Trauma and PTSD therapy techniques – Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Life Coach and Hypnotherapist in Colchester Victoria Ward

My approach to Trauma and PTSD therapy

Initial Contact

Your first step is to send me a message via the contact form on this site, by email to info@victoriawardhypnotherapy.com or call/text 07813 251 152

You can say as much or as little as you’d like, as we will arrange a convenient time to speak on the phone so that you can tell me a little about what you would like help with, ask any questions that you have, and I can explain the practicalities of working together.

This first contact is a brilliant way for us to get to know each other a little, so that you can be sure that I am the therapist you would like to work with, and I can be sure that my approach is going to be a good fit for you.

Trauma can often be difficult to talk about, so you don’t need to go into detail here if you’re not comfortable doing so. We take this all at your pace, and every interaction is done in complete confidence without any judgement.

The Initial Face-to-Face Session

If we decide to work with each other, then we’ll set up the initial face-to-face consultation at my comfortable practice in Lexden, Colchester, Essex. It is a non-clinical environment, where you can be comfortable to speak in confidence and be heard without judgement. It is a supportive environment, conducive to healing.

Most of this session will be spent sensitively exploring your trauma and PTSD at a pace that is comfortable to you. You can tell me as much or as little in this session, as there is much work that can be done content-free until you feel more able to discuss what has happened to you.

We will explore the events that have led up to you coming to see me and the impact it has on your life. We will also look at your motivation for changing, and begin to create the image of the you you will become once you are free from the effects of trauma.

Depending on the time, we may then start with a gentle introductory technique, that could be a simple relaxation hypnosis, or one of the tools that I have to work directly with the emotions that arise when you think about the traumatic memories.

The initial session last approximately 1.5 hours


I have a broad toolbox of techniques that I have learned over the years of continuing my professional development. Here I will explain the main tools in a little more detail.

Eye Movement Techniques (also known as EMDR and EMI)

Eye Movement Techniques (such as Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprocessing EMDR and Eye Movement Integration) are used by the British Army to treat PTSD in soldiers returning from war zones. It is a gentle process that involves you following my finger with your eyes in a series of patterns designed to release trauma stored in the brain.

[news] World Health Organisation Recommend EMDR for PTSD

As we progress through a series of the movements, you will be asked to either focus on the feelings that arise in your body when you think about the trauma, or the images that you see in your mind. As with everything, this is done at your pace to a level that you feel comfortable with.

This technique amazes me with how quickly an emotional response can be reduced. Things that once seemed impossible to talk about can quickly become (in a matter of minutes some times) a simple story from the past that no longer causes that uncomfortable, uncontrollable emotional surge.

More information about EMDR/EMI here

The Rewind Technique

The Rewind technique originates from the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It works on the neuroscience principles of ‘Neuroplasticity’ and ‘Reconsolidation Theory’. This is the idea that our brains are constantly capable of change. That they are ‘plastic’ and malleable.

Neuroscientists have shown that our memories are not a fixed, accurate recording of events. Rather, they are flexible and can change over time, depending on our perspective of events and information we learn at a later date.

Every time we recall a memory, it has the potential to go back into storage changed. Often, when we recall a traumatic memory, we talk about the negative impact or it, how terrible it was. This means that if can be stored with added layers of negative emotion.

The Rewind Technique allows us to recall a memory, and send it back to the memory banks dramatically altered. We can change the memory so that it is less traumatic visually, audibly and in meaning.

This means that when the brain refers back to the traumatic event in order to plan a path of action in the present to keep us safe in the future, it no longer sees the event as life-threatening and has a reduced response to it.

Timeline Regression Therapy

Timeline Therapy is a classic hypnotherapy technique. During a timeline session, you will be gently guided back to the event of the trauma to watch it from a safe distance. This allows us to consider alternative perspectives that may not have been considered at the time.

For instance, a child will not be able to understand the actions of adults at the time a trauma may have occurred. With Timeline Therapy, you are able to observe and understand the event from an adult perspective, so that new learnings can be integrated into the subconscious.

Very often, trauma experienced in childhood is confusing to the child, as their brain has not yet developed the capability to understand what is going on. This can often result in feelings of shame and worthlessness. Timeline Therapy can help you to see how something was not your fault, or that what your brain understood at the time was a mistake.

Emotional Freedom Techinque (EFT, also known as ‘tapping’)

EFT involves tapping on specific parts of your face and hand while working through the thoughts, symptoms and emotions linked to your trauma. It is designed to interrupt unconscious patterns of thought, and emotional energy. It is closely related to acupressure and acupuncture.

Tapping is a brilliant technique to learn, so that you have easy access to an immediate tool that you can use should you be experiencing anxiety and fear related to your PTSD.

Hypnosis and Traditional Hypnotherapy

I used traditional eyes-closed hypnosis to consolidate the work that we do in session, and to reprogram your unconscious brain to make the changes that we agree on together.

I also use eyes-closed hypnosis to create the mental blueprint of the you that you want to become, free from trauma. Your brain cannot differentiate between something that is vividly imagined and something that is real. By rehearsing this new version of you, the new feelings, thoughts and behaviours that you desire can begin to be something that your brain works towards believing in reality.

If at any point you are no comfortable with working eyes-closed, this work can be done using MP3 recordings for you to listen to at home.

More information on Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be found here along with common fears and misconceptions about hypnosis.