Monday, August 14, 2017

How the Body Expresses Extreme Emotional Trauma

(This blog was originally posted on August 1, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

When trauma or extreme emotional distress occurs, if the person cannot (verbally) express and work through and resolve feelings about the event, these emotions may be manifested as physical symptoms. As I explained in a previous blog titled Body Syndromes, these symptoms are likely to occur in areas of the body that correspond to the trauma or presenting issue. For example, if a woman is raped she may subsequently experience vaginal tightness that prevents any kind of sexual pleasure and even find intercourse painful.

When psychologist and hypnotherapist John Kappas, Ph.D., treated these symptoms in hypnotherapy, the Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder recommended explaining how the client’s subconscious denial of the rape may have contributed to these symptoms. If appropriate and if she was ready to deal with the trauma, a hypnotherapist could help her go through the stages of loss during hypnotherapy, he said.

Dr. Kappas also advised including the client’s husband/partner in the therapy using the Systems Approach even if the other person is not present during the sessions. This inclusion is necessary because the client’s past trauma is likely affecting their sexual relationship; or, finally confronting the emotional trauma caused by the rape, in therapy, may have repercussions on the current relationship.

“It’s possible that removing the denial will reveal traumas,” the HMI founder warned. Therefore, the hypnotherapist must correct the client’s denial mechanism but not remove it completely. The hypnotherapist would also need to bring up more of her physical suggestibility to help her work through her physical symptoms*, he added.

*California law allows access by California residents to complementary and alternative health care practitioners who are not providing services that require medical training and credentials. The purpose of a program of hypnotherapy is for vocational and avocational self-improvement (Business and Professions Code 2908) and as an alternative or complementary treatment to healing arts services licensed by the state. A hypnotherapist is not a licensed physician or psychologist, and hypnotherapy services are not licensed by the state of California. Services are non-diagnostic and do not include the practice of medicine, neither should they be considered a substitute for licensed medical or psychological services or procedures.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
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