The following text is an excerpt from a conversation with Todd Goodwin, Board Certified Hypnotist at GoodwinHypnosis.com, who was interviewed by Conor Flynn, host of the Rx Podcast (DrinkRxCoffee.com), on July 30, 2018.
This final segment explores what really causes post-traumatic stress and how to resolve it.
TODD GOODWIN: Apparently, foster children have a higher incidence of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, than even military veterans. It’s very high.
CONOR FLYNN: Really, I didn’t I didn’t know that.
TODD: Yeah, it’s interesting. I did some work with a foster organization some years ago. And I was surprised too, because we all think about veterans, right? But foster care, kids go through a lot of crap. Both of those groups, I don’t remember the percentages [of PTSD incidence], but it’s well into the double digits. And it’s not because the person was in foster care and was abused, it’s not because the person was molested or raped. It’s not because the person saw his fellow soldier buddy get killed in front of him. That’s not why they have the trauma. They have the trauma because of how they remember it and the things they’ve learned about themselves and the world as a result of that experience. We can’t change the past, but we can, in the work we do, help someone shift their perspective or their perception of the past, which then allows their behavior or their belief to change.
Someone who has post-traumatic stress typically has a belief, “I’m not safe.” Typically, in certain environments, that’s why there are triggers, “I’m not safe around men with mustaches; I’m not safe on an airplane; I’m not safe in a sexual situation, because of what happened before.” It’s not because of what happened, it’s what the personal learned. The belief creates the anxiety. And then the anxiety triggers coping mechanisms to remove the anxiety. And that’s where, you know, the undesirable habits come in. So it’s really a pyramiding of the root cause and then a layer of symptoms.
Our society tends to focus on symptoms, which is great if you’re a provider of a treatment, if you’re providing weed trimming services, you have the landscaper come and cut your grass every two weeks or something. You know, that’s great. But if it’s a weed, and you don’t want it there, why just trim it, it’s going to keep coming back? But if you’re selling the services for weed trimming, that’s great for you as the weed trimmer. But if the person really wants to get rid of it, you’re not going to do it just by talking about how you feel and what happened. There’s some value to that but doing it again and again is doing nothing but just reinforcing the story. I say this, not out of any kind of dispassion or contempt for people who have been traumatized. On the contrary, all of the PTSD symptoms, whether addictions, relationship problems, or anger issues, are, in most cases, fairly straightforward and manageable in terms of being able to actually resolve it. But people have come to believe that if they’ve been traumatized, something “bad” has happened to them, and much of the problem is their perception that it was bad.
CONOR: PTSD is curable, right?
TODD: I don’t even like the word cure, because that’s assuming you call it a disease or an illness, which I don’t believe it is. It’s a thinking problem paired with a certain emotional or psycho-physiological, (mind-body) conditioning. If someone has learned that they’re unsafe, and that something “bad” happened to them in a certain environment, then they have some chemical and physiological reaction, like a fight or flight response. And then they create associations between that action or experience and visual, auditory, and olfactory cues. You know, when I see, hear, smell, or feel something, it reminds me at a very unconscious level. Then, that can be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, as a hypnotist, I don’t diagnose people. Most people come to me and they say, “I was diagnosed with PTSD or anxiety, or I think I have it.” And that’s really secondary.
The bottom line is that it’s a thinking problem. And when someone deals with that problem, the way they’re thinking about it, which can sometimes be really quick, they can get over it completely. I’ve seen clients who were raped by multiple men in the same setting, a woman who found her husband in his car, having blown his head off. And she wasn’t able to sleep for 10 years without taking sleep meds, all kinds of things. You know, my wife, Gina, she’s seen someone who was a sex slave who was sold into that by her mom, from her teenage years. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of things that are really objectively awful…
CONOR: Do these things ever haunt you and some of the things that you hear?
TODD: No. I think partly because we don’t dwell in woundology. We don’t dwell on the problem.
CONOR: Do the two of you hypnotize each other to do hypnosis therapy?
TODD: Actually, sometimes we do. I mean, she’s amazing. And so sometimes we, you know, we can do self-hypnosis, but it’s always better to have someone objectively and so we do that. But the point is, all these things we’ve seen people for, what you would objectively say are extreme, awful kind of things that no one should ever have to go through. Yet, in all these cases, and many more, we were able to pull out the thorn that was in their side for all these years, causing them to scratch an itch and put anti-itch cream on it to deal with the discomfort. We figure, why don’t we just pull the thorn out? The thorn was the event or the perception of the event or events or experiences in their life. And a client recently that I finished seeing months ago, she was referred to me by a personal trainer, she was very overweight at 30 years old. Basically, when she was 12, her mother took her to a doctor for a respiratory infection, and he molested her in full view of the mother under the guise of a medical exam. Her mother did nothing, and they never talked about it. My client knew it was inappropriate and wrong for the doctor to do that. And then several years later, when she had sex for the first time, boom, she started gaining weight, her thyroid got imbalanced. And she gained well over 100 pounds. And ultimately, it was really her…
CONOR: Body’s response.
TODD: Yeah, that’s what I believe, and when we dealt with the anger at her mom, but that was also a symptom of who knows what her mom was thinking, you know, her mom had also been abusive to her. Who knows what was going on there? But ultimately, her shame and her anger, of and her anger at herself for allowing the doctor to do that, because she resisted at first, but he persuaded her. And she, you know, she could have fought him off. It wasn’t like she was five. But she didn’t. And most people, a lot of people who are raped or violated in that way, blame themselves, for allowing themselves to be in that situation, even if it’s not their fault at all. So she had to forgive herself. She had to, you know, forgive or accept the doctor who did this and her mother. And then once she was able to do that, the emotional eating went away. I haven’t done a follow-up to know if her thyroid became balanced. But that’s also possible too, because our physiology is influenced so heavily by our thinking that when our thinking changes, then our cells change, the chemistry in our body changes and hormones can get balanced.
If you have suffered from emotional trauma and would like to neutralize it and the related symptoms, visit http://trauma.goodwinhypnosis.com