Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hypnosis for Stroke Survivors

I just got back from a fantastic, kid-free weekend in Dallas. I went down there to attend a class and as an added bonus I got to take advantage of a rare opportunity to spend some quality time with my brother, getting dressed up and going out to "grown-up" type places.

The class was well worth the trip! The topic was Rewire the Brain Through Hypnosis - The Answer for Stroke Survivors, taught by Don Mottin. Don is well known in the hypnosis profession, and his book about raising children with hypnosis is one of my favorites. He is also a stroke survivor, having suffered a massive stroke in 2003. I jumped at the opportunity not only to learn from someone so respected in my field, but also someone who experienced first-hand the many challenges faced by stroke survivors and was able to overcome so many of them to develop a hypnosis program that not only helps other survivors, but also their caregivers.

So how can hypnosis help a stroke survivor? Many ways. First of all, let's not forget the tremendous power the mind has when it comes to healing the body. The key is to not give up, and often that's what happens when someone suffers a traumatic health-related event such as a stroke. One way that hypnosis helps is by removing negative imprints that accompany the event. An imprint is a message that reaches the core of the subconconscious mind. It can be either positive or negative, and we have hundreds of them. Some give us talents and other prevent us from achieving success in our lives. Imprints are likely to take place during frightening times, during emotional times, and when we're experiencing a high level of stress...does that sound like what a stroke survivor experiences? What happens when they are told, "It's unlikely you'll ever walk/talk/drive/dress/etc. again?" That message turns right into a belief, and they are defeated before they even begin rehabilitation. Imagine what the impact would be if they could believe in their ability to heal, and to appreciate and celebrate even minor improvements. Maybe instead of enduring five or so minutes of physical therapy a day, they become motivated to put in 20 minutes a day.

Then there are the specific areas of the survivors life that are affected which can be helped to improve using hypnosis, such as dealing with anger, reducing fears, memory enhancement, accident prevention, dignity, incontinence, impotence, impulsive behavior, and much more. Stroke survivors often feel like so much of who they were has been stripped away, and really, how much more are they supposed to take? The ability to gain back even a little bit of what had been lost can make a huge difference to their self-esteem and ability to further heal.