At our first session, my client, a woman in her 60s, complained of heaviness in her legs. During the conversation that followed, I found out the heaviness arose after surgery on her spine. She mentioned that her back pain came from carrying heavy things after a fight with her ex-husband. Then she repeated the same words in relation to her other ex-husband.
I suspected that her heavy legs and back pain were related to her relationships with men. I started asking questions and the woman told me about what had happened shortly before the day the back pain started. It was a story about domestic violence.
She had to go to work and was forced to leave her two small children with her husband. When she returned home, she saw that her husband was sleeping, drunk, and the children were unattended and hungry.
In the early stages, we worked through her sense of shame and guilt, which was hidden behind her feelings of hatred for her husband. After that, she began to feel an unreasonable fear about building new relationships with men.
It took several sessions before she could return to this story again. In our sixth and last session, we began with a centering exercise. This exercise helps to focus on the sensations of the body and establish a connection with the Earth at the energy level. It also allows you to relax and establish a calm state of mind.
We had not finished work on the event that had happened 20 years ago before the divorce from her husband, so I offered that we could finish our work on this event. I asked if she was in a position now to talk about what had happened. She answered yes.
I used the Tell the Story Technique. I asked her to start at a neutral point when she was walking home from work. When she began to talk about what she felt on the way from the bus stop to the house, I realized that it was difficult to call it a “neutral point.” She said that her breathing was erratic, she was in a hurry, felt stress in her body, and was very tired. I asked her when she had felt this way for the first time.
She said it was a normal feeling during her first year at the conservatory. Then I asked her to remember one of the brightest events that happened that year. She told a story about how she planned a party for her birthday. Her teacher, in honor of her birthday, gave her a “gift” of a lesson that lasted for many hours. As a result, she arrived home very late and was very stressed.
I asked her SUD rating on different aspects and we worked on the most extensive one: the words of the teacher (“You see, I have prepared for your birthday”) and her irritation, which she felt in her temples, cheekbones, and ears. Her SUD score fell from 8 to 0 and all SUD scores on the other aspects fell to 0.
I said to her: “You see, I have prepared for your birthday.” She thought it was funny and said that her teacher was great. She also said that stress does not help.
We returned to the “ex-husband” story, starting from the beginning. The next peak was her husband lying drunk on the couch. She felt contempt. Here she remembered when she felt contempt for him for the first time. We worked on this memory as well. He came home drunk from work and threw a carton of milk at her while she was holding the baby in her arms.
We worked on visual aspects (his “empty eyes, hatred on his face”) and her feeling of a layer on the heart, her wrinkled nose, and narrowed eyes. The SUD score fell from 5 to 0.
We went back to the original story and worked on aspects: I scream “Wake up!” Feeling angry, shaking his shoulder.
After one round, she said: “I do not feel anything towards him, I do not want to spend my time on him, he does not exist in my life.”
But I knew from our first session that there was more in this story. I asked her if she wanted to continue. I explained that it is important to clear everything, but we could do it next time. She agreed to continue.
As she told it, she went into the bathroom and began to brush her teeth. He came into the bathroom after her, grabbed her neck, and threw her against the wall. She hit her head on the tile.
I said she didn’t need to talk, just tap. I used the full Basic Recipe.
After the emotional tension went down, I used a technique where she put her hands on her chest and tuned in to a feeling of fear. Then I asked her to take this part of herself to a safe place. After this part of herself felt calm, I invited her to let go of that feeling of fear that had protected her for so many years.
After that, I asked her to tell the story again from the beginning to the end to see if there was any distress left. She said she still felt a little spasm in the back of her head at SUD 1.
I used the Basic Recipe. After that, the spasms were gone. Her fear was gone. She did not have any feeling towards this event. She felt safe. We ended the session.