Working in Cooperation with the Medical Field

As clinical hypnotherapists, we do not independently work with medical conditions, diagnose, treat or prescribe. We do not practice psychotherapy, we teach and train our clients how to shift limiting beliefs, reach their goals and enhance their well being using self-hypnotic techniques.

We only assist with diagnosed physical, mental and emotional symptoms with the authorization and under the supervision of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners. Please note we do require a physician’s authorization before scheduling sessions and work only under physician guidance. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

Understanding Emotional and Psychological Trauma

When our sense of security is suddenly shattered and, without warning, we find ourselves helpless and vulnerable, our perception of our own safety and the world around us can undergo a severe shift.  Emotional and psychological trauma is a normal response of our nervous system to events or situations that left us feeling overwhelmed, unsafe and alone.

Any event involving a threat to our life, our safety, our physical body or emotional well being can lead to emotional and psychological trauma.  Life-altering events such as accidents, physical or psychological attacks and abuse, natural disasters, battling with a life-threatening illness, surgeries, the loss of a loved one, either through death or a breakup, severe injuries, as well as life experiences that left us feeling humiliated or deeply disappointed, can all lead to post-traumamic symptoms. Trauma does not always have to involve physical harm.  Any experience that left someone feeling frightened and helpless can lead to post-traumatic sequels. The deeper the sense of fright and vulnerability experienced, the more likely the sequels will be.

Trauma survivors can experience unsettling emotions. While shock, denial and disbelief are often experienced immediately following the trauma, trauma survivors can be left in a state of hyper-vigilance and increased sensitivity, a constant sense of danger, prompting an uncontrollable need to remain on guard and on alert at all times. Depression, fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, sadness, hopelessness, nightmares and sleep disorders, confusion, difficulty focusing, memory impairment and deficiency are all known side-effects of trauma. Other symptoms include feeling numb, disconnected from life, from others and even from the self, trouble maintaining or forming new relationships, difficulty trusting others, anger, irritability and mood swings, guilt, shame and self-blame.

Trauma can also lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, chronic aches and pain, muscle tension, decreased immune system efficiency leading to heighten susceptibility to viruses, illnesses and infections, headaches, nausea and gastro-intestinal problems.

The emotional toll left behind by trauma can create lasting emotional instability and make it seem difficult for survivors to move on and recover their balance.  While it is common to feel as if the world were disintegrating under our feet or as if we were losing our mind, it is important to understand post-traumatic symptoms are a normal reaction to abnormal events. The temporary dysfunction of our mental capacities and emotional balance is due to the heightened focus of our mind around what it perceives as potentially threatening circumstances.  When our mind is prompted into a survival-based tunnel vision, it requires so much of our attention and capacities, the rest of our normal processing capabilities are temporarily pushed aside.

Understanding Peritraumatic Dissociation

When we are faced with intense physical harm, fear or terror we are unable to avoid, escape or shield ourselves from, our central nervous system can respond with a self-protective mechanism called peritraumatic dissociation.  In a state of dissocation, we find ourselves disconnected from our physical and emotional responses.  We are no longer able to feel pain, shed tears, access or express emotions or interact with others.

While dissociation provides a temporarily effective defense mechanism in cases of severe trauma, in the long term however, it is associated with decreased psychological functioning and adjustment and presents a greater risk for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-traumatic symptoms.

To learn more about the nature and side-effects of trauma-related dissociation, refer to our article on peritraumatic dissociation: Understanding Peritraumatic Dissociation.

Addressing Trauma with Hypnotherapy

While most therapeutic methods work at the conscious level of the mind, the power of hypnotherapy lies in its ability to work at the subconscious level, thereby directly targeting the source, or root cause, of unwanted habits, negative behaviors, physical, mental or emotional conditions.  Hiding under the surface of our conscious mind, the subconscious represents the most powerful part of our mind.

By allowing us to go back in time to the root cause, hypnotherapy enables us to understand and reframe the initial sensitizing event (ISE).  The driving force behind our imbalances, self-sabotaging habits and unwanted behaviors, root causes left unaddressed, and later in life reinforced by other events, produce patterns of behaviors that become extremely resistant to change in the conscious mode.

Reframing the initial sensitizing event with hypnotherapy enables us to work at the subconscious level of the mind to unveil, shift and release trauma wounds of the past, and open the way for a better, more balanced, solid and peaceful tomorrow.

Understanding the Scope and Boundaries of Clinical Hypnotherapy

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.

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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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