Forrest Samnik helped her client overcome chronic pain and facial paralysis provoked by the news of his friend’s murder. This article contains some graphic description of the violent crime, which could upset highly sensitive people. Visit Forrest’s website.
by Forrest Samnik, LCSW, EFTCert-I, CCH
Sixty-six year old male presents with intense chronic pain of left side of face with partial paralysis since hitting his head against a wall after hearing the news of his friend and his friend’s family’s homicide. This was followed shortly by the murder of ex-wife. Verbalizes having “other parts of self that hold the painful memories so I can function.”
Assessed his current anxiety regarding working on these events. Relates feeling a constriction in his throat with a SUDs of 7.
Round One: (Setup) Even though I feel this constriction in my throat, I accept who I am and this message my body is sending me. ET my body may be telling me it’s not safe to talk about it, I accept who I am and this message from my body. ET there’s a constricting anxiety in my throat, I love and accept myself anyway. (Reminder) This constriction in my throat. It doesn’t feel safe to talk about all this stuff. Parts of me are holding this for me so I can function. Other parts just want to keep it all choked down. These parts don’t want to talk about it (big yawn). This throat constriction. It’s not safe to talk about it.
Reports throat has relaxed to a 3. Assessed the pain he is currently experiencing on the left side of his face (I want to release some of the emotion from the body before dealing with specific events). Reports a 10 and states, “It feels all pumped up and ready to explode).
Round Two & Three: (Setup) ET the left side of my face feels all pumped up and ready to explode, I deeply and profoundly accept who I am (x3). (Reminder) The left side of my face is all pumped up. It’s ready to explode. It’s scary how pumped up it is. It feels like it could it explode. This pain is paralyzing. All this paralyzing pain on the left side of my face. It’s so pumped up it feels like it could explode. This paralyzing pumped up pain on the left side of my face. (Did 2 rounds mostly using his words to describe the pain).
Reports pain decreased to a 7. Used Color of Pain to assess quality and underlying emotion. Relates pain is a dense orange ball full of venom and anger.
Round Four & Five: (Setup) ET there’s a dense orange ball of venom on the left side of my face, I choose to accept myself anyway. ET there’s an orange ball of anger and venom, I choose to accept who I am and how I feel. ET this left side of my face holds this orange ball of anger for me, I choose to forgive myself and anyone who has contributed to this angry orange ball of pain (sigh). (Reminder) This orange ball of venom on the left side of my face. All this anger my face is holding for me (yawn). I choose to release all this anger. I give permission to my body to let it all go (voice is softer/slower). All this orange anger in the left side of my face. I choose to release this orange ball of anger. Perhaps I don’t need it anymore. Perhaps there’s another way to deal with all this anger without hurting myself. Perhaps I can forgive myself and all this anger (big sigh).
Reports the pain is now a 3 and the orange ball has shrunk to a size of a marble (down from a tennis ball). States the swelling in his cheek is down about 1/3. Explored the source of the anger. Relates being angry at the brutality of the murders. Pain in cheek intensifies to a 5. He guesses the intensity of the shock of the phone call, if he was to really recall the moment he heard the news of his friend’s murder, as a 10.
Round Six – ?: (Painless Trauma Technique) Did two rounds of tapping on “The Shocking Phone Call”. Afterward, spontaneously tells me the story. (Switched to Tell the Story Technique) We stopped at the first sign of intensity (marked by tension in his voice) — Two rounds of “They tied him to a chair”. Voice relaxes, continues story until says “They slit their throats while he watched”. Several rounds of tapping on this. Continues the story then stopped to tap on “The threw gasoline on them”. Again, several rounds of tapping. Starts to cry. Instructed him to keep tapping while I repeated the words, “All this pain and sadness”. Crying subsides and he states, “This is the first time I’ve cried about this.” Starts to cry again and says, “It should have been me.”
Next 2 Rounds: “ET it should have been me, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.” (x 3). After about the middle of the 2nd round of tapping on the guilt of feeling “it should have been me”, noted body relaxation and was able to instill a reframe…” It would have made things so much easier if this had happened to me and not Brian. If it had been me, then Brian would have been the one left behind to hold the bad memories.” The client laughed out loud and said “Yeah! That’s right!” After a short pause said, “ I feel kind of silly now.”
Client reports the swelling in his cheek is almost gone and the pain is down under a 2. Had client tell me the story from the beginning, having him tap continuously. States, “This is really weird. It feels very far away now. Shouldn’t I feel something?”
Final round: (setup) ET I feel a bit guilty that this doesn’t feel so close to me now, after all this was a horrible thing to happen to a very close friend of mine, and I should suffer all the pain and indignity for him, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself. ET Brain would want me suffer and feel all this pain for him, I accept and forgive myself. ET if it had happened to me, I would want Brian to suffer, I accept who I am and how I feel. (reminder phrases) This need to suffer for my friend. I needed to hit my head so I could suffer like Brian did. I loved him (tears). I miss him. Maybe I could find another way to stay connected with him. We loved to play music together. Maybe I could honor him with music instead of pain.
Client states, “He would really like that.” Reports pain in face has almost subsided. Mutually decided to work through ex-wife’s murder next session. This is the email I received him the following morning:
To my utter amazement I woke up this morning pain free! Pain free for the first time in over 3 years. I am baffled! I ate breakfast this morning and my left eye didn’t close and freeze shut like it has for years every time I chew. Words can not express my relief and my joy! Last night I began to notice my left eye and cheek began to tingle. I was full of energy, Not the frantic, manic kind but the strong, smooth, calming type. This feeling stayed with me all evening and I slept through the night without interruption. Prior to last night, I was up every night around 2AM sitting for hours on the edge of my bed muffling the sounds of my trying to cope with the stabbing, relentless pain , in my pillow. I am just jumping up and down inside. I just may have my life back! How can I put a price on that. God bless you and thank you for helping me!
may you continue to change lives with this wonderful work!”
by Forrest Samnik