Threats – PTM Framework

When power is used in negative ways it often brings about very difficult and threatening situations or challenges. Some additional examples to help you think about threats in your own past or present life are given below.

Relationships: This can include parents, partners, other relatives, friends, colleagues, teachers, healthcare staff, and many others.

Relationship threats can include abandonment/rejection by or loss of loved ones or people you depend on; witnessing or experiencing domestic violence or bullying; being undermined or invalidated through criticism, hostility, humiliation, dismissing your feelings or beliefs; confusing communications; having other people’s views or meanings imposed on you even if you don’t agree with them; lack of love, care and protection; sexual, physical or emotional abuse; emotional, physical or material neglect; intergenerational trauma which is passed down through parents and other relatives.

Emotional: Faced with threats, people can feel unsafe and emotionally overwhelmed by a whole range of feelings which are very hard to manage.

Social/community: In their workplaces or local communities, people may face isolation, exclusion, hostility, bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, loss of their social or work role, and so on.

Economic/material: This includes poverty, lack of housing, being unable to meet basic physical needs, or to access basic services for oneself and/or dependants.

Environmental: People may live, or have lived in, deprived and unsafe situations, either in their houses and/or in areas of poverty, conflict or war. They may have lost contact with their community, country of origin, and/or the natural world.

Bodily: This could include ill-health, chronic pain, disability, injury, brain injury, other losses of function, physical danger, starvation, exhaustion, having your body attacked or invaded.

Identity: This includes lack of support to develop your own beliefs, values and identity; loss of status; loss of social, cultural or religious identity, such as being a worker, a parent, or a member of a particular social or ethnic group. Without this, people and their social groups may be made to feel ashamed or devalued.

Value base: This includes loss of purpose, values, beliefs and meanings; loss of community histories, culture, rituals and practices.

Knowledge and meaning construction: Some kinds of ideological power may help to deprive people of the opportunity, support or social resources to question or make sense of their own experiences. For example, the internet gives access to huge amount of information, but this can also be manipulated to present certain viewpoints and suppress others.

People’s own knowledge, understanding and beliefs may be undermined due to unequal power relations between themselves and others.

In the field of mental health, mainstream ideas and meanings may be promoted or imposed by family, healthcare staff, academics, media figures, researchers and others, making it hard to get information about alternative views on mental health.

These situations may apply to large groups of people (e.g. women; the ‘mentally ill’); or to certain individuals (e.g. by labelling them ‘uneducated’ or ‘lacking insight’).

Threat Moderators

● Whether you felt secure, protected and loved by your parents and carers during childhood.
● How old you were when any of these difficult events were happening.
● Whether the threat was a deliberate act by another person.
● Whether you felt betrayed or let down, by a person and/or an organisation.
● Whether you were faced with just one or several threats, and one or several perpetrators.
● Whether the threat happened once or was repeated or ongoing.
● How predictable the threat(s) were, and how much control you had over them.
● The severity of the threat(s) and whether or not there was any escape.
● Whether the threat was physically invasive.
● Whether the threats happened close together or at the same time.
● Whether the threat(s) were chronic and ongoing (environmental or personal).
● Whether there was a threat to your sense of self and who you are as a person.
● Whether the threat was from someone you were close to or depended on emotionally.
● Whether you had someone to confide in about the threats, who believed and
protected you.


Hypnotherapist Joan Lee D. Hyp. MIAEBP

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