Sharon's Story

The following case study is fictitious and serve to illustrate real-life a problem and how E.M.D.R. can help;

Assessment

Sharon is an experienced nurse redeployed to intensive care at short notice at the out break of Covid-19 . She initially coped with caring for a greater number of patients in PPE , communicating with distressed relatives by telephone and patients dying more often than normal. However , her work schedule and self isolation with her partner contributed to the break up of this relationship .

She noticed that she started to experience anxiety and panic going to work , her sleep deteriorated and she experienced nightmares during which close relatives died and she woke unable to breath . She had intrusive images of the faces of patients she had nursed occurring while awake . She would start to feel panicky if her father did not pick up the phone. She felt overwhelmed by feelings of anger if she saw members of the public breaking the Covid-19 rules. She felt tearful if she watched a sad film or followed the news. Sometimes she would dissociate as she was aware of gaps in recalling what she had done the day before . Sharon found that she was drinking 2-3 units of wine to help her to sleep every night . Eventually , she felt that she had to take a break from work .

At the age of 16 years she had been suddenly bereaved of her mother. As a family , they struggled with the consequences of this ; Sharon herself experienced low self esteem and feelings of guilt and responsibility regarding her loss .

With her EMDR practitioner she identified the beliefs about herself and associated physical feelings triggered by recent events , linking them to their source earlier in her life .


Resourcing

Sharon learnt to temporarily place her feelings of emotional distress and physical sensations into a container.
She learnt grounding techniques to reduce the tendency to dissociate.
She learnt to access a place in her mind where she felt calm [ safe place ] .
These techniques were installed using slow bilateral stimulation [ she chose butterfly taps ]
She was encouraged to attend to self-care ; regular exercise , periods of relaxation , regular diet and sleep hygiene .

Butterfly Taps

Butterfly taps are being used by Sharon in Phase 4  and can also be used to enhance resourcing

This is a self soothing technique originally developed for use in children.
Cross your hands over your chest .
Make  the shape of the butterfly with your hands.
Place the tips of your middle fingers on your collar bones and tap your fingers alternately at the speed suggested by the therapist.
Close your eyes or focus your gaze internally.
Take yourself to the safe place that you have developed and bring this together with the Breath deeply .
Notice your bodily feelings.
Continue tapping for 1-3 minutes .
Come out of your safe place and back in to the room. 

Example of performing the butterfly taps

Target Sequence


Desensitisation and Reprocessing


Conclusion

Once Sharon had reprocessed the significant events from the past she found that she felt less distressed by the impact of Covid-19 . At this point she was sleeping better, no longer had nightmares and was no longer depressed or anxious . There were still a couple of incidents which she found overwhelming which she went on to reprocess.She also reprocessed a recent incident when a member of the public not wearing a mask had bumped in to her in a shop.

Future Template ;

  • Using Bilateral Stimulation Sharon visualised herself at work , together with the changed belief she now holds about herself in that situation and associated physical feelings .
  • This prepared her mentally for a phased return to work which she completed successfully.

Client Reviews

  • "With Dr Lindon's help and guidance, I was able to develop strategies that have since helped me deal with stressful situations that I would have previously struggled with and to help me with negative beliefs, thoughts and feelings I've held about myself for several years."

  • Callum says "I have found EMDR therapy to be life-changing, I was initially sceptical of the process but I cannot argue against the results which have been immensely positive for me. I found Frances to be very empathetic and felt listened to throughout the process. This is, without doubt, the best thing I have ever done and my only regret is not doing it sooner."

  • "12 sessions didn't seem like enough to battle the debilitating symptoms of the trauma I experienced working in ICU during the pandemic. And yet, I feel like myself again, loving my job and thriving in a way I never thought possible. Frances taught me so much about how my mind and body process trauma, and I feel prepared for dealing with whatever the future holds in my career and personal life. I cannot thank you enough!"

  • "Since my sessions with Dr Lindon, people close to me have commented that I'm much calmer and much more settled in myself and am now able to handle mistakes and failure and accept them as part of the learning process."

  • "Without the wonderful support of Dr Lindon, I think it very doubtful that I would be back participating in and enjoying life. I am very grateful for all the support that was offered."

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