James Duncan, CHt © 2007
Let’s look at the concept of PTSD. I’m going to put it right out there… I simply don’t like the term and I do not use it or acknowledge it as an operative term in my practice. Let me explain why I approach this serious concern for many people in such a way and why I believe the outcomes for this type of client are always rewarding as a result.
Just as I do with the word, DISEASE by separating it for all my clients and students into its component meaning of DIS-EASE, or “a lack of ease”. I feel the same way about Post Traumatic Stress DIS-ORDER. Meaning there is a lack of ORDER in the life of someone who is challenged by the effects of a past event.
The problem with the diagnosis of PTSD is that it becomes a label of victimization and subconsciously removes personal responsibility for the effects of the situation, so does the label of PTSD.
Why? Because once something has occurred (implied as past) everything after it is, in fact POST, so the label is subconsciously understood as ALWAYS TRUE. The term TRAUMATIC in combination with the POST, implies that this past was indeed traumatic and begins over time, on a grander scale to make ALL of the past (not just the event) a traumatic past. The word STRESS then anchors that the past of trauma CAUSES stress. Since we cannot un-experience the past the implied suggestion is that the past WAS traumatic and it DOES cause stress. Then of course, the DISORDER is perceived as something that is out of our control. “I can’t possibly change it because I have been told by an expert that I am suffering with a DISORDER”,
But if we divide it up as DIS-ORDER or “a lack of order”, we see it for what it is. This deflates the concepts of the label. It implies we CAN bring things back INTO order. It is in OUR control. We can all put things in order, from the names in our address book, to our clothes closet, to our thoughts and eventually our coping skills and emotions.
In a nutshell, that is my take on the PTSD label. That is only half of the equation though. The next step is to answer the question; how do we go about helping a client through this type of challenge and the label that goes with it? We need to approach it as a simple thing without the belief systems that go with the label.
First, stop using the term with the client and ask them to reframe their language as well and stop using the term PTSD. If they insist on using it, then suggest they use the whole name and not the Acronym and they must say it in a way which denies ownership of the label. “I was diagnosed with…” is a great way to talk about ANY challenge since a diagnosis is something that is done TO you from an outside source. You can’t own it. I teach this concept in “Reframing Dis-Ease” classes and lectures regularly. The key is that humans are possessive. What we HAVE we want to keep. What we LOSE or HAD we want to get back. It is simple human nature. So I and my clients never say “I have…” or “I had…” there are many ways to state the situation in a language that promotes overcoming the challenge without using those detrimental terms.
Second, find a new way to describe or name their CURRENT situation. Instead of calling it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you can do one of two things. Call it exactly what the trauma was or give it a new temporary expression of experience. An example might be, “I am overcoming the challenges of the Iraq War”. By naming it, the challenge becomes specific and finite and in some instances even has a “lifespan”. Or perhaps you might say, “I am overcoming some detrimental effects of a robbery”. The word SOME takes away the totality of the challenge and instead of MY HOUSE being broken into, you are taking away the possessive quality of the statement. MY gives it personalization and the word BROKEN has obvious detrimental meaning).
Start calling the issues PAST traumas, or even better PAST DETRIMENTAL EXPERIENCES, so that the suggestion puts the problem in the PAST where it belongs and where it literally is. The use of the term, POST places it in the now and just describes the timeframe of recognizing NOW came after the event and so the event is still the subconscious focus.
There are so many possible specifics within the presenting issues of anyone coming in with these concerns and this label, but the core of getting to the state of well-being that everyone deserves is to first erase the label and deflate the belief system created by that label. Then we can use the same tools we use every day by getting IN THE ZONE with the client and listening to what they are really telling you they need for themselves. Forget the label and your own beliefs about what it means and just look at the client as they describe their needs for well-being. You will be right where you need to be in helping that client to help themselves.
I like to say that in the world of hypnosis PTSD stands for, “Permanent Total Stress Deflation” or Permanent Tangible Stress Defeat”.
James Duncan, CHt. is a globally recognized master of hypnotherapy and vibrational healing techniques. His courses and lectures are attended by hypnotherapists, medical professionals and holistic practitioners from around the world. Visit him on the web at www.DuncanHypnotherapy.com