What is PTSD? And why do people have it?

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PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is when something traumatic happens to us and the sensory impressions gets stored in the emotional part of the brain, the amygdala.  The memory gets trapped in the “fight or flight” feeling due to the strong emotions around the memory.  But this is just our brain trying to protect us from ever experiencing that again, the memory doesn’t get processed properly by the hippocampus, and doesn’t get moved to the neocortex which is the long term memory.

Who can suffer from PTSD?  Anyone of any age can suffer PTSD, it is not just soldiers, it can be a car accident, an abusive relationship, a death, or even bullying at school, the list is endless, as long as you feel emotional around the memory.

What is a flashback? A flashback happens because the brain creates a survival pattern, and reminds us when it thinks we need to be careful.  Sometimes this can happen when we least expect it, say a smell reminds us of the traumatic event, or a soldier that had been at war may get triggered by a firework going off, etc.  This is our brain creating “faulty” pattern matching.

For PTSD sufferers the memory doesn’t fade like it should, and can feel like yesterday, or at least a lot more like a recent memory, rather than past.  People can remember it quite vividly and describe it in quite a bit of detail.  If you compare it to another old memory, like your 10th birthday say, you probably couldn’t describe the cake, what presents you had, who was there, but in a traumatic memory you could.

How do I treat PTSD and emotional memories? I use a range of techniques including Hypnotherapy, EMDR, IEMT, and my favourite tool in the box – The Rewind Technique.

Treating trauma whilst in hypnosis is a very kind way of treating trauma as its impossible to feel relaxed and anxious at the same time, so seeing the traumatic event whilst calm relaxes the mind around the event, and with some future pacing seeing yourself calm and relaxed around the experience, teaches the mind a new response and processes it into the long term memory, and turns it into a narrative memory, one that you can talk about it without the same emotions.  You will know that it happened but you lose the vivid details around it.  For example, I had one lady that had been hit by a lorry as she joined the motorway, and this gave her a fear of motorways, but after the Rewind Technique, she knew she’d had an accident with a lorry, but couldn’t remember the accident at all.  Another example was a lady who had been grabbed at age 11 by a man in an alley way, initially she could remember what he looked like, smelled like (like cigarettes and alcohol), what he was wearing, but after the Rewind she couldn’t remember any of that, just that a man had grabbed her when she was younger and he was wearing dark clothes, the memory felt like is was very in the past where she just could relax around it.

How do get help?  If you suffer with any kind of emotional memory or flashbacks that stops you in your tracks sometimes, or stops you moving forward with something, then please get in contact with me, I offer a free half hour consultation where I can explain in more detail how it works, and you can ask me any questions you have. I look forward to speaking with you.

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