Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - A man and a woman sitting in a chair talking on the phone - Psychological Stress

Complex post-traumatic stress, often referred to as disorder, or response, refers to the symptoms or sequels left behind by the experience of a series of traumatic events through which someone’s safety, stability, physical or emotional well being were compromised.

Trauma Understanding

Without in-depth experience, understanding and knowledge of the effects and after-effects of trauma, it is difficult for others to understand, comprehend and relate to the ingrained patterns left behind by traumatic experiences. “How could you let this happen to you?” is often what adult survivors of bullying, physical, emotional abuse or endangerement hear. “Why did you not walk away?” “Why did you not fight back?” Or worse, they will be accused of being responsible for or misrepresenting the abuse. A deeply damaging reaction known as a double-bind. Being accused of misrepresenting the traumatic event, or being responsible for it, shatters whatever was left of the fragile emotional stability of the mind as it is struggling to comprehend and recover. Questioning the survivor’s perception of reality leads them to further lose their grasp of their right to safety, boundaries, respect and protection.

Trauma-Related Guilt

Guilt and self-doubt are among the most common symptoms experienced by trauma survivors. “How could I let this happen?” “What is wrong with me?” The should-haves and would-haves act like endless thoughts spinning around in our minds as we try to make sense of what happened, why it happened, what we should have done differently and how we could have prevented the event from happening.

Early-Life Conditioning

What makes an adult, who should be capable of saying no, standing up for themselves and fighting for their safety, submit to verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse? The patterns ingrained in their mind in early life. The way a child is raised is determining to the adult ability and capacity to understand, protect and defend their boundaries.

When a child is beaten, threatened, verbally, physically or emotionally abused by his or her caretakers, there is often nowhere and no one to turn to. The only survival mechanisms become submission and dissociation. When you are cornered and your physical, emotional, psychological safety is compromised, the mind will dissociate in order to cope with the fear, pain, vulnerablity and helplessness. Dissociating is a natural response from our central nervous system to unatural events the mind is not capable of processing any other way. Once the mind has taken the habit of dissociating, it will typically, instinctively resort to dissociation whenever similar situations are encountered.

Later in life, whenever facing a situation resembles the initial trauma, the mind will automatically revert to the time of the initial trauma. We are no longer dealing with the adult’s logical, analytical mind, but with the mind of the child who first encountered a similar threat. The adult will then react as they child they were at the time of the initial trauma, in other words, dissociate, revert to the submissive, vulnerable, helpless, non-reactive response with which they were forced to cope with similar earlylife traumatic events. The submissive response is not a conscious decision. It is a subconscious, automatic, survival mechanism, deeply ingrained in the mind and beyond the control of the conscious mind.

Additionally, a child who is beaten, threatened, endangered by those closest to him, those from whom the child was supposed to learn love, trust, bonding, family, respect, is taught they do not deserve safety, care, protection, kindness. The child is brainwashed to believe closeness or caring equal pain and endangerment.

It’s a double-sided coin. On one hand, the child is brainwashed to believe they are not deserving of respect, protection, care and safety. On the other hand, they are taught that when they attempt to stand up for themselves, their safety becomes severely compromised. The only survival mechanisms become submission and dissociation. Patterns of survival this deeply engrained in the mind in early life take over whenever the mind encounters similar situations later in life.

Retraining the Brain

By allowing us to go back to the root cause responsible for the symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress, hypnotherapy enables us to understand, address and resolve the negative emotions and limiting beliefs left behind by the initial trauma. Being able to unveil, address and release the trauma wounds of the past, opens the way for a more balanced, solid and peaceful present.

Rescuing the Child

Can you imagine the adult you have become today being able to rescue the child you once were? This is what we do with regression to cause hypnotherapy. We give the adult of today the opportunity to go back in time to rescue the child you once were in its most critical times of need. A gift of rescue, transformation and relief, most never get the chance to experience.

The Scope and Boundaries of Hypnosis

As clinical hypnotherapists, we are not licensed medical professionals. For this reason, we only work on diagnosed conditions under the supervision of, and in close cooperation with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners and social workers. We require a physician’s authorization prior to initiating work on diagnosed conditions. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

To learn more about how hypnosis can help you retrain your brain, visit the following link: Hypnosis in Portland, Oregon.

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About Genvièv St. Clair

GENVIÈV ST. CLAIR, Fellow and Former President of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association, is an award-winning Board Certified Instructor with the NGH.

A Valedictorian from the Ivy League University of the Sorbonne in Paris, she graduated summa cum laude from the department of doctorates of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. With specialized training in forensic discovery, and years of expertise in the medical and legal fields, she acted as a communication liaison in complex and critical situations, including duties for the Department of Homeland Security, the US court system, and leading medical centers.

Featured on Discovery Channel, radio and television programs worldwide, Genvièv is the author of Zen in the Art of Survival, published in the best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as Diving into the Unsolved Mysteries of the Mind, Make a Friend of Fear, Meditation in Motion, Life Line, The Gift, Emotions, and countless magazine columns and articles on performance, achievement and success. Her story is featured in Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul – Motivation to get over the hump and on the road to a better life. She produces an educational health and wellness series on YouTube.

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