*Note from the Editor in Chief. This article comes with a trigger warning. It concerns the journey of someone going through counselling, including brief details of the trauma they faced as a child. It explores the effects of trauma and what living after trauma can look like.*
When you hear the word Trauma it sends tingles through your spine and instantly you wonder what has happened to that individual. Everyone of us have baggage we must deal with that has changed the way we see the world and changes our mindset.
Changes us as people in everyway and the living isn’t living, we are existing like a ghost in a dark dreary world with no brightness.
As a Neuro Linguistic Programmer and Timeline Therapist I do see the brightness after I have worked with these women that have been through horrific trauma. I describe this as transformational and life changing. Always say If I could bottle what I see and put on the shelf and sprinkle the magic!!!
My client was referred to my service through her friend as their anxiety was getting worse and more frequent panic attacks and was already medically diagnosed with PTSD and Anxiety.
My Client & Their Trauma
25th January 2023 was my first appointment with the client they were overwhelmed, and their body was shaking all over, breathing was laboured and when sitting on the sofa in the Therapy room couldn’t sit in the same spot.
I reassured my client that the were in a safe place and started with some general chatting to reassure them. Which observing the body language could see the client was becoming more relaxed. They explained the had turned 60 last month and they didn’t want to live their life like this anymore, not wanting to go out the front door, feeling tired and weepy all the time and very isolated.
The Perpetrator was their maternal cousin who was 16 years old. My client was 12 years old at the time, but can remember physical abuse from the age of 5 well before the rape.
They recall the feeling of pillows over her face as the cousin smothered them and their siblings, laughing as this happened. They recall when their brother was burnt with cigarettes and then threatened not to say anything as there would be consequences.
The Perpetrator was the family’s babysitter when the Mum went out and my client said there were lots of different males in and out her life. The cousin had free reign to abuse the children physically, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually.
My client was submitted to a physical abusive rape when she was the age of 12 years old. They disclosed the rape to their Mum saying, “he did dirty things to me” my client was told to “shut up and stop being silly”. They had no one to speak too as they felt rejected by the one person that should have been there for her.
Gradually the inward behaviour became worse, now the client’s confidence was at its lowest.
So, from the age of 5 my client has been sitting with this horrific experience which had affected every avenue of their life. They blamed themselves and there was no kindness toward themselves, as they saw themselves as “ugly” and couldn’t look in a mirror. My client said she disclosed the abuse to her maternal aunt 35 years later.
The First Session
In the first session I spoke about the Therapy and that my job is to remove the unwanted emotions and the parts that sit in the subconscious mind that creates the flashbacks and the negative thoughts and feelings.
External triggers and events affect us internally and externally, But for my client to find who they really are and start to have self-acceptance and value for themselves, they needed to:
- Client set goals (Achievable)
- Reduce anxiety and cope better.
- Reduce panic attacks.
- Stop overthinking.
- Be able to cope better with the past.
- Gain better confidence and self-worth.
As the sessions went on my client was becoming much more relaxed and said that they looked forward to coming along feeling less nervous as time went on.
I could see this for myself, that the body language was more relaxed and the commitment to the therapy was 100%. The tools and strategies they were learning every week were helping them relax, sleep, not be as overwhelmed and less anxious.
Limiting beliefs that were created over the years were removed through a technique called Sub Modalities, where the visions become more compelling through – see, feel, hear, say. The client goes into a trance like state and changes the way they see things through their eyes.
These limiting beliefs were so deep rooted having never been praised or encouraged in life and they only knew how to be negative. My client had a lot of associated traumas and lived in fear everyday of their life. Remembering situations that happened or what they’d witnessed with their siblings and always trying to protect them.
A big trigger was anything going over their face as this was something the perpetrator would to them holding their mouth closed. So, my client would go into a panic. As well as someone walking behind them or at the side of them would set off an alert.
This technique works like an active imagination as they can see the significant events, but the client is standing above and observing, able to see ways not to let it rule their head every day and be more in control of their thoughts.
Creating new understandings so that they could learn what they needed to tell themselves for the first time to enable being able to move forward. Releasing anger, sadness, hurt, guilt, fear, this session created lots of emotion but ‘letting it go’ in a safe place and building on the positive thoughts they can start to create a future.
My client was going out so much more and socialising with family and friends and wanting to look for a part time job. The biggest shift was my client could look in a mirror and like what they could see.
They were not existing anymore, instead they were living a better version of themselves.
If you have been affected by this article in any way and feel you need help, please do ask for it. Check our Therapy & Where to Find it page, speak to a friend or family member, or pick up the phone can call for help.
Jennifer Balfour is a Self Belief, Mindset and Confidence Life Coach who uses neuro linguistic programming and time line therapy to support her clients in overcoming trauma that may be holding them back and impacting their lives. With a wealth of experience in the social sector and having worked with children and families delivering health and wellbeing programs Jennifer now applies this in her work with people overcoming trauma, anxiety, loss, big changes in life and more.