Ilana Rubenfeld is here with us for Monday and Tuesday, which is pretty cool. I'd done a weekend workshop with her back before the program started so I already had a sense of her, but the demo session she did turned out to be pretty powerful.
She worked on a fellow student who (it emerged) had been in a head-on collision with a drunk driver 30 years ago. He'd been asleep in the back seat, and went straight into shock due to his injuries (tibia crushed). He thus had no memory of the accident, only waking up from it a couple days later.
I'm pretty familiar now with Ilana's way of working that homed in on this memory related to that leg. What was new to me was her way of working with it once they were there. She said something like, "I'm going to propose that we rescript that memory so it comes out a different way, would that be ok?" That got a nod and also a positive response she could tell through her hands, so she proceeded. He'd never seen the car or how the other driver looked at the time so she asked him to describe them how he imagined. He filled in various details, including bleary eyes from the intoxication and looking in the wrong direction. There she said let's change that to something not as dangerous, and he changed it to he's sober but half-distracted talking to his passenger and looking at her instead of the road some of the time. Next she asked him to visualize the other car coming towards them, on a collision course, closer, closer, and then WOOSH the other car turns aside just in time. "That was close!" she said, moving her hands down from his hip where they'd been, off the end of his foot and out several times.
It was quite clearly a big release for him, and brought up a lot of feeling in his chest which she attended to as well, alternately rocking his ribcage gently and flowing her hands from there up to the top of his head and off. As he started to settle down from all the stuff going on for him (which I don't know much about yet), she checked again the mobility of his hips by rocking his feet, and they'd become very loose (compared to unmoving / unable to relax before). He also reported feeling surprisingly, welcomely good in the hips.
The first thing I checked out when Ilana asked for questions was whether she'd chosen that intervention because the trauma in question was so old, and that if it had been just earlier this year and he was still upset about it would she have done something different? She said her guiding thought was that this injury was old news and he seemed ready for a change, and yes if he was still processing stuff related with that she would have been following into that instead.
Another student said she was having a hard time with the intervention because especially with rape and incest victims, it can be so important to be clear and strong about the fact that the trauma really did happen. Ilana agreed with that strongly, also adding a key question for her is "Does it serve you?" If a person was handicapping themselves with the burden of an experience, she would look for a way to help them change that. She gave an example of a small woman who'd been raped by a very large man. When invited to change it in a way that gave her more power she visualized him shrinking a la "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". After a bunch more work around that imagery she ultimately put him in a box and offered him to God.
In case it's unclear, there's no question in my mind for either of these stories that the client in question has any confusion after the intervention about what historically happened to them. My fellow student didn't come away with the idea that the accident hadn't happened. But in both those cases the person was still carrying the fact of the accident with them in a way that didn't serve them anymore. The visualization of a different story to it, along with the listening hands, helped their bodies let go what was unneeded.