James is a 48 year old Mexican-American man who initially sought counseling due to relationship difficulties with his new girlfriend.
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”.
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.
I was contacted in June 2015 by the mother of a 4-year-old female for therapy.
The mother’s concerns were mainly that her daughter is 4 years old and has not yet potty trained. Mother noted that the child has been approached about potty training, but has shown no interest. The child wore a ‘pull-up’, and was changed regularly by her mother or another adult caregiver.
Therapy began in July 2015. During the intake, the mother noted that a medical procedure was performed when the child was 18 months old. Mother reported that the child had a kidney/bladder infection that lingered, so in an attempt to prevent hospitalization the pediatrician catheterized the child to better examine the bacteria. During the catheterization, the pediatrician instructed the child’s mother to hold the child down on the table to prevent movement during the procedure. The mother began to cry and report feelings of guilt and hurt for her child regarding this procedure.
The mother was included in each session. To establish rapport, this therapist utilized play/sand tray with the child client, who always included her mother and eventually invited the therapist into the play. There were a few themes during play, but the consistent theme in each session included taking baby dolls to the doctor because the ‘babies’ were sick.
In August, there was a need for the client’s pull up to be changed during the session. The client became emotional (which mother reported was usual), so the therapist suggested the use of bilateral music to assist in calming the client. This worked well, so the therapist gave this resource to the mother to utilize outside of therapy sessions. During this time, the mother was using a behavior chart at home to reward the client for the times the client sat on the potty.
The next session was spent introducing the client to breathing and utilizing more bilateral music, as we drew pictures of what was upsetting to the client about pottying and changing of her pull up. The client also drew a picture of her happiest place ever (seeing the zebras at the zoo). The client was able to find eye positions for each and began to focus on her picture of the zoo.
In the following session, the client did not wish to work with her pictures, so the therapist enlisted the client’s mother. The client sat in her mother’s lap as the mother built a grid and processed some of her feelings surrounding the catheterization. The client then asked to work with her dolls. For several sessions following, the client began to act as the therapist and work with her dolls to process ‘their trauma’ through CRM®.
Finally, two sessions prior to this report, the client agreed to allow the therapist to work with the client and her mother together to reprocess the day of the catheterization at the doctor’s office. The therapist utilized bilateral music and grounding breaths to begin, and then asked the client to build a body grid. The client naturally knew where she was most connected in her body and had no trouble building the 3-point grid. Without prompt, the client reported that the lines connecting her grid were orange. Simultaneously, the mother was following along as well. Both mother and client then found their respective eye positions that anchored them in the grid. The client reported feeling that her body was tight. The mother then stated that she could visualize the exam room in the doctor’s office and that she was standing beside her daughter, who was on the table. The client then spoke up and stated that she could see the ‘spot on the roof’ and that there were airplanes on the walls. (Mother validated this.) The client then stated that there were two mean lady nurses (Mother again validated). The client then began to scream and cry, saying “I’m scared! I’m scared!” The client’s mother was able to console client, yet voice at the same time that mother was scared and sad at the same time. The client continued in her process for approximately 10 minutes, and then collapsed in exhaustion in her mother’s arms. Mother held and hugged client for several more minutes, as mother finished her own processing. Mother and client then bonded together, looking each other in the eyes, with mother telling the client how sorry mother is that mother had to hold the client down. Mother told the client that she understands that it could make client doubt that mother has client’s best interest at heart. Mother assured client that mother only did this because the doctor told mother to, and that mother will never do anything like this again. The client then began to cry and said, “Really, you promise? Never?” Mother insisted and they continued to bond this way for several more minutes. The therapist then asked the client what she noticed in her body. The client responded that it felt better, but that she now feels sad and angry. The checked in with the mother, who stated that she feels relief and love. The therapist then asked the client what she needs to help with the sad and angry feelings. The client stated she needed to get them out. The therapist suggested dragon breaths, which the client and mother began. The client then asked if she and mother could draw a picture. Together, they drew a picture of the doctor’s office, and together, they colored over the picture with their anger and sadness, offering dragon and heart breaths. The client then wanted to rip up the picture, stomp on it, and get rid of it. The client used the vacuum cleaner to make the picture go away. The client and mother then drew a positive picture together, offering heart breaths.
During the last session, in check in, the client’s mother reported that client had been heavily constipated early in the week. The therapist talked with mother and then the client about how the client’s body is really closed off. The therapist then asked the client what her body needs. Client responded with, “I don’t know.” The therapist asked the client to ask her body what it needs, to which the client responded, “It wants to feel free!” Therapist asked the client what would make her body feel free. The client stated “to let go”. The therapist began this process with bilateral music and the client immediately told therapist the 3 body parts she ‘wanted to connect with the line’. The client stated that this time the lines were orange and purple. The therapist attempted to guide client through the process as in the previous session, but the client continued to appear somewhat distracted. The therapist asked the client to ask her body how client can let go. The client stated she needed to draw another picture. The client drew her picture (with bilateral music) of the doctor’s office and scribbled through her anger and sadness, offering dragon breaths. The client then ripped the picture and stomped on it. The client then beat it with a pillow, continuing to use dragon breathing. The client then set the pieces of the picture on fire and watched them burn. The client then stated, ‘my body feels free. I’m good!’ The client then asked for play time in the therapist’s office. During this play, the doll used the potty.
Later that evening, the client’s mother contacted the therapist and reported that the client initiated going to the potty and used the potty twice. At this time, the client has consistently used the potty for the past two days.
After dealing with a severe concussion, Elisa suggested a process that could help expedite the healing process. I was reluctant at first, but realized immediate improvement through her methods. Highly recommended.
Tom (name changed for confidentiality), age 26yrs, suffered a severe concussion diagnosed by his medical doctor. The prognosis was that he would experience pronounced symptoms for six to eight weeks, and he was required to remain home from work, refraining from all physical activity as well as cell phone, computer and television use. His symptoms included severe headaches, dizziness, inability to focus, and “fuzzy” vision.
Treatment History Using The Comprehensive Resource Model:
Tom was a self-referred client, originally reporting problems related to significant life transitions and performance in graduate school. At the time, he was not sleeping more than four hours a night, had gained thirty pounds, was loosing focus during class presentations, and was experiencing shifts in moods, from feeling like he didn’t want to leave his bed, to rage.
Despite his comprehension of the neurobiology of trauma/stress and resourcing following his first session, Tom exhibited significant fear of being embodied exhibited through his preference to remain cognitive in his work. By experiencing a performance simulation in which Tom noticed body distress, and then was shown how to utilize CRM® resources, he was able to experience a significant change in his physiology. He then continued to use the resources and in his next class presentation reported to have improved flow in his thought processes as well as an ability to connect and respond with confidence to his audience, which he reported to enjoy whereas before all he felt was self conscious. Tom was then willing to process this fear fully and move on to his targeted work.
His role within his family and in significant relationships, was impacted by generational trauma manifesting in his family, including multiple moves and conflicting messages concerning individual roles and identity. These issues were processed using resource grids and attachment (to power animal, spiritual being, and eventually to adult self) with what Tom described as satisfactory results: He improved his GPA and graduated with high honors, ended a complicated engagement with maturity and compassion, and he changed his role in his Family from one that held co-dependent qualities and caused him significant stress to one where he felt more freedom and flexibility within his communication, and experienced more balance and ease within his family relationships.
Concussion Session (post graduation):
The target for the session was his concussion symptoms, which had been diagnosed as “moderate” on the Glasgow Scale. He described his pain and sense of dread with a SUDs of “12.” He ‘entered’ his brain through breathing and self attunement (Dolls 1 and 2), and was able to identify the site of the damage, which he described as a “dead zone” by the way it looked to him. Within the resource ‘healthy blood flow’ grid (Doll 4) (this was identified by Tom asking himself the Magical Question for what his body needed for healing this particular issue), the hurt ‘part’ of his brain was brought inside the grid of healthy tissue.
He began to process the pain and through this came feelings of anger and a desire to disavow the damage in his brain referring to it as an “other” – not part of him, thereby loosing his desire to attune to this part of this brain. An attachment figure of a spiritual being (Doll 5) came in for the “hurt part” and his power animal came in for his adult self. On the attachment eye position he processed the feelings of being betrayed by his body throughout his life, the root of which turned out to be generational, and was reinforced by incidents in early childhood that caused the locus of control shift, “I’m responsible.” The pain and “dead zone” in his brain significantly diminished when the feelings of anger and self hatred were processed to a SUDs of zero.
It is important to note that his previous work with stepping into (some of) his survival fears and Truth of his Life Issues created the opening for the remaining self directed anger to be processed to a SUDS of zero in one session. Tom then processed the accident that caused the current concussion on the grid eye position, until his feelings of agitation was at SUDs, zero. Lastly, he focused on the part that was damaged and no longer saw a “dead zone;” rather he described it as “hurt.” He was then able to focus on the brain as a whole, ‘seeing’ the remaining wound with colors and increased blood flow around the entire brain.
Tom reported to feeling ”surprisingly better,” with very little pain – an overall SUDS of 3, as well as feeling fatigued at the end of the session. He was given practice to use his increased blood flow grid eye and his adult self to the wounded area attachment eye position with heart breathing to the hurt tissue.
Tom reported that he slept through the night for the first time since the accident following his session. He practiced his resource work every day and continued to feel noticeably better over the next three days. At the next appointment, Tom reported that his doctor was “surprised” at his progress and healing. He was approved to return to work and physical activity four weeks earlier than originally thought possible by his doctor.
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