of personal change can not only take care of their traumatic memories for the betterment of their personal lives and interpersonal relationships, they can do more—they can use such a process to take care of any future traumatic event they may experience later.
For more details about this method using hypnotherapy and NLP, see my case study here. It illustrates, in considerable detail, my particular approach using hypnotherapy and NLP for helping someone with the symptoms of PTSD.