A single incident trauma is a traumatic event which happened recently, one time. Although a single incident trauma can be intense, as in my client’s story below, the processing of it is relatively quick…meaning it doesn’t take months as a more repetitive, childhood trauma might.
When this client first came to me, he was not able to sleep. He was having panic attacks, he was afraid to leave his house, he experienced paranoia and was generally unable to function in his daily life.
Within 4 treatments over the course of two weeks, he was able to sleep, leave his home, had diminished pain, low anxiety and now feels really like himself—with the exception of some pain that is affiliated with his healing. It’s miraculous. It’s miraculous that he’s alive, quite frankly.
It is so much quicker and easier to treat single incident trauma because you don’t have multiple emotional personas hanging out waiting to be integrated. You have one or two that experienced the trauma, but because the trauma is recent, the integration is quick, it is easy and it is relatively painless.
I was stabbed four times: once in the liver, once in the diaphragm, once in the back, and a final one through the heart. A person who I had never met wanted to strip me of my life without asking my permission. Sitting at the foot of a streetlight feeling more alone than ever with blood filling my heart and lungs I accepted death. From then on an ingrained image of the face of my assailant and the moment sat in lonely despair had haunted my thoughts at nearly every waking moment in the beginning of my recovery. Due to my desire to beat these emotions I covered them up with an unhealthy façade displaying a sense of everything was okay. These emotions began to manifest into recurring night terrors and crippling panic attacks. I also had difficulty understanding why I survived and how can I be grateful.
In the first session with Elizabeth Handy we immediately jumped into EMDR. Within minutes I poured out a heavy display of emotion. It brought everything about my incident to the surface and I had never felt more relieved in my life.
The very next session we started with Brainspotting. Before the session I had been experiencing grave pain in the organs that received the blunt of the trauma but by the end I no longer felt that pain. Brainspotting taught me how some of my pains were simply in my head. It felt wonderful to be freed of such inhibiting pains from day to day. From then on I no longer felt the hold that my assailant and that night had on my psychological self. Brainspotting allowed me to effectively and healthily transcend through the steps of trauma.
Today, nearly three months from my incident, I am working out on a daily basis, seeing friends and family regularly, sleeping peacefully and most of all I feel like myself again. I have acquired a great deal of strength and acceptance both through the guidance of a remarkable therapist and the effectiveness of Brainspotting. Brainspotting prevents one from falling victim to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I can feel grateful without fear of its authenticity. Through Brainspotting I have taken ownership of my life and no longer live in fear of my trauma.