Case Study: Resolution of childhood trauma in adulthood

Client:

James is a 48 year old Mexican-American man who initially sought counseling due to relationship difficulties with his new girlfriend.

Summary:

James had previously been married for 13 years in a kind but emotionally distant relationship, which ended in a peaceful divorce last year. James then rekindled a High School relationship after 30 years, with a very emotional, expressive and passionate woman. Unfortunately, James found himself emotionally overwhelmed, fearful, reactive, highly sensitive to criticism and feeling out of control and powerless. His underlying PTSD was now interfering in his functioning.

What emerged was a history of sexual abuse between the ages of 8 and 12 by James’ Uncle. Although James had sought out therapy, first in College due to his cutting behavior that had begun in adolescence and then being plagued by suicidal thoughts and feelings, he did not experience relief and returned to coping with his torment alone.

Using CRM, James was well grounded in a 7 point grid, which allowed for the brain and body based safety he needed to be significantly strong to revisit his trauma. It was through the grounding techniques in CRM, that James was securely anchored to process such difficult memories. Using the CRM strategy of internal attunement, (in this case James’ current adult self to his younger victimized self), James was able to process both body and mind memories and trauma in a relational context. In this state, James experienced a high level of bodily sensations and release through tears, heat, nausea, skin sensations and transient pain in different parts of his body. These physical symptoms all resolved to a state of calm and comfort within a session. Along with the physiological release, held in the solid feeling of the grid, James was able to experience the attunement between his own younger victimized self and his current adult self. This resulted in validation for the first time that he did not do anything wrong, was not bad and was not damaged. These thoughts and feelings were shocking to him, but experienced on such a deep level physiologically and psychologically that he knew them to be true.

James had had the opportunity for a new and different experience of himself. He developed a new truth of his life rather than the painful one he had carried and managed for so many years. This shift began with the emerging truth that he was, “just little, that bad things happen and that doesn’t make me bad”. James reported a huge physiological release after his first CRM session followed by the first sense of euphoria and peace he had ever experienced. Following the next session, James’ new truth had grown to the realization that, “I don’t have to hide any longer, because I can trust myself and feel good about who I am”.

Follow up:

These are the emotional shifts CRM provides the resourcing and techniques for. James now reports he has clearer memories of the abuse, remembering more detail than ever before. These memories instead of evoking distress and pain allow him further clarity and validation as he sits in a freed state of worthiness. He no longer fears mental illness, becoming a sex offender, having to have enough bad things happen to have something good happen, or keeping his distance from others so he will not be found out to be flawed and inadequate nor damage them. All of his childhood erroneous blame and shame resolved and allowed compassionate understanding for himself to evolve. James, of course, still holds sadness about his past and the decades it painfully impacted him. But he is now ready and excited to rebuild old and new relationships, free of his own fears and self-contempt.

I am always grateful and amazed at the somatic safety CRM allows clients so they can do the work to promote their healing from trauma. The healing of emotional wounds is an endogenous and dynamic process that CRM helps facilitate when an individual get stuck for lasting healing and transformation.

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