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You’ve heard of fight or flight…but what about fight, flight, fawn, or freeze? Stressful situations, threats to your safety, and even perceived but not actual danger can all trigger your body’s trauma responses. This natural response to stress is a built-in defense mechanism meant to help you respond in the best way that’ll keep you safe.

While these responses might seem to your best benefit, not understanding what they are and how they impact you can actually cause more harm than good. This is why I feel it imperative to not only understand the four trauma responses, but to look to hypnotherapy as a way to work through them, allowing them to only serve your highest good.

What are the four trauma responses?

While most have heard of the “fight or flight” response, there are actually four common trauma responses:

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Fawn
  • Freeze

Depending on your own personal experiences, your response may typically be only one of those above or a combination of many. Without taking a moment to look at how you respond to stressful situations, you may not even realize the innate ways your body reacts.

Trauma Responses - The 4 Fs

Fight VS Flight

One of the main responses is the fight versus flight instinct, which plays a crucial role in our body’s reaction to stressful situations. When confronted with a traumatic event, some individuals may respond with a fight instinct, where they feel compelled to confront the source of the threat head-on.

Fight mode can feel like:

  • A rush of adrenaline
  • Tightened muscles
  • Clenched fists
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • “Seeing red”
  • Feeling easily agitated or angered

On the other hand, others may experience a flight response, seeking to escape the situation or avoid dealing with it altogether.

Flight mode feels like:

  • Running vs confronting a situation
  • Feeling trapped or claustrophobic
  • Panic attacks
  • Avoiding anything and everything that could be a threat (whether real or not)
  • Being unable to stand up for yourself, even in situations where you should

These instinctual reactions are deeply ingrained in our biology and can influence how we cope with trauma in the moment.

This fight or flight response can have a profound impact on how individuals process and heal from past traumatic experiences. Understanding how these instincts manifest in our behaviors and thought patterns is essential in navigating the complexities of trauma recovery.

What does “fawn” mean in trauma response?

Another important aspect of trauma response is the “fawn” instinct, which involves a tendency to seek to please or appease others in order to avoid conflict or danger. This response can manifest as people-pleasing behavior, putting the needs of others above their own, and avoiding confrontation at all costs.

Other signs you might have your “fawn” instincts activated include:

  • An inability to set boundaries
  • Never putting yourself first
  • Doing what you’re told no matter what
  • Being a people-pleaser
  • Unable to say no
  • Pretending to agree with someone even when you don’t

What does “freeze” mean in trauma response?

In the context of trauma response, the term “freeze” refers to a state of immobility or paralysis that can occur when an individual feels overwhelmed or threatened. This instinctive reaction can manifest as a feeling of being stuck, unable to move or act in the face of danger or distress.

While the other trauma responses are considered “active”, the freeze stress response is basically your body’s way of shutting down. Think playing possum.

A freeze trauma response can also look like:

  • Feeling numb – physically and/or emotionally
  • Detaching yourself from reality
  • An inability to speak
  • Being unable to take action or make a decision

What causes a trauma response?

Trauma responses can be triggered by a variety of factors, including exposure to a traumatic event such as physical violence, emotional abuse, or a natural disaster. Additionally, past experiences, genetics, and environmental factors can all play a role in how an individual responds to trauma. Understanding the root causes of trauma responses is crucial in addressing and overcoming the lasting effects of traumatic experiences. This sets the stage for exploring how hypnotherapy can help individuals heal from trauma and reclaim their sense of well-being.

Understanding Hypnotherapy and Trauma

Imagine a world where you can break free from the chains of your past traumas and live a life filled with peace and fulfillment. This world is not a distant dream – hypnotherapy can help you overcome your trauma responses and negative patterns, allowing you to reclaim control of your mental well-being.

Once you recognize what your trauma response is, and begin to understand how trauma can impact your physical and emotional well-being, you can begin to heal. And one of the best ways to do that is through hypnotherapy.

healing trauma response with hypnosis

Reprogramming Your Brain through Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy offers a powerful tool for reprogramming the brain in order to overcome trauma responses. By accessing the subconscious mind through hypnosis, individuals can work to reframe negative beliefs, release stored emotions, and create new, positive thought patterns that support healing and resilience. This process of rewiring the brain can help individuals break free from the cycle of trauma and move towards a place of empowerment and self-compassion. These practical tips for utilizing hypnotherapy can further support individuals on their journey towards healing and transformation.

Practical Tips for Using Hypnotherapy

When using hypnotherapy to overcome trauma responses, it’s important to create a calm and safe environment for yourself. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, and make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. You can use techniques such as deep breathing or visualization to help you enter a state of relaxation before starting the hypnotherapy session.

It’s also helpful to set clear intentions for your hypnotherapy sessions. Before beginning, take some time to reflect on what specific trauma responses you would like to address and what positive outcomes you hope to achieve. By clearly defining your goals, you can guide the hypnotherapy session towards addressing these specific areas of concern.

During the hypnotherapy session, allow yourself to fully engage with the process and trust in the power of your subconscious mind. Be open to the suggestions and imagery presented by the hypnotherapist, and allow yourself to experience any emotions that may arise during the session. Remember that hypnotherapy is a collaborative process, and your active participation is key to its success.

After the hypnotherapy session, take some time to reflect on your experience and any insights that may have emerged. You may find it helpful to journal about your thoughts and feelings, or to practice self-care activities such as meditation or gentle movement to further integrate the healing process.

Living a Fulfilling Life after Trauma

By incorporating these practical tips into your hypnotherapy practice, you can enhance the therapeutic benefits and support yourself on your journey towards healing and transformation. Ultimately, embracing hypnotherapy as a tool for overcoming trauma responses can empower you to live a fulfilling life after trauma, full of resilience and self-compassion.

This newfound sense of empowerment can inspire you to pursue your passions, nurture your relationships, and create a life that is aligned with your true values and aspirations. As you continue to prioritize your well-being and growth, you can cultivate a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose that transcends the pain of the past.

In conclusion, by understanding the four trauma responses – fight, flight, fawn, and freeze – and the power of hypnotherapy in reprogramming your brain, you can take control of your mental well-being and break free from negative patterns.

As you start your journey towards healing, remember: the power to overcome is within you.