Alternative Treatment Modalities

These approaches can be powerful additions.

 

Neurons

Neurons

Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Discovered and developed by California clinical psychologist, Dr. Roger Callahan, TFT therapy is a tapping technique that heals trauma by moving the body’s energies in specific ways based on the meridian points on the body (the same ones used in acupuncture).

For further information about how TFT works, how it was discovered, how it continues to evolve, and how to reach Dr. Callahan read this post on our blog written by Dr. Callahan’s wife, Joanne: PTSD Treatment: Tapping Away Your Fears with Thought Field Therapy.

To view a testimonial about the success of TFT healing trauma, click here

For further information about the TFT process, read this open letter by Dr. Charles Figley.

 

tappingEmotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Developed by Gary Craig the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an energy psychology process where the individual taps energy meridian points to release negative emotions surrounding an incident or issue. EFT is based on the Thought Field Therapy techniques developed by Dr Roger Callahan in California in the late 1980s. You can visit the Emofree site for additional information.

When an individual experiences a physical or mental trauma, the body reacts to the circumstances with various physical changes. One of those is a disruption in the flow of energy. Once the threat abates, the body then reverts back to its normal condition, most of the time. There are times, however, when some part of the energy system gets “stuck”. Then, when the person is exposed to a similar set of circumstances, the person’s reaction is affected by the “stuck” portion of the system.

EFT stimulates the energy points while the client thinks of the upset and overcomes the “blocks”, clearing the pathways. This results in the elimination of the negative emotions attached to the memory. It doesn’t change the memory, just the emotional reaction to it.

For more detailed information and related links read this interview with an EFT practitioner on our blog post: PTSD Treatment: Emotional Freedom Technique.

To see EFT in action click here.

 

acupressure-head-vitreoushumourTapas Acupressure Technique (TAT). Created by Tapas Fleming, TAT is a very easy way to end stress and create a happy life. It combines placing your hands on a few key points near your eyes and at the back of your head while you put your attention on a series of statements.

The central idea is that when we’re very stressed or traumatized we become identified with thoughts and beliefs that seem like they’re going to help us make it through. After the trauma has passed, we’re still living our lives stuck in those points of view and it doesn’t work – we can’t relax and be happy. TAT is designed to rewire the brain to accept what happened, that it’s over now, forgiveness and apologies, and choose the positive, happy life you want.

To read an interview with Tapas Fleming about how TAT works, how it was developed, and how effective it is with trauma, visit this post on our blog: PTSD Treatment: Tapas Acupressure Technique.

To see TAT in action, click here.

(Photos: poly_mnia, Tapping)

hypnosis-zoomarIn PTSD thought process, emotions, reactions, actions and behaviors become habituated to the trauma experience. In order to heal it’s necessary to retrain your brain.

In the therapeutic arena hypnosis is frequently used with trauma survivors because it has such a high degree of efficacy:

The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially recognized hypnosis as a valuable and beneficial treatment as applied and used since 1958. In “Psychotherapy” magazine (Volume 7, Number 1), various types of techniques were listed and profiled in a review of relevant literature by Alfred A. Barrios, PhD. In the above quoted text, the techniques that proved to generate the greatest success in providing lasting change were the following (listed in order of success rate):

Hypnosis93% recovery after 6 sessions (approx. 1 1/2 months @ 1 session per week).

Behavior Therapy72% after 22 sessions (approx. 6 months @ 1 session per week).

Psychotherapy38% recovery after 600 sessions (approx. 11 1/2 yrs @ 1 session per week).

hypnosis-doctor_regalWhen you think of hypnosis do you think of an evil looking man swinging a watch on a chain saying, You are get-ting sleepyyy?

If this is your immediate reaction to the idea of hypnosis your database needs to be updated! Stage hypnosis (and today, even stage hypnotists don’t use this method) is very different from clinical hypnosis during which a therapist gently and easily relaxes a client through guided visualization.

The reason hypnosis works so well has to do with the way it transforms the subconscious mind’s perceptions and beliefs. To begin with, hypnosis works from the assumption that the subconscious mind (the veritable source of all of our internal power) is the storage space of all our past experiences and emotions. In this incredibly vast warehouse, traumatic experiences are filed away on both physical and emotional levels, the stimulus of which can affect our immune system and health. Processing old traumas and the emotional charges attached to them allows a patient to find internal resources that begin the healing process.

Think of your mind like a computer: the unconscious mind operates automatic body systems in the same way as a computer’s operating system; the subconscious operates like a hard drive by storing information; the conscious mind functions like RAM choosing what information is to be acted on moment by moment. Immediately, the supreme importance of the subconscious mind becomes apparent. In order to update any files, the subconscious must be engaged. We cannot change memories, but we can update how we feel about them. In order to do this, the critical factor of the conscious mind must be bypassed. This is achieved through hypnosis when the conscious mind is set aside during the so-called trance state.

The subconscious is the part of your mind burdened with the job of protecting you. It will do anything – even adopt negative behaviors – in order to keep you safe. When these protective measures no longer serve us we feel the need to change. This change is difficult to bring about because the subconscious mind is devoted to its imprinted perceptions. In its bypass of the conscious mind, hypnosis brings the subconscious to the forefront so that changes can be made via suggestions. Hypnotherapy helps change perceptions of memories, which in turn helps change perceptions of the self and hence, behavior. It’s all a very neat little package. The past cannot be changed or escaped, but our emotional and intellectual attitudes toward it can be radically altered. Change happens in the subconscious. Since emotions play a large role in our activity, thoughts and actions, they are an intuitive seat of transformation.

The truth is, we all go in and out of hypnotic states throughout the day. When you read, watch TV, drive or stare at the horizon you automatically slip into a hypnotic trance.

hypno-opens-minds-doctor_regalA few key things to know about clinical hypnosis:

  • Throughout the entire session you will be awake and aware.
  • You can choose to come out of hypnosis at any second.
  • Hypnosis is not about mind control; it is about choosing to relax to such a degree that the conscious mind lets down its defenses and the subconscious mind engages in change.

Hypnosis is also extremely effective when used in conjuction with Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

For more hypnosis information, including the first-hand account of a survivor benefiting from it, read the following posts from our blog, or visit the blog’s hypnosis label.

The History of Hypnosis

Why Hypnosis Works 

 

Interview with hypnotherapist, Laura King 

Top 10 Hypnosis Myths – Busted!

(Photo: zoomar, Doctor_Regal)

nlpNeuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a process by which language is used to reframe, reroute and redesign our memories, understanding and feelings about experience. Based on strategies for modeling human excellence NLP is a program designed to use language to interrupt and recreate neural pathways in the brain to optimize human functioning.

The brain filters stimuli and stores it within a large network of sensory representation systems, including sight, sound, touch, smell, feel and taste. An example of how this works: there’s a song you listened to often during the first time you ever fell in love. Now, whenever you hear that song you feel 1) a flush of happiness if the relationship went well, 2) a surge of sadness and remorse if things ended poorly.

All of our memories are coded this way. When something reminds us of trauma the brain immediately searches inside itself for associations and then represents back to you what it finds in the wayof mental pictures and emotions.

Neural pathways in the brain are created by experience. The more often these pathways and connections are fired the more they gain strength. For people struggling with PTSD this means their own minds continue to reinforce the negative neural pathways.

The techniques of NLP work by:

  • isolating personal thought and representation strategies
  • identifying where they are counter-productive
  • redirecting them for postive effects
Neural Synapse

Neural Synapse

The goal of NLP treatment is to assess where the representational strategies are not positively functioning and evolve them so that new neural pathways and actions are formed. NLP does this by:

  • focusing on the present
  • determing desired outcomes for the future
  • teaching people to use their brains to make change
  • eliciting behavioral strategies and making modifications
  • engaging the power of the subconscious mind and imagination

Neuro = the nervous system through which experience is recieved and processed through the five senses.

Linguistic = Language and nonverbal communcation systems through which neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning.

Programming = the ability to organize our communication and neurological systems to achieve specific desired goals and results.

The effects of NLP are often quick, immediate, long-lasting and self-empowering.

For further reading:

What is NLP?

NLP History, Concepts and Methods

Richard Bandler (co-creator of NLP) explains the basic foundation:

 

BerceliTension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE™) were developed by trauma specialist Dr. David Berceli to reduce the impact of traumatic experiences on the body. TRE™ was designed to be taught to large populations for whom trauma and PTSD are pervasive (such as military personnel, and natural disaster survivors), but also benefits anyone who may be holding stress and tension in their body. Benefits and reduction of stress related symptoms are usually reported within the first few sessions, and consistently include a reduction in anxiety and chronic pain, and improvements in sleep quality.

TRE™ was developed after observing the survival behavior of mammals in the wild. Having escaped life-threatening fight or flight situations, mammals automatically release excess energy from their body and restore balance to their nervous system via an innate neuro-muscular tension-release mechanism in the body. As mammals, humans also have access to this natural stress-release mechanism, and can benefit from it in the same way. TRE™ makes this possible via a short series of physical exercises that stretch the core muscles involved in the stress-release process, creating a shaking like mechanism in the musces that expel stress- and trauma-related tension from the body. As the pattern of muscular tension in the body changes, the brain establishes a neural pattern related to relaxation, releasing endorphins and other stress-reducing chemicals, and restoring the individual to their natural state of bio-chemical balance.

In contrast to the trembling that one can sometimes experience during fear, anxiety, or illness, the muscular movement evoked by TRE™ is both self-generated and self-controlled, and is therefore experienced without disturbance or displeasure. On the contrary, TRE™ is consistently reported to leave individuals feeling revitalized and restored, both mentally and physically. Resiliency (the ability to respond to crisis and then return to balance) appears to be significantly enhanced in individuals who use TRE™, and with practice, the stress-release mechanism reportedly takes less and less time to evoke. The Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE™) can be learned in a few sessions and then self-applied without professional guidance or equipment, making this an affordable therapeutic tool for all populations. TRE™ was recently given a Level 3 status by the prestigious Defense Centers for Excellence, and further study is now required to better understand the extent to which this technique could benefit our military personnel, their families, and our society as a whole.

TRE™ works best in combination with other type of bodywork modalities such Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation, experential therapies such as art and equine therapy, as well as other type of trauma treatment modalities such as EMDR, EFT and Somatic Experiencing. TRE™ is a set of exercises that can be easy to execute and one can see instant results which can be preferred by many over Somatic Experiencing, and can also be more effective for treating residual and complex ptsd as well as reduce the risk for retraumatization that is possible with other trauma modalities such as EMDR.

** TRE, LLC believes that TRE™ is best taught by Certified Professionals who have been educated to observe, work with, and teach self-regulating techniques to individuals who may experience PTSD, excessive anxiety, or traumatic stress. As with other trauma releasing modalities, emotional responses such as freezing and flooding may occur. If these responses are experienced, we strongly recommend that TRE be integrated with other therapies. You can find out more information at www.traumaprevention.com.

To see Dr. Berceli explain the concept of TRE live check out this video: