I wanted to share the story about my client. He is suffering from PTSD. He is a safety director and has seen an extensive amount of horrific deaths. Well he came to me because he was experiencing flashbacks of a time when a 9 year old boy was pushed in a lake by a 12 yr old boy and the 12 year old didn't tell anyone until after he came back from the fair. The 9 year old couldn't swim and died and my client keep seeing the mom having to identify her child. It has been haunting him and interfering in work.
In our first session we talked about doing EMDR to help with the PTSD. He talked about all the deaths he has witnessed and he is having physical symptoms as well with the PTSD almost to the point of a panic attack.
I had been working with him with EMDR for 2 weeks and when he came in for the next session he said he had a breakthrough at work a man had his arm ripped off by a machine and he saw this and had to intervene and that is usually when the panic starts, this time he had no panic and no flashbacks and felt calm as he helped the guy to the ambulance.
He stated in session he was so happy he didn't have the horrific scene come to mind and he was able to function, I had also given him some techniques to use at home when he felt the anxiety and panic.
Yesterday he came in and had said that he definitely is feeling better, there are only "snippets" of scenarios and no anxiety or panic. This session we worked on the "snippets" and he had a breakthrough of something he had repressed for a long time, he was able to talk about it and process through it with minimal anxiety. He was so happy after session and was directed that he might continue to process after session and to use his techniques.
I wanted to share this because it's breakthroughs like this that keep the faith in the process of counseling!
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder