The Power of Combining EMDR with Hypnotherapy In Healing Trauma & PTSD

When you combine EMDR with Hypnotherapy in healing Trauma and PTSD, it can have a profound impact on your life.  Untreated these conditions leave lasting emotional wounds and hinder the ability to live to your fullest potential.

As a Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner with over two decades of experience, I have witnessed the transformative power of techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), in combination with established therapeutic approaches, in helping clients heal from trauma and PTSD.

In this article, we will explore the effectiveness of these techniques, backed by studies and official endorsements, and provide tips for supporting personal healing outside of therapy sessions.

Understanding the Roots of Trauma and its Impact:

Traumatic experiences can originate from various sources, ranging from accidents and abuse (in person) to witnessing distressing events (second person).  It's also true that some people have been traumatised by the telling of the distressing event (third person).

These highly emotional experiences can leave a lasting dent in your confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. Additionally, they often contribute to the formation of negative beliefs that restrict your ability to live a fulfilling life.

Common Symptoms of Trauma

There are many symptoms that my clients have presented with.  These are some of the more common ones:

  1. Repetitive thoughts about the traumatic event.
  2. Nightmares or disturbing dreams related to the trauma.
  3. Chronic stress symptoms such as anxiety, depression and mood changes.
  4. If triggered, hyperarousal or heightened anxiety, leading to difficulty sleeping, irritability, or being easily startled.
  5. Emotional numbness or detachment from others.
  6. Negative changes in beliefs or worldview, such as a loss of trust in others or a distorted sense of self-worth.
  7. Persistent feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame.
  8. Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks.
  9. Increased physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches (IBS), or tension.
  10. Social withdrawal or isolation.

Common Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Unless previously diagnosed by a professional, not all my clients were aware that they were suffering with PTSD, though the more media gives attention to the subject, the more understanding people have of it's harmful effects.

  1. Recurrent and distressing intrusive memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event.
  2. Nightmares or sleep disturbances related to the traumatic event(s).
  3. Avoidance of triggers associated with the trauma, including people, places, or activities.
  4. Negative alterations in mood or cognition, such as persistent negative emotions, distorted self-blame, or an inability to remember certain aspects of the trauma.
  5. Hyperarousal symptoms, including irritability, angry outbursts, hypervigilance, or an exaggerated startle response.
  6. Persistent feelings of detachment from others or a decreased interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  7. Persistent negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world.
  8. Persistent feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame related to the traumatic event.
  9. Difficulty concentrating or experiencing memory problems.
  10. Reckless or self-destructive behavior, including substance abuse, self harm or engaging in risky activities.

It's important to note that the symptoms of trauma and PTSD will vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience the same set of symptoms.

The Profound Impact of EMDR in Combination with Hypnotherapy in Healing Trauma

EMDR, NLP, and Hypnotherapy have emerged as highly effective approaches in the treatment of trauma and PTSD.

EMDR, in particular, has gained recognition and support from esteemed organisations, including the UK's National Health Service (NHS).  This therapy involves bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, taps, or sounds, while a client focuses on the traumatic memory.  Working through this process, clients can reprocess and integrate the traumatic experience in a way that promotes healing and resolution.

Moreover, NLP techniques and Hypnotherapy complement the benefits of EMDR by addressing the underlying patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaviour associated with trauma.  Through guided visualisation, timeline hypnosis, and linguistic patterns, you can tap into your subconscious mind and rewrite negative beliefs, to promote lasting positive change.

Exploring the Neuroscience Behind EMDR and Hypnosis

Neuroscience has made significant strides in understanding the neurological basis of trauma and the effectiveness of therapies like EMDR and Hypnotherapy.  Research has shown that EMDR's bilateral stimulation activates both hemispheres of the brain, facilitating the processing of traumatic memories.  

By processing I mean moving the memory from it's unprocessed state, where it remains 'on guard' like an alert system - into the memory centres where it is now 'just another memory'.

That's not to say it completely loses it's emotional charge, that's what the techniques are able to facilitate.  When there is negligible emotion, it loses the ability to trigger the 'fight flight freeze' response in the Autonomic Nervous System.

In effect you 'regain control'!

At present in the world of Neuroscience, not all scientists will accept the idea that EMDR technique is effective because it mimics REM (rapid eye movement).  REM provides an opportunity for daily life experiences to be processed and effectively ... filed away.   What is accepted is that EMDR triggers activation of the Parasympathetic Nervous system to generate calmness that can only exist when we 'feel safe'.

Similarly, hypnosis is known to induce a relaxed state and increase suggestibility, allowing individuals to access and reframe traumatic experiences from a calmer, more empowered perspective.

In effect what can be agreed; is that both therapies (EMDR & Hypnosis) help to relax the nervous system which in turn allows you to view the memory through a different lense and therefore disable it's negative charge.

More on the research is needed before any firm understanding is reached.  Meantime people like myself, continue witnessing enormous change in our clients when using the combination of EMDR with Hypnotherapy and sometimes adding in Havening, Tapping and NLP.

Supporting Healing Trauma Outside of Therapy Sessions

While therapy sessions play a crucial role in trauma recovery, you can also incorporate various self-help practices to support your healing journey.  Techniques such as meditation, yoga, hypnosis audios, and tapping can provide valuable tools for managing and processing trauma-related emotions.  Engaging in these practices consistently and with the guidance of a professional can promote self-awareness, relaxation, and emotional regulation.

At Enhanced Life, I'm working to create more resources to support those who wish to keep working on Trauma or PTSD between, following or in preparation for sessions with a professional. 

Choosing the Right Therapist for Trauma & PTSD Treatment

If you are looking for a therapist that can treat trauma or PTSD, it is my opinion very important, if not essential, to conduct thorough research and interview potential practitioners. Inquire about their experience in treating trauma and their familiarity with techniques like EMDR, NLP, and Hypnotherapy.  Finding a qualified and experienced therapist who resonates with you is crucial for establishing a trusting therapeutic relationship.

Most of my clients come to me through personal referrals.  That significantly helps to increase trust in the relationship that develops. 

Meditation & Bodywork To Support Healing Trauma

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of regular meditation in helping you recover from trauma and PTSD.

Research studies have shown that meditation practices, such as guided meditation and mindfulness meditation, can have a positive impact on reducing symptoms associated with trauma and in promoting healing.

Regular meditation has been found to improve emotional regulation, reduce anxiety and depression, enhance self-awareness, and increase overall well-being.  By cultivating a non-judgmental and accepting attitude towards your thoughts and emotions, you can develop greater resilience and learn to navigate the challenges of trauma more effectively.

Moreover, meditation practices can help you develop a greater sense of present-moment awareness, allowing you to detach from distressing memories or intrusive thoughts associated with the traumatic event.  As a result, regular meditation becomes a valuable tool in the journey of trauma recovery, providing you with a sense of empowerment, inner calm, and a pathway towards healing and transformation.

Enhanced Life members have access to a growing library of life enhancing content including a specific meditation for those in recovery from Trauma and PTSD.  For less than £5, you can start your recovery today!

Bessel van der Kolk, a renowned psychiatrist and trauma expert, has made significant contributions to the field of trauma recovery.  In his work, he emphasizes the importance of incorporating body-based practices, such as yoga and breathwork, to support healing from PTSD and trauma.

Van der Kolk recognizes that trauma is not only stored in the mind but also in the body, and therefore, engaging in practices that address the physical and somatic aspects of trauma can be highly beneficial.  Yoga, with its focus on mindful movement, breath awareness, and relaxation, helps you to reconnect with your bodies, release tension, and regulate your nervous systems. Breathwork techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and conscious breathing patterns, can also help you to regulate your emotions and bring a sense of calmness and grounding.

By integrating these practices into trauma recovery, Van der Kolk believes these practical tools will enhance your self-regulation, promote a sense of safety, and ultimately facilitate your healing process.

You'll find the Enhanced Life Trauma Meditation and Hypnosis audios on the members menu labelled "Trauma"


  1. Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD:
  2. Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures. Guilford Press.
  3. Green, J., & Lynn, S. J. (2011). Neurobiology of Hypnosis and Clinical Implications: A Review of the Literature. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 53(4), 261-284.
  4. Luber, M. (Ed.). (2013). Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis (2nd ed.). American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
  5. Siegel, D. J. (2010). The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician's Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration. W. W. Norton & Company.
  6. Church, D. (2019). The Efficacy of EMDR Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression Among Military Veterans: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2270.
  7. Porges, S. W. (2011). The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation. W. W. Norton & Company.
  8. Forbes, D., Creamer, M., & McHugh, T. (2012). The Role of Mindfulness in Trauma Recovery. In L. M. Schmalzl, S. Fitzsimmons, & M. C. Salmon (Eds.), The Role of Meditation in Trauma Healing: A Holistic Approach (pp. 89-105). Singing Dragon.
  9. van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Penguin Books.
  10. Niles, B. L., Klunk-Gillis, J., Ryngala, D. J., Silberbogen, A. K., Paysnick, A., & Wolf, E. J. (2012). Comparing Mindfulness and Psychoeducation Treatments for Combat-Related PTSD Using a Telehealth Approach. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(5), 538-547.

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About the Author Leah Butler-Smith

Leah Butler-Smith is a professional Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist with Advanced training in Hypno-analysis, Inner Child Healing, Trauma therapies and more. As an NLP Master Practitioner & NLP Trainer, she has experience Coaching people from all walks of life inc Business. She is the Founder of Enhanced Life & the creator of the Enhanced Life App. As a Freedom Loving Spirit she supports Humanity in every way she can.

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