5 Ways Hypnotist Paul McKenna Uses Hypnotherapy for Trauma

9 minutes read -
AI-generated image of a woman with her eyes closed going through a session of hypnotherapy for trauma
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Highlights: Navigating the aftermath of trauma can be daunting. Paul McKenna shares how you can use hypnotherapy for trauma and reclaim your peace.
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There you are. An overwhelming sensation washes over you as you gasp for breath. Your heart races, palms sweat. And numbness—all you can feel is numbness.

What happened? Where am I?” pours into your mind as it whirlwinds with disjointed thoughts. And everything is passing in front of you in a chaotic blur.

This is how trauma can feel like. And as life moves forward and you’re brought back to reality, any little happenstance can trigger you to spiral yet again into another episode.

How can you get out of this turmoil? Three words: hypnotherapy for trauma.

If you don’t take responsibility for programming yourself, then someone else will,” as Paul McKenna, a renowned hypnotherapist and behavioral scientist, says in his Everyday Bliss Quest on Mindvalley. And hypnotherapy can help you go from trauma to tranquility.

What Is Hypnotherapy for Trauma Healing?

Hypnotherapy is a powerful method that works on your trauma bond—the causes of which sit in your subconscious mind. It uses the power of suggestion when you’re in a state of awareness and receptivity. This is what’s called “hypnosis.”

The definition of hypnotherapy, based on the American Psychological Association, is “the use of hypnosis in psychological treatment.” It can be used for quick therapy to help ease symptoms and change behavior patterns. Or it can be used in long-term therapy to help adjust or change someone’s personality.

This approach contrasts with traditional therapies, which often focus on coping with or managing symptoms rather than addressing the root causes. And according to Paul, it’s a method that speaks directly to your subconscious. And as your beliefs shift, your attitudes shift, your mind shifts and your body heals. 

Hypnotherapy for children, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and so on and so forth—it can address various forms of trauma. 

With soldiers in particular, I’ve noticed that two people can go through the same horrific ordeal and yet come away with completely different experiences,” Paul explains in his Mindvalley Quest. “The difference comes in the way that they interpreted the events.”

So whether your trauma results from a single event or prolonged exposure to a harmful environment, hypnotherapy can offer an effective path toward healing and recovery.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work for Trauma?

During a hypnotherapy session, the individual is guided into deep relaxation and focused attention, a.k.a. hypnosis. And this state helps foster an openness to suggestion and allows the therapist to communicate directly with the person’s subconscious mind.

So when it comes to a traumatic event, the memories associated with it often get stored in a person’s subconscious mind. And these, particularly the intense emotions and feelings they evoke, can trigger symptoms of trauma and PTSD. 

Very often, one of the reasons people have amnesia from particularly stressful things is because that’s the way the brain pushes it away so that you don’t have to deal with the pain or live in the pain.

— Paul McKenna, trainer of Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss Quest

So using various techniques, the hypnotherapist can help the person address the trauma indirectly. And this process can significantly lessen the intense effects of the trauma, helping the person live a more fulfilled and joyful life.

Hypnotherapy Techniques for Trauma & PTSD Healing

The thing to note, according to Paul, is that the trigger symptoms aren’t all the same; it really depends on the person and the type of PTSD they have. It could be nightmares, panic attacks, a sense of foreboding, and so on. So what works for one person may not work for another. 

That’s why there are several techniques in hypnotherapy for dealing with trauma. Here are five (of many) that Paul teaches in his Mindvalley Quest as well as the Certified Hypnotherapist program on Mindvalley:

1. Hypnotic trance

This technique is at the heart of hypnosis. It’ll help you:

  • Achieve deep states of relaxation,
  • Have more energy, and
  • Be more effective. 

It’s essentially going into a state of deep relaxation, which helps make you more receptive to the hypnotherapist’s suggestions. And it’s in these moments that you’re relaxed, your mind is open, and your critical thinking barriers are lowered.

Just 25 minutes every day will dramatically improve your life,” says Paul. So put on your headphones and press play.

https://youtu.be/invPy-f_DPA
Paul Mckenna: Hypnosis for Stress Relief | Mindvalley Meditations

Warning: Do not use this technique when driving or operating machinery. Only use it when you can safely relax completely.

2. TFT tapping

Tap, tap, tap. Who knew that using one finger and tapping on a certain part of your body could effectively reduce stress, depression, trauma, and even compulsion? 

That’s what science has shown, with the help of Professor Roger Callahan, who created this technique, Thought Field Therapy (or TFT for short). He discovered that a specific pattern of tapping on key points of the body can have a rapid, reliable, and predictable effect on your feelings. It’s essentially a fusion of modern scientific approaches with the ancient understanding of acupuncture.

With a series of taps in specific places on the body,” Paul explains, “we can reduce the intensity of an emotional feeling, of depression or unhappiness, and establish calm relaxation.”

3. Havening Technique

As the name suggests, the Havening Technique puts you in a “haven,” or safe place. It uses touch patterns combined with specific eye movements and visualizations. 

And using these patterns, as Paul highlights, can “create a massive amount of delta waves in the brain, which produce a wonderful feeling of calm.” 

There’s even science to back its effectiveness. One study, in particular, shows that within a few minutes, this technique can:

  • Reduce feelings of unhappiness and sadness, and
  • Relieve anxiety, trauma, and pain.

The effect of the specific sequence,” Paul adds, “is there to reset the way that your brain interprets and responds to stress.” And what this does is alter the landscape of your brain chemistry so that you feel calmer in challenging situations or when you’re remembering something stressful.

Watch a demonstration by Paul McKenna at Mindvalley University:

4. Rewire unpleasant memories

Trauma can happen in any shape or form. Soldiers at war, being in an accident, getting abused or harassed—the list goes on. And all are valid.

And even though that event only happened once in the real world, traumatic memories play in your mind over and over again.

So what can help? One technique Paul often demonstrates is one that, as he describes in his Mindvalley Quest, “permanently disconnects the feelings of upset and trauma from the memory of what happened.”

Here’s one of the ways to do it:

  1. Play that traumatic experience backward as fast as you can, from the point just after the trauma was over. 
  2. See that you survived it.
  3. Play it back to the moment before it occurred.
  4. Do it several times, each time faster and faster, until it recodes the experience in your mind.

If this hypnotherapy for past trauma is done properly, you should be able to still remember what happened but not get upset about it in the same way.

5. The Big Mind Technique

This technique of hypnotherapy mixes Zen Buddhism and Western psychology. It’s a guided process where you can explore different parts of your own consciousness, like your compassionate or angry selves. And as a result, you understand yourself better, grow personally, and gain spiritual insights.

According to Paul, the Big Mind Technique can help you achieve “a depth of inner peace in minutes that would often take a seasoned meditator decades of practice to reach.” And this has also been reflected in a study by the University of Utah. 

Benefits & Risks of Hypnotherapy for Trauma, According to Science

Just like any other therapeutic intervention, hypnotherapy comes with its own set of benefits and potential risks. That’s why it’s important to understand these aspects to make an informed decision about undergoing hypnotherapy.

Benefits

Here are a few studies that support the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for trauma healing:

  • Reduce PTSD symptoms. An in-depth review of six different studies on hypnotherapy showed a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms like recurring traumatic memories and avoidance behaviors among participants. No matter what type of trauma the individuals had experienced, the study’s findings held true.
  • Effective for those with an abusive past. One study suggests that using Spiritual-Hypnosis Assisted Therapy can really help those with childhood trauma. It works so well that it changes the body’s stress response in a similar way that medicine does. So, it helps lessen PTSD symptoms and changes how the body reacts to stress, just like some drugs do.
  • Enhance sleep quality. This type of therapy can help alleviate PTSD-related insomnia. Interestingly, the study highlighted that when hypnotherapy was used as a supplementary treatment, it not only reduced the recurrent and avoidance of PTSD symptoms but also enhanced sleep quality.

These and countless other studies affirm the potential of hypnotherapy as an effective therapeutic approach to trauma healing.

Risks

As with any therapy, there are potential risks involved with hypnotherapy. 

  • The creation of false memories. This can occur when the hypnotherapist unintentionally suggests certain events or details during the session. And as a result, the person believes that they have experienced something they haven’t.
  • The potential re-traumatization of a person. Delving into traumatic memories can sometimes lead to intense emotional distress. And this can exacerbate the person’s symptoms.

With that being said, having a certified professional conduct the therapy can significantly minimize these risks. Reputable organizations like Mindvalley have certified hypnotherapists who are trained to conduct sessions safely and effectively.

Success Stories of Using Hypnotherapy for Trauma

A lot of people don’t realize how much stress affects their lives,” says Paul, “not just their psychological well-being but their physical well-being and health as well.”

And many of those who’ve turned to alternative healing for trauma and PTSD have found relief and calmness. Here are a few Mindvalley Members for whom hypnotherapy has helped:

Despite an initial degree of skepticism, I have used the ‘I can make you sleep’ recordings to help combat insomnia caused by stress and worry, which were predominately work-fueled.

It had a significant impact on being able to still my mind and go to a better place in my head. I enjoy longer and more refreshing sleep, which in turn helps me deal with my stressful job.
Ian Spare, business owner

[Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss Quest] Day one’s exercise was the most profound for me, as it reconnected me to a very special time in my life, at age 1-2 years old, and I was able to reclaim a part of me which I had dissociated from due to trauma. I cried and cried with relief!
Phillippa Corney, Clear Qi Acupuncture; Christchurch, New Zealand

Just after two days, I found myself experiencing an inner calm around a specific experience that I would normally feel triggered about. I realized it right away. That was magical.”
Inna Neal, coach, mentor, and energy healer; Auckland, New Zealand

Hope. Healing. Hypnosis.

Trauma can hold you back and bind you to the chains of your past. But hypnotherapy offers a unique opportunity to break them, to process and heal from traumatic experiences, and to reclaim control over your life.

If you’re grappling with trauma, hypnotherapy is a great option as an alternative healing approach. And Paul McKenna’s Everyday Bliss Quest on Mindvalley can help you find the paradigm shift you need.

But if you want to learn how you can go deeper in your healing, join the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist FREE webinar. Here’s what that entails:

  • You’ll discover why hypnotherapy can help with lasting positive changes in behavior.
  • Even if you’re a total beginner, you’ll learn the ins and outs of becoming a pro hypnotherapist.
  • Coaches and teachers can enhance their work by adding hypnotherapy skills.
  • You can use hypnotherapy to build a life full of freedom, wealth, and purpose.

Healing from trauma may seem like an uphill battle. But once you learn how to climb it, you step out of its shadows and into the light.

As Paul says, “When you’re working on a truly worthwhile dream, the dream is also working on you.”

Welcome in.


Images generated on Midjourney.

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Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is an SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is an SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Paul McKenna
Expertise by

Paul McKenna, Ph.D. is the trainer for Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss Quest and Total Self-Confidence Quest. Having helped millions of people successfully quit smoking, lose weight, overcome insomnia, eliminate stress, and increase self-confidence., Dr. McKenna was named by The London Times as one of the world’s leading and most important modern gurus alongside Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. He has also worked his unique brand of personal transformation with Hollywood movie stars, Olympic gold medalists, rock stars, leading business achievers, and royalty.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

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To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.