I’m working with a medical complaints officer for a hospital, a former paediatrician who’s worked in the military and benefited before from EMDR.
This time he presents with dissociation and overwhelm in dealing with medical complaints. We’re early in treatment and have worked on some targets around his time in the military with regular NCs I’ve done it, or it’s happening to me, when that’s clearly not the reality.
So I tried bridging.
He landed age 9 y.o telling a teacher that his brother had hurt his back, he felt overwhelmed and pointed to his back. The picture was the teacher laughing at him, saying ‘nothing happened’. I went with that and a couple of sets later he recalled, being age 4 y.o, when his beloved grandmother was scratching his back, then she stopped!
He recalls she was terminally ill, sleeping on the sofa in the lounge so he’d snuggle into bed with her. She’d died when she’d stopped scratching his back and no-one had explained to this little chap what had happened! He just recalled a lot of people then appeared in the lounge.
How marvellous to have resources (partner and dog) to soothe this little fella, to hug and hold him, to explain that grandmother had died, and that’s why he felt strange, to let him ask questions and begin to come to terms with the enormity of death.
When we went back to the teacher target, the teacher then smiled and said, ‘yes you’re just overwhelmed, well done for naming your feelings’. And the present target no-longer felt overwhelming, just an appropriately upsetting sexual assault complaint. For all of these we installed PC ‘It’s OK to feel my feelings’.
Prior to this session he’d forgotten this memory as he’d clearly dissociated as a child and not recalled it as a trauma even though it was getting regularly triggered in his work.
This example also points out the importance of processing where you first land with the bridge, even though that may not be the main target, for petalling, as Mark calls it.