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Case Study Issue 101: Healing for Second World War Trauma

by Michaela A Sorensen(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 101 - July 2004

A phone call came early one Monday morning. The faltering voice on the line was that of an elderly woman who had seen my advertisement in the local press (good to know that the advertising was working!). As a full time healer I often work with terminal patients or the very elderly, so I was expecting it to be a difficult call.

Her husband, John, (his name has been changed) had been suffering from night terrors since he returned in 1947 from fighting in the Second World War. The situation had become so bad over the years that the couple had to sleep in separate rooms. Jean described an otherwise fit and healthy man of 82 years who had been suffering in silence since before I was even born. I am not ashamed to say I was a little shocked and unsure what to expect.

In fact, the elderly man who entered my practice room was gentle and dignified. He was amazingly fit and otherwise well for his advancing years.

As I talked with him what I found most disturbing was that he had never been for counselling. He had lived with his suffering every day for almost 60 years.

John had come for healing because his problem had reached the point of desperation for both him and his wife. He was carrying a chronic feeling of being without any hope of ever being any better. His family had been extremely supportive but, not wanting to be a burden, he had been nurturing the idea that a man should be able to deal with everything himself. Why then, I asked, had he come to me? John simply looked me straight in the eye and said "I can't live like this any longer". I understood that it was a huge step for him to accept any form of help so I was determined to be as supportive as I could.

To begin with, we talked a little about what the healing session involves. As it was John's first time, I felt it was very important to explain the treatment as scientifically and sensibly as possible. Here was a professional man, with a whole lifetime of experience behind him, trusting me with his innermost tragedy. It was vital that he could have confidence in me as a therapist and in healing as a practical and real solution for him. It was just as important to explain that healing is not a quick fix, neither is it a miracle cure; rather that it requires a certain amount of work from the patient, who is the architect of his or her own cure. In John's case, healing would allow him the space to release the trauma which he had been carrying for such a long time.

Relaxation the key

John had spent many years just 'getting on with it', being responsible for his family and putting everything and everyone else before his own welfare. It was now important for him to turn that focus inwards and take responsibility for his own internal process.

I felt that proper relaxation was key to the success of the treatment, as John appeared to be still an active person with a full diary and no specific routine. After ensuring that John was fully at ease in the chair, I began to work. As soon as the healing began the energy came powering through, but it felt as if it was hitting a brick wall; the energy around his shoulders and spine was as if it were made of steel. He appeared to be serene so I couldn't understand the resistance.

After the session, we talked about what we thought was needed to kick-start the healing process. I suggested a minimum of five sessions – concentrating on deep relaxation, using visualization techniques and deep breathing, to allow gentle healing to take place.

John's reaction to the treatment was positive; he could feel the energy moving around him. Inwardly, I was glad, as I felt that he needed the assurance of feeling something tangible, a little 'proof' that something was starting to work.

By the third session John was definitely opening up, the energy was moving around him with more ease and he himself had begun to speak a little more freely. Most of what he said was not easy to hear, but it was up to me to remain detached. I had to let the pain pass through me without letting it touch me. I saw my role purely as holding space for his energetic release.

The healing crisis

The fourth session brought the real breakthrough in John's journey, in the shape of a healing crisis, which, I think took us both by surprise. We had been following the usual pattern when I felt a great shift of energy around his heart area. John broke down completely, his body racked with sobs, he cried for a full half an hour. It was such a tremendous release for him; he told me afterwards that it was the first time he had felt safe enough to let go in that way.

John's progress continued to be positive during subsequent treatments; he responded well to the healing energy and was using some of the relaxation techniques I had taught him in his own time. His sleep pattern had begun to settle down and he told me that at last he felt that it was okay for him to let go of the pain that had been a part of his life for as long as he could remember. His family continued to be wonderfully supportive: I believe that this helped with his confidence in his own progress. I still couldn't convince him to go to counselling but through the healing and his own positive mental attitude he had made a good start.

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About Michaela A Sorensen

Michaela A Sorensen runs a Complementary Centre on the Isle of Wight. She can be contacted on Tel: 01983 862820; michaelasorensen@ukonline.co.uk

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