Triggered Trance and T Support

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
My T asked me how I get out of the trance when I’m triggered. The back story is that I’ve had an increase of flashbacks or relationship conflicts leading to some very painful negative beliefs about myself in the last few months. My T has helped me very sparingly between sessions and removed twice a week sessions unless I “really need it.” I think she is trying to get me to be more proactive in solving the puzzle or recognizing (on my own) that my spiral of thoughts is due to a negative belief that isn’t necessarily true. She said an odd thing. I had told her that I really wish she was here with me between sessions and she very strongly said, “I am here.” It was comforting to hear, but it is so hard for me to know she is here when she isn’t responding to my emails (even though that is part of our set up.)

How do you break your trauma trance?
How do you feel a supportive connection to your T when they aren’t physically present?
 

Waterbear

Learning
Time mainly. Sometimes it's a case of getting up and doing something different if I can muster the... Energy?? Turning the TV or radio off before I even get into that state is my best way forwards, or walking away from conversations. I go into shut down mode otherwise and then just have to kind of squish it all into a ball inside of me and then try and bury it somehow before I can snap out of it. Possibly not the healthiest way, but we've only just started work on it all.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
How do you feel a supportive connection to your T when they aren’t physically present?
I like to carry the feel of her around with me. I try really really hard to remember the words she says in the session (which I do by writing the session down in my diary straight after....still forget a lot.). And by remembering her facial expressions (her smile, her tilt of her head when she is trying to work out if I am ok etc). That helps me know she cares.

I'm sorry your T isn't responding to you between sessions. Is that something you can raise with her? She might have a valid reason, or a reason that you find valid or can understand.

My T says "I'm here" too. I don't think that is an odd thing. They are. I'm sure we're in their thoughts. Perhaps not in the same way, but they are there.
Maybe there is an attachment issue that might be good to explore with her about why you think she isn't there between sessions?
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I like to carry the feel of her around with me. I try really really hard to remember the words she says in the session (which I do by writing the session down in my diary straight after....still forget a lot.). And by remembering her facial expressions (her smile, her tilt of her head when she is trying to work out if I am ok etc). That helps me know she cares.

I'm sorry your T isn't responding to you between sessions. Is that something you can raise with her? She might have a valid reason, or a reason that you find valid or can understand.

My T says "I'm here" too. I don't think that is an odd thing. They are. I'm sure we're in their thoughts. Perhaps not in the same way, but they are there.
Maybe there is an attachment issue that might be good to explore with her about why you think she isn't there between sessions?
The reason she doesn’t do email response is because when she used to, it became problematic. Sometimes the way she responded triggered me and made things worse. Or if she didn’t respond within a few days I almost went into sh. I was relying on email response for reassurance and would check constantly, winding up my anxiety until she answered. So the deal is that I write as much as I want or need to and she reads it and responds in session. If she can tell I need some guidance she does reply between sessions and she will usually do a phone call or reply to my email asking for one if she can’t. I do have attachment issues and we do work on that a lot.

I like your suggestion of writing it down. I can sometimes feel two very specific hugs that we had. I can also hold on to a few things. It’s just really hard. It’s hard to feel things that I can’t see in front of me.
 

Starfire

Confident
My T doesn't do emails. If it's urgent, I call ask him if he has time to talk or if he can call me back. He says he needs to hear my voice at the very least. We've quickly zoomed or done his professional teleconference also. Emails lose a lot in translation, he says. He also knows I won't call unless it's an ER. I will makes notes with questions et al for next session.

I don't expect him to be available 24/7. He has a life. I've caught him in a store's checkout, grandson's birthday party, at a doctor's appointment with his wife. Cuz I don't call unless an ER, he zoomed me back from his car. Both those times I'd had a flashback followed by an emotional flashback that I just couldn't seem to get out of the loop. He helped me end it then we took it up further next scheduled session.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
The reason she doesn’t do email response is because when she used to, it became problematic. Sometimes the way she responded triggered me and made things worse. Or if she didn’t respond within a few days I almost went into sh. I was relying on email response for reassurance and would check constantly, winding up my anxiety until she answered. So the deal is that I write as much as I want or need to and she reads it and responds in session. If she can tell I need some guidance she does reply between sessions and she will usually do a phone call or reply to my email asking for one if she can’t. I do have attachment issues and we do work on that a lot.

I like your suggestion of writing it down. I can sometimes feel two very specific hugs that we had. I can also hold on to a few things. It’s just really hard. It’s hard to feel things that I can’t see in front of me.
Ah, I understand. Email is hard for me too. She offered it and it would also send me into a place if she didn't respond in a timely way (my interpretation of timely). But saying that, just emailed her a few days ago and it went well.
I tell her I need to work on carrying the feel of her around with me. And we work out together how to do that. Last time she said it's like "filling up the petrol tank" to see me through until I see her again.

Writing it down helps me. I can re-read it and it lets me bring the session back so I remember.

I hope you find a way to feel connected between sessions.
I've read that sometimes people are given an item from their T's room, like a pebble of something that they can carry round. Would something like that work?
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
@Movingforward10 we do a handwritten card on each of her vacations. Even just the card, without opening it, helps. We are currently online. She had some in person spots, but I can’t do the day she chose. I was going to switch for summer, but the building is now going to be under construction for a month or two. I feel like I can’t win, but in many ways, the online feels safer. Now it’s just hard with college kids home and securing real privacy.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
@Movingforward10 we do a handwritten card on each of her vacations. Even just the card, without opening it, helps. We are currently online. She had some in person spots, but I can’t do the day she chose. I was going to switch for summer, but the building is now going to be under construction for a month or two. I feel like I can’t win, but in many ways, the online feels safer. Now it’s just hard with college kids home and securing real privacy.
The handwritten card is a really nice idea.

And that sucks a out the obstacles in the way for in person with her again (I'm online too. ..)
Yeah, I don't have kids at home but it is distracting knowing other people are at home during the session.
 

Waterbear

Learning
How to feel a supportive connection to my T? Years of work together! It took what seemed like forever to even establish a connection and even longer for me to be able to hold on to the connection outside of session.

In the early days we agreed that email outside of session times was ok. This had its ups and downs. I struggled when she didn't reply right away. Sometimes I even struggled when she did. But mainly it has been a very helpful part of our work together. We sometimes text, but not long ones or often, just a quick "are you there" text. That really helped actually, possibly more than the emails for maintaining the connection.

For breaks away she has given me a card to open when gone, or I took small objects from the room. Or I gave her something to hold onto for me. (though to be fair she probably left it in the room!)

We have, until recently, had two sessions a week too, which I said I needed right from day one. With only one a week it would take so long to build a connection again that the session was over before I really got into it.

There was a time when I recorded the sessions on a dictaphone, to listen back to, and wow, could I hear so much more after the event. I could really hear her words and her tone, which I very much struggle (still now) to hear in the sessions.

I also wrote the sessions out straight after, if I could remember them. That also helped to cement some of the caring and understanding and positive feelings.

I created a memory box, filled with things to help me remember. A feather I found outside her office. A stone I gave her to hold. A letter she wrote to me. Etc etc. This was something tangible that I could pull out, look at, and feel, as I needed to. This was very helpful to me.

You may have noticed that most of this is in the past tense. That's because, after about 3 or 4 years, I was finally able to hold on to the connection and feel the care and support. I had at last internalised some of it and boy, am I glad. I have got to the stage where even though we just broke for three months with no real contact, I could walk back in to the room, sit down, and make a start all within the hour. A few years back it would have taken me about three sessions to feel I could trust her again after she took a holiday.

It isn't easy. In fact it is incredibly difficult and painful, but it can get easier, with time, and with talking (or writing or drawing or however you choose to communicate). It can get better. You can learn to hold on to that connection.

I wish you the very best.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
@Waterbear, I have been with mine for almost 4 years now. I have gotten much better than I used to be, I just wish that the connection feeling didn’t scare me so much. It feels like “build and destroy” at times . She will casually say, “the push and pull.”I just want to be able to trust it and feel it without transition objects or reassurance. It took me 12 years with my husband. Maybe only 8 to go with my T? Lol.
 

Waterbear

Learning
@Waterbear, I have been with mine for almost 4 years now. I have gotten much better than I used to be, I just wish that the connection feeling didn’t scare me so much. It feels like “build and destroy” at times . She will casually say, “the push and pull.”I just want to be able to trust it and feel it without transition objects or reassurance. It took me 12 years with my husband. Maybe only 8 to go with my T? Lol.
Oh yes, build and destroy, I totally get that. For her it probably doesn't seem quite so extreme, though she probably noticed the difficulties, hence the push pull, and honestly, it will probably always need work. I have felt a chasm recently between T and I, and only last session did I manage to find a bridge again. I'm not sure if it's relevant or useful, but we use safe touch in sessions, have since very early on, and this last year we have had to sit much further apart and no touch at all. Until last session. I held her hand and looked right into her eyes. Something I very, very, very, very rarely do, but it did help a great deal to feel some connection again, on a deeper level. I could talk about the nuances of the therapy relationship for days, I think!
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
Oh yes, build and destroy, I totally get that. For her it probably doesn't seem quite so extreme, though she probably noticed the difficulties, hence the push pull, and honestly, it will probably always need work. I have felt a chasm recently between T and I, and only last session did I manage to find a bridge again. I'm not sure if it's relevant or useful, but we use safe touch in sessions, have since very early on, and this last year we have had to sit much further apart and no touch at all. Until last session. I held her hand and looked right into her eyes. Something I very, very, very, very rarely do, but it did help a great deal to feel some connection again, on a deeper level. I could talk about the nuances of the therapy relationship for days, I think!
We had been working on hugs. And parts of me like it very much, other parts don’t. Then the pandemic hit and we were online and then she’d be in person for a pocket of time. Back online again (due to building construction). Most of her clients prefer online, so my preferred day turned into an only online day. I was going to switch days, but online tends to feel safer. I want to have hugs again, so badly. However, touch is still off the table at the center.
 
Top