The Wounded Self in Trauma Treatment

Am J Clin Hypn. 2016 Jul;59(1):69-87. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2016.1163659.


The potential role of hypnosis in the treatment of trauma is both venerable and underappreciated. This article underscores the importance of the wounded-self concept by proposing a Kohutian perspective complimentary to the cognitively-driven model of Alladin (2014a, 2014b) discussed elsewhere in this issue. It explores selected topics that demonstrate (1) the importance of considering the wounds to the sense of self experienced by trauma victims and their implications for individualization of treatment in planning a psychotherapy; (2) the possibility of enhancing access to memories using shame alleviating techniques with minimal suggestive properties; (3) the use of hypnosis to facilitate less disruptive processing of traumatic materials; and (4) the importance of hypnosis in enhancing the safety of the trauma patient between sessions. Absent contraindications, the circumspect use of hypnosis as a facilitator of trauma treatment deserves consideration for inclusion in the mainstream of contemporary trauma treatment.

Keywords: dissociation hypnosis; dissociative disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; trauma; trauma processing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psychological Trauma / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Self Concept*