by Autumn Hahn, LMHC, CHt
The simplest definition for trauma is when you can fill in these blanks consistently: Whenever ____, I ____. For example, whenever a see a bearded man, I get nervous. Or, whenever I hear thunder, I want to hide. Traumatic events happen in a moment, and our brain freezes, unable to comprehend the enormity of the moment, which can bring on flashbacks, nightmares, and a sense that the terrible event is happening again. Effective trauma treatment is key to living a healthy life as 70% of substance users have trauma. An easier way to not remember, not feel horrible, or not re-experience an awful event that the mind keeps bringing up is to mask those symptoms with substances. And it works, for awhile.
Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) works to treat trauma by separating the memory from the terrible feeling, replacing the feeling with one of neutrality. The client still remembers the event, but will be able to talk about it in detail without any of the feeling that was overwhelming being associated with it. In the best of circumstances, the client can talk about a horrific experience as if reading the phone book. It is still a part of their memory, their life, and it is not forgotten. But it is also no longer attached to feelings of dread or autonomic arousal. RRT uses no re-experiencing or reliving of an event in order to clear the trauma. Rather, there is extensive use of hypnotic language in the form of metaphor and story telling.
Some other forms of trauma treatment include re-experiencing or reliving the experience (exposure therapy), or retelling the experience many times (narrative therapy). These forms of therapy can increase depression and anxiety in clients, and are upsetting. For this reason, clients often miss sessions or avoid their therapist as to not have to feel badly on the way to feeling better. Through the use of story telling and metaphor, clients often laugh in sessions as it is fun and uplifting, rather than sad and frightful. Clients want to engage in RRT and are eager to come to treatment. Most clients see improvement after just 1-2 sessions.
As a traumatologist (an expert in treating trauma), I am well trained in not only RRT, but also hypnotherapy, ab-reactions, and ethics. I know how to calm a client who is entrenched in their story and needs help moving away from the most difficult parts, how to work with regression that can happen when recalling early childhood trauma, and how to follow up with a client who is new to trauma treatment. I have been working in the field of trauma for 8 years and hold both a degree in Counseling as well as a certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy.