Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a term used to describe symptoms that can occur following a difficult event, which can last for weeks, months and years. Witnessing violence, being the victim of violence, or just learning about violence done to someone you know can bring about PTSD.

The earliest known diagnosis of PTSD dates back to the Civil War, but it was called “soldier’s heart” and “shell shock.” Besides the conditions of war, other situations that can bring about PTSD include natural disasters, accidents, violent crimes and death or illness of a loved one.

Symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, shortness of breath, numb hands and feet, headaches, tremors, and feelings of helplessness and anger can have deep and lasting psychological effects. They can make daily life difficult, strain relationships and cause financial hardship due to the inability to work. Triggers such as sounds, images and smells can bring on the symptoms, and the onset can be fast and jarring. I’ll never forget the story I heard about my grandfather, shortly after returning from WWII, diving under his desk at the train depot after hearing the sound of a car backfiring outside. He, like many of his fellow soldiers, suffered from PTSD and were forever changed from their experiences fighting overseas.

Over the years, there have been many advances on how PTSD is treated. One of the ways that can help a person to address any negative beliefs that are being associated with the traumatic event is with hypnotherapy. The aim of this unique therapy is to tap into the unconscious mind to unlock stored, negative emotion related to the trauma so that it can be viewed from a different perspective.

When the stored, negative emotion is brought to the surface, the patient and therapist can discuss it in a safe and quiet place, which allows for a more detailed view as to what is triggering the symptoms. Revisiting the traumatic event in this safe space can help the patient to review it as an observer, rather than reliving it. By having a better understanding of the event, the patient and therapist can then focus on the symptoms and work through the negative beliefs to resolve them.

Hypnotherapy can be a wonderful technique to helping relieve and move past the effects of a traumatic experience, and can be used throughout your treatment plan to maintain a peaceful state of mind.


Kristin Hall, is a Counselor in Training within the State of Missouri and focuses on grief, substance abuse and general life transitions. Kristin is also a certified clinical hypnotherapist.   She is an adult therapist with Step By Step Counseling.