Complex stress disorders like posttraumatic stress syndrome (C-PTSD) is a complex psychological disorder that develops from repeated trauma like intimate partner violence (Walker, 2013). Because the body is under constant stress, with little to no breaks, the body develops shortcuts to deal with the disorder (Critten & Heller, 2017).

This long-term stress affects every part of the body system and can lead to chronic health conditions like emotional, physical, and psychological issues (Walker, 2013; Critten & Heller, 2017). What is perceived as normal events to some can be perceived as triggers to those with C-PTSD. The body attempts to deal with these traumatic events over time with shortcuts (van der Kolk, 2014). These shortcuts present as multiple symptoms and can eventually lead to chronic health conditions (Mock & Arai, 2011).

Complex posttraumatic stress disorder can present with a multitude of symptoms (Walker, 2013; Critten & Heller, 2017). Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Focus Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic Attacks
  • Neurological Illnesses
  • Guilt or Shame
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Autoimmune Illnesses
  • Self-harm/Suicide Ideation (please seek immediate help)
  • Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • Trauma Bonding
  • Memory Loss


Conventional medicine uses talk therapy and medications for symptoms of C-PTSD. However, not all patients find symptom relief with these treatments. Thus, clients may seek complementary or integrative therapies (Niles et al., 2016). In addition, over 30% of individuals diagnosed with complex traumas are looking for alternatives to support recovery (Niles et al., 2016).

Hypnosis, an integral part of integrative medicine, supports cognitive flexibility and neuroplasticity, which can rewire the brain to benefit mood disorders like C-PTSD (Elkins, 2017; Niles et al., 2016). Additionally, hypnosis helps people tap into their innate abilities, empower themselves, and helps them meet goals and gain forward motion (Yapko, 2019).

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Eyes open hypnosis may help those with C-PTSD feel safer during sessions and more in control in everyday situations (Eads & Wark, 2015). Additionally, over time, hypnosis can lead to post traumatic growth, reduction of systems and positive automatic thoughts (Eads & Wark, 2015; Elkins 2017).

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