Case Study of the Immanuel Approach
Following is a case study of using the Immanuel approach with a client who had a diagnosis of PTSD. It is an example of the rapid healing which is possible with this approach and interesting because the client was not a believer. The name and details have been changed to protect the client’s identity.
Brigitte is in her mid 40’s and is a single mother of two. She was diagnosed with PTSD eight years earlier following an incident. Brigitte was working at a grocery store during an armed robbery. She was held at knifepoint for a period of time. Brigitte was not harmed physically but the emotional and psychological scars were still very present at the time of our meeting.
Bridgitte has been under the care of a psychiatrist and psychologist for many years. She has experienced many different types of therapy over the years but stated that nothing has helped to alleviate her symptoms.
The initial interview with Brigitte was quite brief. She had been referred to me by a friend and was seeking help to cope with the symptoms of PTSD. Brigitte’s descriptions of her symptoms were characteristic of PTSD (Yehuda, 2002). She described things such as experiencing flashbacks, avoidance of watching any television or movies which were in any way violent, nightmares and severe anxiety.
I explained to Brigitte that I was a Christian counsellor and that I used spiritual interventions in my practice. Although Brigitte is not a Christian, she was very happy to proceed with counselling using Christian spiritual interventions.
Brigitte told me her story and relayed the events that had taken place at her workplace which had traumatised her. I listened with empathy and she went on to discuss the ways that her condition is affecting her everyday life.
When Brigitte seemed comfortable and I felt we had established a good rapport, I asked Brigitte if she felt comfortable to begin therapy. Once she agreed I asked her to close her eyes and to think about the traumatic event. I then asked her to describe what she was seeing in her imagination and what she was feeling.
She described seeing herself in the situation with her attacker holding her at knifepoint. She described being overwhelmed by fear and she believed she was going to die. I asked her if she would be willing for Jesus to come and be with her in the memory while this was going on. She agreed that she would like that. I directed her to ask Jesus to come and be with her. After a few moments, I noticed a shift in her body language and she appeared to relax a little. At this point I asked her to tell me what was happening.
Brigitte said that she could now see Jesus in the memory and that she felt safer with Him there. I then led Brigitte in a series of questions to ask Jesus. I began by having her ask Him what lie she learned in this situation. After asking the question and pausing for an answer, she responded to me that she had learned that she was going to die. I then prompted her to ask Jesus what the truth was. Again, she paused after asking the question and responded that He told her she was safe. I asked Brigitte if it felt true to her that she was safe. She responded that it did.
I asked Brigitte to describe to me what was still disturbing her in the situation. She reported that her concern now was for her workmate. I asked her to ask Jesus what He wanted her to know about her workmate and she responded that He told her He would take care of her also. I again asked Brigitte to describe her emotional state in the memory. With a smile on her face she communicated that she felt “good” and “peaceful”. Her tone and expression communicated surprise and wonderment.
Brigitte went on to tell me that she had experienced similar therapy in the past where she re-visited the traumatic memory and attempted to remove the false beliefs and thoughts but that it had only increased her level of anxiety. She communicated surprise at the speed and ease that the process had removed the anxiety from the memory. Brigitte left the session describing that she felt a peace that she had not experienced for a very long time.
Follow up session:
Three weeks after our initial session, I had a follow up session with Brigitte.
Brigitte relayed that in the time since her session, her anxiety had drastically reduced. She said that she could now watch the news without experiencing any anxiety and numerous other triggers were no longer affecting her. She reported that in the past three weeks she had not suffered any symptoms of PTSD.
Brigitte also excitedly told me that on several occasions when she was experiencing a level of anxiety, she focused her mind on what was once the traumatic memory, and she felt the same peace flood over her. Not only had the trauma and toxicity been removed from the memory, it had now become a positive memory which stirred up feelings of peace and a sense of safety for her.