PTSD Treatment Hypnotherapy for PTSD By Matthew Tull, PhD Matthew Tull, PhD Twitter Matthew Tull, PhD is a professor of psychology at the University of Toledo, specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn about our editorial process Updated on June 25, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Dealing with the stress caused by a traumatic event can feel crippling. While there are several treatment options available—cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)—they don't work for everyone. Hypnotherapy can be a great alternative for those struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as symptoms of other anxiety disorders. B. BOISSONNET / BSIP / Getty Images Hypnotherapy and PTSD When you're hypnotized, you're in a trance-like state. Although this state appears similar to sleep, you're fully awake and aware of what's going on around you. You're able to relax and shut out the everyday world. While in this trance-like state, your therapist will help you safely access your memories to better understand the emotions surrounding your trauma. Guided by your therapist, you'll identify your triggers and tame the way you react or feel about them. It has been suggested that hypnosis may help prevent or reduce dissociation following exposure to a traumatic event, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and help people get in touch with memories and feelings associated with their traumatic experience. What Does Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy Feel Like? Is Hypnotherapy Effective? Many case studies and a few clinical studies have been done to demonstrate the success rate of hypnosis as a treatment option for PTSD. A meta-analysis of these studies concluded that hypnosis appears to be effective in alleviating PTSD symptoms. A few studies have even been done comparing the effectiveness of hypnotherapy to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy in treating PTSD. One study found that when used on its own, hypnotherapy was as successful as psychodynamic psychotherapy, sometimes even more so. Another study showed that hypnosis used in conjunction with CBT was just as effective as CBT alone in improving PTSD symptoms up to two years following treatment. How to Find a Therapist Hypnotherapy is a complex and controversial technique and it may not be for everyone. Your doctor or therapist will be able to help you determine if hypnotherapy is the right treatment option for your particular needs. If you are currently seeing a therapist who is not trained in hypnosis, you can ask them to provide you with a referral. You can find more information about treatment providers in your area who might offer hypnotherapy through professional organizations like the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. What Is Hypnosis? 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Kohen DP, Kaiser P. Clinical hypnosis with children and adolescents-What? Why? How?: Origins, applications, and efficacy. Children. 2014;1(2):74-98. doi:10.3390/children1020074 Rotaru T-Ștefan, Rusu A. A meta-analysis for the efficacy of hypnotherapy in alleviating PTSD symptoms. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2016;64(1):116-136. doi:10.1080/00207144.2015.1099406 Roberts NP, Kitchiner NJ, Kenardy J, Lewis CE, Bisson JI. Early psychological intervention following recent trauma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2019;10(1):1695486. doi:10.1080/20008198.2019.1695486 Institute of Medicine. Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2012. doi:10.17226/13364 Nisenoff CD. Psychotherapeutic and adjunctive pharmacologic approaches to treating posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry. 2008;5(7):42-51. By Matthew Tull, PhD Matthew Tull, PhD is a professor of psychology at the University of Toledo, specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for PTSD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.