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How Ericksonian Hypnosis can help Trauma Recovery


woman with french braids (almost white hair, white skinned person) holding braid over her eyes
Anxiety can blind you to the reality of what is happening now. Photo by Alexander Grey.

 

When something overwhelmingly stressful happens, it can make you feel on edge and anxious. You wait for the next shoe to drop, the next bad thing to happen. It can seem like you can’t let your guard down. It might seem like everything in your life, your relationships and environment are threatening reminders of the trauma. You can’t seem to catch a breath sometimes, and you hold a lot of tension in your body. You don't need to suffer with this dread because there are various techniques to treat anxiety and facilitate trauma recovery, including Ericksonian hypnosis, somatic techniques, and EMDR therapy.


You might have lost a lot of people to death or abrupt separation from your life. This can make even adults feel like they suffer from separation anxiety. This is especially bad if your loved ones left without explanation or if you didn’t have a chance to prepare yourself mentally. You might worry that you will be in danger or die in a similar way to your loved one, or that your loved ones are in danger. All this leaves you with a sense of constant dread.


Learn to Assess Real Danger

If you’re struggling to differentiate whether your fears are founded or not, it can help to check in with real-time danger in your environment. Look around and try to orient to the present moment, not what happened in the past or could happen in the future. Just what is happening right now?


You might say that something could happen that isn’t readily apparent in the environment. That is true, but worrying about it happening will probably not prevent it from occurring, if it’s that unpredictable.


There’s a certain amount of risk we take in being alive, and we must learn to distinguish between what could happen and what probably will happen. I suppose anything could happen; a meteor might collide with the earth. But what are the chances of that happening? Probably not large enough to make it a realistic concern.


Somatic Techniques to Help Feel Less on Edge



three African male children looking up at the sky while laying on the ground
In a trance state, you can let your guard down appropriately. Photo by Dam Dam

Once you’ve determined that there are no real immediate dangers in your environment, you can do a couple of things with your body and awareness of it that can help you ground yourself and feel less hypervigilant.


If you’re feeling on edge, you can apply gentle pressure to your arms and legs. When you’re in fight-flight mode, your sympathetic nervous system makes you want to flee, so you feel like moving your arms, legs, fists, feet… and this is a good survival instinct. Thank goodness you have this impulse when there’s real danger in your environment!


But when you don’t have that, you can gently push down on those body parts to help them feel less activated. As you do, breath in and out deeply and slowly through your belly. Let your belly get big on the in breath and small on the outbreath.


You can also hold yourself for a little bit. This is a technique that Peter Levine, PhD invented as part of his somatic experiencing therapy. Put one hand a few inches below your armpit on one side of your body, and the other hand on the shoulder of the opposite arm. Hold that position and breathe slowly as described above. Align yourself to feel held and supported, knowing that you are being taking care of by someone who cares for you. Stay in that position for however long you want or need, until the edginess subsides.


Ericksonian Hypnosis for Trauma Recovery and Anxiety Management

Hypnosis is a gentle, effective way to address anxiety and involves bypassing the part of your mind that can think of all the worst-case scenarios, reaching into a part of you that can learn how to trust wisely and feel more relaxed. As someone who has been doing Ericksonian hypnosis for years, I’ve noticed how beautifully it helps people feel less anxious. You can learn how to adjust your expectations, confront whatever trauma you are still reacting to, and let down your guard so that you don’t have to hold the tension in your body.


If you ready to feel less on edge and anxious, please call me at 661-233-6771 to discuss how I can help you cope with your anxiety more effectively.

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