Hypnosis and Childhood Trauma

In 1995-97 the U.S. CDC and Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading health care providers conducted a study involving 17,500 adults. It was called the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study and it targeted the subject adults’ history of exposure as children to a variety of traumatic experiences i.e. physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, separation and divorce. One point was awarded for each ACE and when correlated against health issues, two things stood out. First, 67% of the study subjects had at least one ACE and 12.6% or one in eight had four or more ACE’s. Second, the higher the ACE score the worse were the health outcomes.

A person with an ACE score of four or more has a relative risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) two and a half times that of a zero score. Depression is four and a half times. Suicidality is 12 times. Heart disease is two and a half times. Injected drug use is 10.3 times and non-injected drugs is four and a half times and on it goes. The connection is obvious and the obvious question is; why is there a connection? Simply put, exposure to early trauma affects the developing brains and bodies of children. Trauma and stress flood a child’s body with stress response hormones and keeps her brain on high alert, preparing for fight or flight. This is a wonderful survival response if you’re in the forest and you see a bear; but, what if the ‘bear’ comes home drunk every night and beats the tar out of your mother. That response system is constantly being activated and it changes from being a lifesaving survival mechanism to a health damaging response. The bottom line is that the negative effects of childhood trauma do not disappear simply because we reach the age of legal adulthood. Childhood trauma affects physical and emotional health throughout an entire lifetime. The good news is childhood trauma is treatable and beatable. Here is a two part technique:

Part One, before inducing hypnosis, ask the client to describe her idea of a perfect safe haven, sanctuary, happy place, etc. in as much detail as possible and then hypnotise the client. Guide the client to mentally create that safe haven. Teach the client how to return to her safe haven anytime she wishes using a cue or key word. Allow the client time enough to feel the peace, calmness and safety of her safe haven. I provide my clients with a free Mp3 of this so they can practice at least once a day between hypnosis sessions.

Part Two, we now introduce this technique to the client’s child-self. Hypnotically have the adult client meet her child-self in her safe haven. Here the adult client teaches her child-self how to create her own safe haven. Now have the adult and child-self go together to the child-self’s safe haven to play and establish a trusting relationship. Install a post-hypnotic suggestion in the child-self for a cue or key word so she can always have a place of peace, calmness and safety in her safe haven. This technique takes a client deeply into hypnosis and can have amazing results.

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I’m Roger Gumbrill, a NGH Certified Hypnotherapist, bringing over three decades of hypnotherapy expertise to Delta, B.C. (Tsawwassen), serving the vibrant communities around Metro Vancouver, including Surrey, Richmond, and New Westminster.

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