A narrative constructivist perspective of treatment of posttraumatic stress disorders with Ericksonian hypnosis and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
In a trauma survivor, physiological responses are exacerbated when the affect-laden memories stored in associative networks are triggered by environmental sensory inputs or cues and activate the autonomic nervous system. Recovery from trauma involves not only amelioration of physiological and dissociative symptoms, but also the cognitive rebuilding of a viable assumptive world view which integrates the realms of vulnerability, meaning and self-esteem. This world view is contextualized in cultural idioms and values. From an Ericksonian perspective, persons are usually attempting to problem-solve, even in a dissociative date. A symptom such as an intrusive recollection or recurrent dream of a traumatic event is therefore construed as a request for help in problem-solving. Hypnosis is a structured dissociation which facilitates cognitive flexibility; that is, the broadening of choices of the client' s belief system, rather than direct work on changing affect or behaviors. The goal of Ericksonian hypnosis is to recontextualize the traumatic memory, the affect of fear, and the physiological hyperarousal cued by the traumatic memory. This occurs within a broader context of pride, mastery and courage, and within a context inclusive of other memories and affects, which are positive for the client. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), similarly has as its goal the facilitation of a transfer of traumatic data from the cortical right hemisphere to the left hemisphere. EMDR also utilizes the attainment of a state of heightened awareness, or collaborative structured dissociation, in order to facilitate the orientation of the traumatized client's conscious mind toward "revisiting" traumatic memories. Both interventions can facilitate the self-narrative reconstruction process of trauma survivors by simultaneously modulating the person's hyperarousal while attending to the culturally significant metaphors which form the building blocks of a person' s world of meanings.
Original Work Citation
Amendolia, R. D. (1998). A narrative constructivist perspective of treatment of posttraumatic stress disorders with Ericksonian hypnosis and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Trauma Response, 13-14
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