Laughter Can Heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


It has been found that laughter therapy is a great way to get over post traumatic stress which can get debilitating to one’s mental and physical being. Michael Cortina, director of outpatient services at the Regional Mental Health Center in Merrillville, Indiana, shows that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can be healed with laughter. He used it successfully to help Jane who is in her 30s (whose real name is being withheld to protect her privacy) and was a victim of childhood sexual abuse by a relative. "It is absolutely revolutionary, and eliminates the negative effect and emotional distress of that trauma in one session”, said Cortina.

The therapy is geared to people who suffer from PTSD, who experienced a traumatic event or who deal with anxiety, guilt or frozen grief, among other conditions. The treatment is uplifting and involves laughter. The end result is that emotions are quickly transformed and change is immediate. In one session, the treatment flips a past emotional memory into a memory of an emotion. "You're basically able to think or talk about the event with absolutely no emotional distress," Cortina said.

In the case of Jane, she constantly suffered from nightmares. Every night before she went to sleep, she checked all the closets, locked every door and made sure a hammer and can of mace were near her bed, giving her the peace of mind to doze off. But sleep only led to more nightmares. "I was basically living in my own personal hell," she said. As a child no therapy helped her till later in life when she went to Cortina and tried his therapy. "I went home that night and said, 'I'm not sure. What I just did was a bunch of hippie therapy crap,'" she said.

But two weeks later, she realized she hadn't been having nightmares. Slowly, she removed the weapons from her room at night and unlocked her door. "Apparently he said something my subconscious really needed to hear," Jane said.

She is being weaned off medicine for anxiety and depression. "People who know me see a huge change in me," Jane said. "I feel so confident," she said. "I just hope people will give it a chance."

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