Tag Archive for post traumatic stress disorder

Good Stress Or Bad Stress – It All Causes Problems!

Exam Stressed David

Exam Stressed David

Your body and mind do not realize there is a difference between good and bad stress! 

Stress is defined as the body’s non-specific response to any demand or stressor. Stress gets the nervous system to assess the information coming in, recognize a safe or not safe situation, and raise an alarm if needed. If not safe, the nervous system instructs the body to respond through fight-flight-freeze. 

Everyone has their own person stress threshold and when the threshold is met then problems start. Normally we can all live with a baseline of stress. But when we go beyond those levels we are not able to tolerate the increased stress no matter how fun or pleasurable an activity might be. Often we can’t enjoy the activities that we used enjoy to such as exciting movies, parties, a jog in the park or even sex.

The overload of city noise, computer and TV screens, electronic phones, electrical wires and electronic transmission adds to our levels of stress. Simply unplugging, taking a day off, or taking care of oneself before others always vying for attention can help re-center and refocus us. However, not everyone is so lucky. People with anxiety disorders, chronic stress and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) need a little bit more work. 

The part of the brain that determines what happens in a stressful situation is called the amygdala. This structure signals to the hippocampus which records the event we are experiencing (like the event of reading this blog). The hippocampus allows us to recall a memory (or the context), know approximately how long the event took place and that the event has begun and ended. Our memory of the details in sequence are due to the hippocampus doing it’s job.

When a person has exceeded the their stress threshold (as with people with anxiety disorders, chronic stress, PTSD, and even phobias) the hippocampus can’t mark the end of the stressful event and tell the amygdala to stop the defensive action. Which means the event never ends leaving the body in a permanently hyper-vigilant state of fight-flight-freeze. Or the person can’t be moved out of the crisis. If we could stop this then we can stop the brain from experiencing the trauma and start the recovery process.

When arousal goes past a certain threshold the hippocampus completely stops functioning causing sequencing issues, memory issues, no real beginning to the trauma, no middle, and no real end. The amygdala continues to alarm the body as if the trauma is continuing, even if the danger has far passed. This accounts for loss of pieces of memory, the weird over reactions, seen with any person that is stressed. But because of the memory issues that occur with stress, there are flashbacks, disturbing dreams, and phantom body sensation and symptoms. With people experiencing mild stress they also seem to exhibit these symptoms but in a lesser extent.

With TNLP we can provide the sufferer with coping mechanisms that instantly give them power over their experience. Then we can go back, in a relaxed and clam frame of mind, and complete the memory. Finally, we can provide and amplify the individual’s own resources to help encourage the healing process. All of this in a single session resulting in huge, drug-free relief by the end of the session. When the stress is resolved like this, normal activities will feel again normal and in someone with chronic stress, this is a life saver.

Tracy Joy, NLP, RPCc

Tracy Joy, NLP, RPCc

Tracy Joy, MBA, MaNLP, RPCc is a Canadian NLP and human change expert and someone who believes everyone should feel comfortable in their skin. She’s also the girl who brings the cool Jedi mind trick party games.  ; ) She wants to know how much longer you plan on suffering? Contact Tracy at www.NLPVancouver.ca for a session or www.TherapeuticNLP.com for classes starting September 14th. 


PTSD: Are you suffering from a traumatic event?

PTSD Stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You hear a lot about it in the media these days due to the great number of people coming back from serving in war and having issues re-adjusting back into society. Never before these times have we had the communication systems we currently have so the problem is well known. But, the problem has existed for a very long time.

Many times when someone witnesses a very traumatic event, (like rape, mugging, a car or plane accident, death or serious injury, industrial accident or natural disaster, or other violent act) either exposing themselves to the harm or witnessing some else become hurt, it is difficult for them to move on or forward beyond the event. This is because of the way our brains are wired.

We all have an internal survival system that lets us know when our surroundings are not safe. On a much smaller scale this same survival/critter brain/flight, fight, freeze response system helps us determine if we like someone or not.

As humans we create our memories by combining our thoughts with our emotions. To recall a specific memory, we need to embed the original memory with as many sensory pieces (pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells) as we can then stimulate those sensory systems in the same way to recall the memory.

In individuals with PTSD the traumatic event is so intense it instantly floods the brain with many visual, auditory, feeling, smell and taste representations that the traumatic event is re-lived or remembered and triggered by just about every thing the individual does, feels, sees, hears and tastes in the present. Because the person is experiencing intense representations in experiencing common reality, they start to embed that common reality with what was remembered from the original event. Over time the associations become so great that the person starts to not be able to function normally in society. This is why it is said that the onset of PTSD starts about 3 months after the event.

We all have this internal survival system that is always checking in to see that our environment is safe. With a person suffering from PTSD their survival system is over working indicating to the sufferer that no place they go, no experience is safe even though the threat for their life and/or wellbeing or another’s life and well being does not exist.

Our survival systems start developing about two months before we were born and is considered fully developed by the time we turn three. The survival coding embedded in this system was based on what we coded was safe or not safe based on and influenced by our experience with our parental units during this time period. With this system fully developed, any traumatic event experienced after the development of this system would also be coded in this system. The trigger size (the feelings of danger we would feel) is based on the extent to which the event was coded as threatening to our wellbeing or our life and how often we used that trigger (think about how some people react to spiders – sometimes the reaction is not warranted based on the stimulus). Our survival system is supposed to act like a defense and warning system to preserve us and keep us from harm, but the intenseness of the original situation can cause us do act in strange ways unfamiliar to our logical brain…which then struggles for reasons, excuses, really lies as to why we acted or behaved as we did. When a PTSD sufferer is reacting to their environment, their critter brain/survival system is over working to try and keep them safe.

When it comes to treatment of PTSD the psychological community has fallen short in treating this condition. They are split between medication and some types of cognitive behavioural therapy. They don’t believe that either treatment are effective in curing the condition. Currently, some of my colleagues (the NLP community) are collecting funds to do research to create an exact NLP protocol to deal with PTSD because there are a tremendous amount of people suffering from it and they think that NLP is the best tool to combat, treat and resolve this condition.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of success with individuals that have had PTSD in a relatively short amount of time and have had them experience great strides between very few appointments to resolve (get full recovery) the issue. The Psychological community maintains the claim there is no cure. If you think you might be suffering from this condition or know someone who is, and are frustrated because the treatments out there are not working fast enough or at all, please contact me. I am willing to work over the phone, on Skype and if there are enough people in your area I will travel to you to work with you face-to-face. You can reach me at 415-404-6636 in the US and 778-788-6657 in Canada or tracy@nlpvancouver.ca

Tracy Joy

Certified therapeutic practitioner of NLP
Founder of NLP Vancouver