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[This has proven to be a useful metaphor in preparing a victim of trauma for the painful abreactive work of reliving a past event.] The work that we have to do is very much like what must happen after a child breaks her leg, or an adult has a painful, infected wound that must be lanced. The physician doesn't want to cause the patient pain. But he/she knows that if he/she doesn't set the bone or lance the wound, the patient will continue to hurt for even longer, and will remain disabled and never recover properly and normally. It's hard and painful for the physician to do that procedure and create pain through setting that bone or lancing that wound. But it's an act of caring, that allows healing to take place.
And this process of facing painful memories and feelings from the past will be painful for a short time, just like setting a broken bone. But then you won't have to continue hurting from what happened, and healing will finally take place.
[This metaphor is helpful with patients in crisis who have tremendous internal pressure, often from alter personalities who are overwhelmed with feelings. It may motivate patients to allow the controlled release of emotions, for example, through the technique of dissociating affect and content (Hammond, 1988f; Hammond & Miller, in press; Erickson & Rossi, 1979).]
Have you ever seen an old-fashioned pressure cooker? My grandmother used to have one. You would latch it shut, and turn up the heat, and the bubbling water and steam inside created tremendous pressure. After a while, some of that pressure had to be released or something would burst.
Right now you're experiencing tremendous pressure, from all the feelings inside. And it's important for us to use a safety valve to release that pressure, gradually, safely, in a protected and controlled way so that no one is harmed in an explosion of emotions.
A Projective Ideomotor Screening Procedure to Assist in Early Identification of Ritualistic Abuse Victims
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