HCT For The Relief and Control Of Chronic Pain

Author: Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Founder and Director, Advanced Pathways

 

You are not your pain. You can make that statement a reality by utilizing the powerful protocol of Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT).  HCT can harness your ability to retrain neural pathways and develop new patterns in the brain and body, to help you reclaim control.

HCT is a combination of clinical hypnosis/hypnotherapy, biofeedback, light/sound therapy, neuroplasticity training, working with the limbic system, cell memory, and more. This protocol has given patients, on an international basis, the ability to dramatically decrease pain levels (many do gain remission), increase restorative sleep, decrease and control stress, anxiety and/or PTSD, and regain their lives.

Clinical trial evidence over the past 10 years, confirms that hypnotherapy treatments are effective for reducing daily pain intensity levels in people with chronic pain.

My own experience of living with chronic pain (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) means that I have a real understanding of the impact it has on all areas of life. Chronic pain doesn’t just impact one area. It hits patients in ways that were never expected. The isolation, stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of helplessness can be overwhelming. The good news is this can change. You can have the ability to change the way you experience your body and your life – to take control again.

When pain persists, your role in managing it becomes really important. What you think, feel and do on a day-to-day basis, has an effect on your pain. In order to change your pain state it is necessary to change your thoughts and emotional responses.

HCT is a powerful tool that helps you take back control over your pain and your life by enabling you to change your thoughts and emotional responses to both your pain and to external factors. This will assist you to retrain neural pathways and calm down the over sensitized state of your central nervous system, helping you lay down new templates of response in the areas of the brain responsible for determining the pain experience.

With HCT you will be able to promote and experience the healthy effects of positive energy in your life, empowering you to get back in the driver’s seat of your life once again.

What exactly is chronic pain?
Pain is considered chronic when it occurs for most days of the week and persists for longer than three months. It includes persistent pain that no longer has an identifiable cause where the original injury has healed, as well as pain that has an identifiable cause such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, TMJ dysfunction, cancer, diabetic neuropathy, shingles, multiple sclerosis etc. It also includes persistent pain that has no identifiable cause at all.

It is now estimated that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Push the numbers out on an international basis and chronic pain is becoming an epidemic. The cause and treatment of persistent pain is complex, added to which is the enormous impact chronic pain has on a person’s ability to function effectively in the wider areas of family, social and work life.

Chronic pain and illness is debilitating, isolating and extremely stressful. There is no single approach or ‘magic bullet’ solution to treating chronic pain. Rather, it’s a matter of being in charge of your health management and decisions, choosing the right combination of treatment strategies and health care professionals to help you improve your health outcomes and the quality of your life.

How do we know that hypnosis can actually make a difference for pain?
There is physical evidence that hypnosis works to alleviate chronic pain, and medical imaging studies have shown that hypnotic therapy influences all of the cortical and neuro-physiological processes that underline pain. Current scientific research shows that hypnotherapy treatment causes both pain perception thresholds, and pain tolerance levels, to be strikingly increased.

Why use Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT) to treat chronic pain?
HCT is safe, drug free, non-invasive, evidence based and also works to support other medical and alternative therapeutic approaches you may be using in your multidisciplinary approach to healing. My own experience of utilizing a range of health options including hypnosis to gain long-term remission in my own journey with chronic pain (CRPS) is a valuable resource that I bring to patients. I can help you navigate those choices to find what’s right for you, so that you gain real improvements in wellbeing and quality of life.

Science has discovered that thoughts, emotions and physical movement create chemical reactions in our body, which either calm down our central nervous system or turn the alarm volume up. By changing your response to pain and the way you think about pain, you can in fact change your pain state. Plus, when we tap into previous memories of being healthy and happy it allows us to rebuild the neuro-net that our brain relies on and our cell memory.

How we focus our attention can have a significant impact on our experience of pain. Research has shown that being able to focus attention on a task, activity, or experience – or to distract yourself – reduces pain and distress for people in chronic pain. The more we can divert our attention from pain, the less signal we create in our pain pathways. The less signal in our pain pathways, the less pain receptors and sprouts our nerves create, and the less sensitive our nerves become. When engaged in or focus on enjoyable experiences, we increase our production of good chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as endorphins. And, as you know, these ‘good’ chemicals help to calm pain pathways even more. Because hypnotherapy is a state of focused concentration it can create and absorb you in a desirable and comfortable state, and your brain can start to pay attention to that instead of pain.

We also want to focus on the Vagus nerve and the importance it has in chronic pain. The Vagus nerve is one of the largest nerve systems in the body. The name Vagus is Latin for “wandering,” which describes the long and complicated path this nerve takes through the body and all of the different systems it comes in contact with. In some cases this nerve is linked to medical conditions such as low blood pressure, and in other cases doctors will stimulate this nerve to help treat disorders. Stimulating the Vagus nerve with something as easy as an abdominal breath can release endorphins, serotonin, and melatonin.

Biofeedback allows us to objectively monitor your heart rhythms and display the physiological level of coherence – an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in sync and balance, and the immune, hormonal and nervous systems function in a state of harmonious coordination.

Pain and the brain…
Pain is an output our brain makes to defend us. It is what alerts us to danger and it acts as a protective mechanism to make us stop and do what we need to, to take care of ourselves. Our brain decides if something is painful or not. This is hard to comprehend because we feel pain in parts of our body, therefore we believe the pain comes from those parts, but in fact pain is determined by the brain.

However, when pain is ongoing the body’s danger response to sensory input becomes over sensitized and the alarm system stays on red alert causing a process called ‘Central Nervous System Sensitization’; then fears, thoughts and beliefs become involved and start contributing to the chronic pain state. Chronic pain sufferers end up feeling as though pain has engulfed their life, feeling helpless and hopeless. The good news however, is that HCT can change that. It can help you break the chains that chronic pain holds you in, thereby letting in the possibility for change and new perspectives.

A Multimodality / discipline approach…
A multimodality approach is needed in order to address the different facets of physical and emotional health involved in the treatment of chronic pain. Once you decide to get involved in your own healing, as captain of your team, you will need to find the protocol and/or team that works best for you.

Clinical trial findings and MRI studies support the fact that hypnotherapy is a valuable tool that will support your ability to learn new ways of dramatically decreasing your chronic pain and dealing with the impact it has had on your life.

What the research tells us…
• The brain is plastic! The brain’s neuroplasticity means that it is not a fixed and final thing; it can change the way it works and the way your body responds to its messages. “Neruo is for ‘neuron’, the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems. Plastic is for ‘changeable…modifiable’” (The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge MD, 2007).
• The neural pathways that take messages to and from the brain can be altered, and new paths can be created. The latest brain research shows that our brain has the ability to change its function and structure through thought and activity, but only when it is in a state of openness, creativity and freedom from stress. Because hypnotherapy helps you reduce the significant levels of stress that occur in your body as a result of experiencing ongoing pain, it creates the necessary open and creative space for your brain to begin changing its responses. (Neuro Orthopaedic Institute Australasia, August 2011)
• Thoughts are one of the most powerful influences on your mood and emotions. The way you think about yourself, your situation, and your future is extremely important in chronic pain, for a number of reasons. The more you can reduce your own distress with your thinking, the more you reduce your adrenaline levels, which in turn is good for desensitizing your nervous system. The more you can generate helpful thinking patterns that improve your mood, the more helpful neurotransmitters you are likely to produce, such as opiates. These are your body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemicals. When your body produces ‘feel good’ chemicals, they help to reduce the level of signal in your pain pathways. (CPA Australia http://www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au)
• Research has shown that being able to focus attention on a task, activity, or experience – or to distract yourself – reduces pain and distress for people in chronic pain. An important point about attention is that we all only have a limited amount of attention to allocate to various aspects of our experience. If much of our attention is taken up by a particular thing, then there is less attention to be allocated to anything else. (CPA Australia http://www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au)
• There is growing recognition that hypnosis is helpful for altering the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to the pain state.
• The findings suggest that self-hypnosis training for chronic pain has two primary effects (a) it creates a long lasting (possibly permanent) change in the way the person and brain processes pain information, so that they experience a decrease in ongoing daily average pain, and (b) provides skills that they can use on a regular basis to experience periods of comfort.
• New sciences such as New Biology, Quantum Physics, and Molecular Science, all recognize that human beings are a dynamic organic process. These scientific perspectives contend that it is not the individual parts, but the whole that provides for in-depth understanding. The human organism is not perceived as isolated or compartmentalized, but rather is studied as a living system. No longer an “it “ – an object – the human being is recognized as a dynamic ever-changing process, embedded in a field of relationships and information. (From Changing the Language of Body: from Object to Process article by Liz Koch). This relational field moves between your thoughts, emotions, and body and is intrinsically linked. Hypnotherapy works with the whole person in a powerful way that harnesses their mind, body spirit self to achieve healing and transformation.
• Researchers are not sure exactly how or why biofeedback works. However, there does seem to be at least one common thread: most people who benefit from biofeedback have conditions that are brought on or made worse by stress. For this reason, many scientists believe that relaxation is the key to successful biofeedback therapy. When your body is under chronic stress, internal processes like blood pressure become overactive. Guided by a biofeedback therapist, you can learn to lower your blood pressure through relaxation techniques and mental exercises. When you are successful, you see the results on the monitor, which encourages your efforts. (University of Maryland Medical Center)
• The limbic system can influence chronic pain. A conceptual framework is presented suggesting conscious and subconscious interpretation of emotional responses to events can impact all systems of the body generating or modifying chronic pain symptoms. The limbic system can directly modify the activity of the autonomic, immune, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems. Through these systems it is able to alter the activity in all other systems. It is important to note that multiple systems are being affected simultaneously. The end result is that pain may be felt in a specific region, which can be viewed in the context of current knowledge on pain physiology and the neuromatrix. (University of West London)

You can utilize HCT to break the chains from chronic pain. Doing so will help you to regain your life by dramatically decreasing your pain, increasing restorative sleep, decreasing and controlling stress, anxiety and/or PTSD, and empowering you to engage in a meaningful life again.

 

Researchers Examine Self-Hypnosis to Manage Pain during Needle Biopsy

 

Author: Beth W. Orenstein

 

Date Published: Jan 29, 2007
Publisher: Radiology Today

 

More than 60% of women in the United States aged 40 and older will undergo mammography screening for breast cancer this year. Between 5% and 10% of their mammograms will result in abnormal or inconclusive findings that will require further study, according to the findings that will require further study, according to the American Cancer Society. If a suspicious lump is found through mammography, or by palpitation, a large core needle biopsy (LCNB) is likely to be performed.

 

Found to be a reliable diagnostic tool, LCNB is typically performed in an outpatient setting, which limits the use of intravenous (IV) drugs in reducing pain and anxiety. The practical problem is that administering would make the procedure longer, and suite time is typically at a premium. Also, IV drugs limit the woman’s ability to drive to work after the procedure. “Many of the women we encounter have to juggle job, home, and family, and being out is something they can’t afford,” says Elvira V. Lang, MD, associate professor of radiology at Harvard University in Boston.

 

In addition, with the woman lying prone so her breasts are accessible through a hole in the table, IV drugs could be a danger. “If you give drugs and the patient would have any reaction, it would be difficult to resuscitate her in that position,” Lang says.

 

Studied for More Invasive Procedures

 

Having had success with self-hypnosis during more invasive surgical procedures, Lang and colleagues decided to investigate its use during LCNB. They conducted a study involving 236 women who were undergoing LCNB at the university affiliated medical center between February 2002 and March 2004. Their research showed that self-hypnosis is not only a valuable pain management tool for women undergoing LCNB but also a cost effective strategy.

 

Lang presented their findings at RSNA 2006 in Chicago this past November. Previously, their research group had reported its findings in the September 2006 issue of Pain, the journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Lang’s research was supported by the U.S. Army Medical research and Materiel Command and the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

 

The women included in the study were required to give written consent and be able to hear and understand English; they also had to pass screenings for mental impairment and psychosis. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three types of care: standard care, empathy, or hypnosis.

 

Seventy-six women received standard care with members of the biopsy team comforting the patents in their usual way. Eighty-two women received empathetic attention, where a person in the procedure room was assigned to be responsive to their needs, asking whether he or she could do anything to make the patient more comfortable. The person was also instructed to avoid negative language. For example, one would say, “This is the local anesthetic,” rather than, “You will feel a burn and a sting.”

 

The final group of 78 women was given empathetic attention and taught self-hypnosis techniques. For the hypnosis, a research assistant read a script instructing the patient on techniques that would help her relax. “The script invited patients to roll their eyes upwards, close their eyes, breathe deeply, focus on a sensation of floating, and experience a pleasant setting of their choice with all their senses,” Lang says. The script also suggested how patients could transform their discomfort into a sensation of warmth, coolness, or tingling.

 

The research assistants included one male and one female physician, two female medical students, ad one female premedical student with a background in mental health sciences. The script provided the consistency needed to administer the hypnosis techniques for the study. “We actually videotaped all the procedures to make sure that the assistants did what they were supposed to,” Lang says.

 

Reproducibility

 

Lang says the results may have been better had the assistants been able to improvise for each patient’s situation, “but we wanted something that the average, compassionate healthcare provider can do” and that can be easily replicated, Lang says.

 

The research assistants received standardized training, under supervision of physicians and psychologists, in empathetic structured attention and hypnosis. They also participated in workshops; used teaching videos, reading materials, and a web-based course; and performed supervised practice with patients. The researchers then compared several factors, including levels of pain and anxiety, and procedure time and cost.

 

Lang says the women in the study had increased levels of anxiety, which is not surprising, adding that the woman are undergoing the procedure because they may have breast cancer and “the prospect of having breast cancer can be very scary. One out of eight women will develop breast cancer in the lifetime. So the odds are very high that a woman undergoing an LCNB knows another woman who has had breast cancer, or worse, she knows someone who had a breast biopsy and had a bad experience.”

 

Time is of the Essence

 

The researchers also found that the longer a patient is in the procedure room the greater her pain. “I think even if you weren’t to do anything, just lying on the table in those surroundings increases the pain experience even more,” Lang says. “That’s why we wanted to give these women something to get through that and, specifically, to address the anxiety.”

 

Anxiety and pain were measured prior to entering the procedure room using a Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Anxiety was also valuated in the procedure room using verbal scales of 0 to 10; a rating of 0 indicated no pain or anxiety while 10 indicated the worst pain and anxiety possible. Patients were asked to make pain and anxiety ratings every 10minutes. “These scales were used because the patient’s self- report is considered the single most reliable descriptor of the pain experience,” Lang says.

 

Results of the study showed that anxiety increased significantly in the women in the standard care group, while anxiety did not change in the empathy group, and decreased significantly in the hypnosis group. All three groups reported pain during the procedure, but the empathy and self-hypnosis groups reported significantly less pain than the standard care group.

 

The researchers also measured time and cost and found that neither differed significantly among the groups, even though the empathy and hypnosis groups had an additional assistant. The hypnosis group had the shortest procedure time and the lowest cost. For standard care, the procedure was 46 minutes and calculated to cost $ 161; for empathy care, the time was 43 minutes and cost $163; and the time for the hypnosis group was 39 minutes and cost $152.

 

Relaxing Staff Too

 

Lang attributes the shortened procedure time with hypnosis to the decreased level of stress. When using hypnosis, the stress is not only less for the patient, she says, but also for the treatment team. “The relaxation technique serves to calm and focus everyone involved in the procedure,” she says.

 

Lang adds that the patients learned a coping tool they can take with them and use to relieve anxiety through subsequent waits and workups related to their diagnosis and treatment. “We had women in the study who were found to have malignant cancer, which they had removed. During subsequent biopsies, they would ask to have self-hypnosis as well,” Lang says.

 

David Spiegel, MD, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, says he is impressed by Lang’s methodology and conclusions. “She has demonstrated in a very convincing way that a little bit of self-hypnosis goes a long way in the radiology suite,” he says. The results are significant because the study was large scale, randomized, and “elegantly conducted,” he adds.

 

While Lang’s results showed hypnosis did more to relieve the women’s anxiety than it did their pain, Spiegel says, “large core needle biopsies aren’t that painful, so I don’t think there is much room for improvement in that regard.” The hypnosis clearly had other advantages as well, he says, including shorter procedure times with fewer complications and the need for fewer medications.

 

Some people fear hypnosis because they view it as inducing a loss of control, Spiegel says; however, the study shows the opposite is true. When used correctly, it can actually enhance the patient’s sense of control over their emotional and sensory experience.

 

In an editorial in the same issue of Pain as the Lang group study, Spiegel points out the irony that hypnosis, the oldest form of psychotherapy in Western culture, can be successfully wedded to one of the newest medical interventions: LCNB for breast cancer diagnosis. Obviously, he says, “this old technique of refocusing attention can be utilized with great effectiveness to reduce pain and anxiety during a variety of medical procedures.”

 

Overcoming Tradition

 

Spiegel also says that while physicians and their patients “may be skeptical of treatments that involve talk and relationships rather than medications and nerve blocks, “this study, as well as previous work by Lang and her colleagues, showed that “hypnosis works during medical procedures.” Spiegel hopes physicians won’t dismiss the idea of hypnosis simply because “there is no intervening pharmaceutical industry to sell the product. We don’t use dangling gold watches anymore,” he writes.

 

Lang, who is now chief medical officer for a biomedical device company, says she plans to continue her research and promote hypnosis as a way of alleviating pain in patients undergoing procedures in the radiology suite. She has begun another large study of the use of hypnosis for patients undergoing an invasive procedure where the blood vessels supplying tumors are blocked.

 

Some physician groups have already adopted their model, Lang says. “The next step is to have a broader introduction in to hospitals. We’ve already trained people in our interventional radiology division and are training more in our breast division. We’ve been asked by other radiology departments to help them learn how to do this.”

 

“This research,” Lang says, “embraces a holistic approach combining ‘high-tech’ with ‘high-touch’ that respects the needs of women during the stressful times of breast biopsy and…that can be successfully applied to a number of other interventional procedures.”

Beth W. Orenstein, a freelance medical writer, is a regular contributor to Radiology Today.

CRPS – You Don’t Have To Give In To Your Pain…

I attended the RSDSA conference in LaJolla yesterday.  The theme of the conference was, “Treating the Whole Person: Optimizing Wellness.”  I love the philosophy behind treating the whole person and optimizing wellness, because that is how each person will regain their life.  That’s how I did it!  

 

It was a great experience to meet other people that had been diagnosed with CRPS/RSD and their caretakers.  I’ll be honest this was the first RSDSA conference that I had been to.  I look forward to going to more in the future and hopefully being a speaker too.

 

One common thread that I heard throughout the day was different ways for CRPS patients to cope with their pain, to put small goals in place that they can achieve, to stay grounded, to look to the positive, etc.  I love all of these suggestions.  I know they help and are key in helping to get through those tough days when pain levels are high.

 

Yet from a couple of the doctors that spoke I heard comments that I didn’t agree with:  “Providing mere relief…”, “Results are good…” and “Healthier with their CRPS”.  As someone that was diagnosed with CRPS (type 2), lived with it for 6+ years, tried all Traditional treatment options, was treated globally, and finally gained remission in 2013 – I think I can say that from a patient prospective the above comments were not music to my ears.  Yes, it is important to be as healthy as possible but it is just as important to have some type of tangible results for the patient in regards to dramatically decreasing pain levels on a long-term basis.

 

I heard heartwarming stories about young ladies that pushed through their pain to regain some normalcy in their life, but they are still dealing with the CRPS demons.  Whether it was a new injury that caused the CRPS to return or perhaps it people have learned to push through their pain; either way there has to be a better way.

 

There is a huge push for Ketamine Infusion therapy right now for CRPS and other conditions.  I know it can bring short-term relief to CRPS patients and then follow-up Ketamine boosts are needed to stay pain free.  Is this the right treatment option for you?

 

I listened to a Naturopathic Doctor talk about the need to change the paradigm and balance the body.  I completely agree with these statements.  What I didn’t agree with was being “healthier with CRPS”.  I don’t know about you but I can be the healthiest person on this planet but if I am still in pain then I am not too happy.   I’ve actually treated athletes that were diagnosed with CRPS.  Their concern was centered around their pain.

 

What we have to look at is CRPS and most chronic pain conditions including chronic migraines are also tied into the Limbic System in the brain.  Dr. Sajben talked about the glia and how important they are in the pain process.  We have to take into consideration the ‘mind-body’ connection if we want to break the pain loop, help CRPS and chronic pain patients to get out of fight/flight, to balance the ANS, and address many other issues associated with chronic pain.  These connections have to be made.  Then we have to treat the whole person.  This is not just the chronic pain.  It is everything tied in with it:  stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and/or PTSD.  Once an individual is able to regain normalcy in these areas then they will regain their life.  Yes, it is possible.

 

I personally don’t believe that any person diagnosed with chronic pain has to give in to their pain or live with extremely high pain levels.  With HCT (Hypnosis Combined Therapy) we have found that chronic pain patients, CRPS, and other diagnosis have been able to dramatically decrease pain levels and many gain remission.  This is an evidence based, non-invasive, drug-free protocol that is providing long-term relief.  HCT: clinical hypnosis, biofeedback, light/sound therapy, neuroplasticity training, working with the Limbic System, cell memory and more… is allowing people to regain their lives when they thought they had exhausted all their options. 

 

It is important for every pain patient on a global basis to find the treatment protocol that is right for them.  We are all individuals and as such what works for one may not work for all.  Please do your research, ask questions and be your own advocate. 

 

PTSD: Facts, Signs and Treatment Options

By:  Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. Families of victims can also develop PTSD, as can emergency personnel and rescue workers.

Sometimes these symptoms don’t surface for months or years after the event or returning from deployment. They may also come and go. If these problems won’t go away or are getting worse—or you feel like they are disrupting your daily life—you may have PTSD.

You feel on edge. Nightmares keep coming back. Sudden noises make you jump. You’re staying at home more and more, and isolating yourself from the outside world.  Could you have PTSD?

If you have experienced severe trauma or a life-threatening event, you may develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress, commonly known as posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, shell shock, or combat stress. Maybe you felt like your life or the lives of others were in danger, or that you had no control over what was happening. You may have witnessed people being injured or dying, or you may have been physically harmed yourself.

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include recurring memories or nightmares of the event(s), sleeplessness, loss of interest, or feeling numb, anger, and irritability, but there are many ways PTSD can impact your everyday life.

Some factors can increase the likelihood of a traumatic event leading to PTSD, such as:

  • The intensity of the trauma
  • Being hurt or losing a loved one
  • Being physically close to the traumatic event
  • Feeling you were not in control
  • Having a lack of support after the event

Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common; and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD most often begin within three months of the event. In some cases, however, they do not begin until years later. The severity and duration of the illness vary. Some people recover within six months, while others suffer much longer.

Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into three main categories, including:

  • Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
  • Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
  • Increased Emotions: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.

Young children with PTSD may suffer from delayed development in areas such as toilet training, motor skills, and language.

Who Gets PTSD?

Everyone reacts to traumatic events differently. Each person is unique in his or her ability to manage fear and stress and to cope with the threat posed by a traumatic event or situation. For that reason, not everyone who experiences or witnesses a trauma will develop PTSD. Further, the type of help and support a person receives from friends, family members and professionals following the trauma may influence the development of PTSD or the severity of symptoms.

PTSD was first brought to the attention of the medical community by war veterans, hence the names shell shock and battle fatigue syndrome. However, PTSD can occur in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. People who have been abused as children or who have been repeatedly exposed to life-threatening situations are at greater risk for developing PTSD. Victims of trauma related to physical and sexual assault face the greatest risk for PTSD.  Chronic pain patients that have been through numerous procedures, surgeries and have dealt with immense pain for years face the risk for developing PTSD.

What are the signs of PTSD?

A wide variety of symptoms may be signs you are experiencing PTSD:

  • Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
  • Having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again
  • Feeling emotionally cut off from others
  • Feeling numb or losing interest in things you used to care about
  • Becoming depressed
  • Thinking that you are always in danger
  • Feeling anxious, jittery, or irritated
  • Experiencing a sense of panic that something bad is about to happen
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having trouble keeping your mind on one thing
  • Having a hard time relating to and getting along with your spouse, family, or friends

It’s not just the symptoms of PTSD but also how you may react to them that can disrupt your life. You may:

  • Frequently avoid places or things that remind you of what happened
  • Consistent drinking or use of drugs to numb your feelings
  • Consider harming yourself or others
  • Start working all the time to occupy your mind
  • Pull away from other people and become isolated

What is the treatment for PTSD?

If you have PTSD, it doesn’t mean you just have to live with it. In recent years, researchers from around the world have dramatically increased our understanding of what causes PTSD and how to treat it.

Traditional medicine will state there are two types of treatment that have been shown to be effective for treating PTSD: counseling and medication. Professional counseling can help you understand your thoughts and discover ways to cope with your feelings. Medications, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are used to help you feel less worried or sad.

Unfortunately, many people that undergo these two types of treatment are still left with signs and symptoms of PTSD.

I recently read an article about some new research where they were utilizing MRT (Magnet Resonance Therapy) to help treat PTSD.  Yes, it is a drug-free and non-invasive treatment option, but at the same time every treatment it exposing the patient to radiation.  The treatment protocol is daily 30 minutes treatment for up to two months. What a tradeoff, radiation exposure for possible relief of PTSD.

The other option is also a drug-free, non-invasive treatment protocol that involves clinical hypnosis with a multi-therapeutic approach.  This combination works with the neuroplasticity of the brain, the physiology of the body and mixes that with hypnosis to give patients a scientifically designed program to meet their personal needs.  Our approach empowers the patient to take charge of their health, life, to open up new pathways and create a more succinct, healthy and successful future.

You may need to work with your doctor or counselor and try different types of treatment before finding the one that’s best for dealing with your PTSD symptoms.

What can I do if I think I have PTSD?

In addition to getting treatment, you can adjust your lifestyle to help relieve PTSD symptoms. For example, talking with other Veterans or individuals who have experienced trauma can help you connect with and trust others, exercising can help reduce physical tension, and volunteering can help you reconnect with your community. You also can let your friends and family know when certain places or activities make you uncomfortable.

Your close friends and family may be the first to notice that you’re having a tough time. Turn to them when you are ready to talk. It can be helpful to share what you’re experiencing, and they may be able to provide support and help you find treatment that is right for you.

Take the Next Step – Connect:

Whether you just returned from a deployment, you’ve been home for 40 years, or you’re dealing with PTSD from chronic pain – it’s never too late to get professional treatment or support for PTSD. Receiving counseling or treatment as soon as possible can keep your symptoms from getting worse.

You can also consider connecting with:

  • Your family doctor: Ask if your doctor has experience treating PTSD or can refer you to someone who does
  • A mental health professional, such as a therapist
  • Your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center: VA specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans
  • A spiritual or religious advisor
  • Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

If you or a loved one is living with PTSD and traditional treatments have not helped please consider contacting Advanced Pathways Hypnosis.  We offer a drug-free, non-invasive treatment option that is scientifically designed.  Advanced Pathways utilizes a multi-therapeutic approach based on breakthrough research from leading academic institutions to ensure the best result for our patients.

Contact us today at (714) 717-6633 for a FREE confidential telephone consultation, or contact us via email at: Info@AdvancedPathways.com.

A Christian Understanding of Hypnosis

By: Traci Patterson – Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

I am a Christian myself; I was a volunteer with Young Life for many years and served as Christ’s ambassador to youth from the foster care system too.  Then my journey took a turn and I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  This turning point took my life in a different direction and introduced me to many things that I would have never experienced; good and bad.  Bad, being chronic pain and a debilitating illness.  Good, a new career path in the field of Hypnosis / Hypnotherapy, and helping others in the same way that I was helped.

After I got into remission with my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) via clinical hypnosis (that included a multi-therapeutic approach) I took the steps to gain my certifications and credentials in Hypnosis, and additional certifications in Pain Management and Cancer Care.  I already had a background in the healthcare industry, and with my experience as a chronic pain patient this was a natural transition for me.  I wanted to bring the information that helped me regain my life to those suffering needlessly as I had for so many years with chronic pain.

Then, an interesting thing happened after I announced that I was opening an office in the field of hypnosis.  I received emails from some in the church that felt that this was not a Christian way of treating chronic pain, others referred to hypnosis as mind control and a few felt it was perhaps witchcraft.  No one took the time to ask me questions.  Instead they made assumptions based upon misinformation, stage shows they had seen or Hollywood movies they had watched.

Since I started my practice as a hypnotist there are still some in the Christian religion that want to have nothing to do with me as a hypnotist / hypnotherapist. In light of this very narrow minded view of the church, I thought it was good that I write something about the truth of hypnosis and hypnotherapy (from a Christian’s point of view). That is the reason for this article.

Hypnosis has been present since the dawn of mankind as an ancient healing treatment. The popularity of its use has gone up and down, according to societal factors.  Early man used drums and chanting to create altered states. The Roman Empire, in particular, was especially keen on hypnotic states and their healing effects.  Christianity was spreading when the Roman Empire was about to collapse.  Many early Christian leaders frowned upon hypnotic practices and fulminated against it as white witchcraft. Many evangelical authors referred to hypnotists as “charmers” and “enchanters”.  They believed that hypnosis put the soul in jeopardy by putting it in a passive receptive state, thereby opening the door to morbid spiritual influences.

What made the early priests and rabbis take such a strong stand against hypnosis?  Part of the reason was because healing in hypnosis seemed to take place without God. Priests were afraid that people would no longer believe in the power of God.  The concern may not even have been religious.  It was a politics of numbers.  If more followers fell away from Christianity, the priests would lose their power.

Today, hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious.  Most religious groups accept the proper and ethical use of hypnosis for helping people.  Hypnosis is steadily gaining recognition in the world as the means to help people be successful and experience abundance in their lives. The late Pope Pius gave his approval of hypnosis, stating that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted.  In the context of medical hypnosis, patients are in safe hands, and on the road to recovery.  Practitioners have an ethical code, and it is important to note that hypnotists have no mind control powers. They can’t read the future, can’t cast spells or talk to the dead.  Plus there are many studies that have been done on the efficacy of hypnosis by Stanford University, Harvard, Yale, Mayo Clinic, NIH and in Sweden.

There is also an irrefutable safeguard of hypnosis that keeps hypnotists from abusing the power.  Any suggestion or idea not in accordance with the patient’s beliefs, morals, wishes, principles, or desires will quickly and automatically be rejected.  No one can make anyone do anything they do not wish to do through hypnosis.  If the hypnotist gives a suggestion and the person absolutely does not want to accept that suggestion, then he will not do it.  No one can be hypnotized against his will.  As God’s creatures, humans have the freedom to choose and decide and act; free will.

When evangelical authors wrote that hypnosis opened the door to evil spirits, they did not fully understand the Word of God.  Jesus says that light and darkness cannot live together.  Christ is the light, so if you are saved, that means Christ lives within you.  If Christ lives in you, it means no demon or evil spirit can take residence.  The light of Christ drives out the darkness.  It is much like the case of the leper – those with faith in their therapists, who trust and believe that hypnotherapy can help/heal them will get well.  Those with faith well – placed can and will be healed, inside and out.  It is true that there are still some among us who are a little wary of hypnosis.  In actuality, hypnosis is a powerful and valuable tool God has given to man to heal the mind and body.  God created hypnosis for the good of man.  He has a purpose in allowing us the ability to alter our consciousness, even if it seems to take place without Him.  But nothing takes place without his knowledge and permission.  Hypnosis and faith in God can work hand in hand to turn lives around.

Jesus indicated by his teachings that we should help people to live life to the fullest and to relieve pain whenever possible.  Hypnosis is a means to help people live a better and more abundant life and is a means of reducing and/or eliminating pain.  This was the main treatment that helped me to get pain free and into remission with my CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).

The Bible records several instances of hypnosis:  In the book of Acts, it mentions, “Peter fell into trance.” In the same book, there is also a reference to an apostle healing a person by gazing into his eyes. “This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he began to walk.”  There are also various hypnosis acts performed by Jesus to manifest miracles.

Hypnosis has been used in place of anesthesia in World War I, and is used in modern day to rid unwanted behavior, relieve headaches, relieve chronic pain, induce pain-free labor etc.

Often, patients seeking solutions experience lack of confidence / focus and have ongoing issues because of limiting beliefs or a multitude of misinformation.  In hypnosis, the subconscious mind directs millions of neurons to produce positive mental pictures.  A patient can hold and project the idea and image of health, wellness or ‘abundance’ within the mind, causing it to happen in reality.  This therapy is in accordance to Christian beliefs.  Jesus said, “I come so that you may experience life in abundance.”

In Proverbs 23:7 it states that as a person thinketh in his or her heart so is he/she.  This can be interpreted that whatever images or thoughts held in the mind becomes reality. Picture happy moments, experience it again in your mind. By thought, you make feelings present again. The use of positive imagery improves life and health.

The brain is the channel which God communicates with Christians.  By using hypnosis to overcome the ruinous effects of negative thinking, anger, discontent, health issues and selfishness, we can keep our minds pure for God.

Frequently, unhappiness and discontentment are caused by our reaction and thoughts to situations.  It is estimated that 75% of cancers and body pains are caused by unresolved emotions.  In the Bible, God calls us to experience a renewing of our minds.  As we change the way we view things via hypno-suggestions, the same positive changes are manifested in our lives.  We are able to let go of the bad habits we once clung to.  We attract the abundance we desire.  We dissolve our hurts and sorrow.

During the storm in the sea of Galilee, the apostles panicked. “Wake up, Jesus, don’t you care that we perish?” Jesus said, “Have no fear.  I am with you. Peace be with you.” And the disciples grew calm.  If you are a Christian in the midst of a crisis, God is present amidst your broken hopes and dreams and stress.  In life, when the harsh winds of illness or injury blow, when we experience sorrow or grief, realize that we can, too, experience peace in the midst of the storm. This peace comes from knowledge that He is with us to endure it all.

Through positive thinking and optimism; relaxation and imagery induced by hypnotism; life can get better.  The past is still there, but we can begin where we are.  I had an opportunity to experience this first hand with my journey with CRPS.  I utilized hypnosis to regain my life, and it allowed me to take the steps to do things that I would not be doing otherwise.  With hopeful expectations comes a new life.

In Christ, suffering is not removed. It is transformed into victory.  The setback experienced causes the patient to forge a closer bond with God.  In the years ahead, may those who discount hypnosis come to see its value as a gift from God to help/heal us and the means from which we can experience his blessings.

The proper use of hypnosis can help those suffering with chronic pain, CRPS, Fibromyalgia, Arachnoiditis, Migraines, PTSD, stress, anxiety, phobias, help break unwanted habits, and more!  Owner and Clinical Hypnotist – Advanced Pathways Hypnosis 8 Corporate Park, Suite 300, Irvine, CA 92606.

714) 717-6633  |  http://www.Info@AdvancedPathways.com http://www.AdvancedPathways.com

© Copyright Advanced Pathways Hypnosis. All Rights Reserved

Achieve Your Goals in 2015

by: Traci Patterson, Owner of Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

Ok, folks – January is heading to a close.  How close are you to achieving your goals that you set as a New Year’s Resolution?  Are you already making strides or getting frustrated?

How many times have you made those resolutions a reality?  How would you like to make it happen for you this year?  Or better yet, for those of you that have been dealing with a chronic pain condition and have been told you have limited options – are you ready to take control of the pain and regain your life?

Join me for private one on one session(s) that will allow you to learn how to make the changes you so desperately want to make in your life, health and wellbeing.  I offer individual sessions or a week long program geared towards helping those individuals with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, CRPS/RSD, chronic back pain, cluster headaches/chronic migraines, Arachnoiditis, PTSD, chronic stress/anxiety, and other health/wellness issues see fast relief and results.

At, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis, a week long program consists of:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Neuroplasticity Training
  • Biofeedback
  • Light/Sound Therapy
  • Issue Solution Technique
  • EMT
  • and more.

Once you take the step into a week long program you can expect:

  • Significant decrease in pain, possibility of getting to zero pain or remission
  • Release of unwanted stress and anxiety
  • Empowerment
  • Gaining insight and knowledge about techniques and tools to utilize in your future:
    • Personal growth
    • Health
    • Relationships
    • And every other area of your life.
  • Control of your life
  • New perspective
  • and so much more!

Why? Because you deserve to have your life back, you have a right to live each and every day without the heavy burdens of living with chronic pain or a debilitating condition.

Yes, I know what it is like to live with the everyday burdens of chronic pain because I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in 2007. The final treatment protocol that helped me regain my life and get into remission was a very similar program! I continue to be 100% pain free and am honored to have the ability to help others to regain their lives just as I did.

Testimonial:

I went through a week of treatment with Traci in August, 2014, after being close to disabled for many years. The treatment worked wonders, partly because of the nature of the treatment, but also because of Traci’s customizing each client’s treatments to their own interest and goals.  I highly recommend this form of treatment, and highly recommend Traci as a Certified Hypnotist. She’s gone through her own personal journey of pain and recovery and truly understands. Thank you Traci, with all my heart!” ~ Colleen G.

Take the first step to achieving your goals. Call or email Traci at Advanced Pathways Hypnosis to obtain additional information.

714.717.6633   |   Traci@AdvancedPathways.com   |   http://www.AdvancedPathways.com