Casebook: How often do NHS psychiatrists get it as wrong as this?
Sometimes the apparent medical expertise of NHS psychiatrists can take their patients into darkness and despair.
Norman had been badly let down by the NHS, but recovery was at hand
I will have to watch myself here as I would hate to be accused of exhibiting dismissive superiority to my betters – namely NHS psychiatrists. Because Norman’s experience with me was one of such rapid transformation that it would be hard not to question the NHS psychiatrists under whose care Norman was and not to wonder what the hell they are about and who the hell are they kidding.
Norman was in the early twenties who came to see, seriously depressed, on heavy antidepressant medication, exhibiting classic OCD checking behaviours and under the outpatient care of NHS psychiatrists.
At his first session Norman scored 30 on the CORE system I use which is severe distress. He was sleeping badly and in particular waking up exhausted. He was spending far too much time on his own and really struggling at work (in media marketing).
He also said that he had been under a number of NHS psychiatrists over the years and none had helped him or he liked particularly or had any respect for, though the latest was “decent enough”.
At our second session, Norman’s CORE score had fallen to 19 and by the third session he was scoring just 4, an indicator of robust emotional health. And six weeks after that session he came around again as a check up – and he was flying.
How did I help Norman so quickly? It was not rocket science
At that first session, it quickly became evident that Norman had a clear and vivid access to memories that were still strongly arousing him. These concerned his early lonely and excluded experiences at his secondary school and later relationship experiences that had gone wrong.
I explained the situation to Norman as follows: that strong and uncontrolled emotions, arising as a trauma like memory outside of his conscious control had been a constant feature of his life for many years and that his ways of coping with this had made matters worse. He had evolved OCD behaviours as an attempt to be more in control.
Additionally his self confidence in group situations had been drained away and this led to excessive worrying and exhausting over dreaming, which he also sought to control by OCD checking behaviours.
To my surprise, Norman was a good trance subject which is often not the case for those on significant medication. And as his memories were so strong, it was clear that they could be detraumatised quite easily. And this was done in that first session using the Rewind method.
The effect was to calm Norman and allow him to begin to regain control of his emotions. And then what happened for Norman was what could be confidently anticipated. Namely that his self confidence would grow, especially in social situations and his OCD behaviours, already weakening would disappear completely.
I wrote a letter to his NHS psychiatrist after Norman saw him for the last time – curious to see if he might acknowledge his incapacity to help Norman and maybe be interested in how I had helped Norman. And did he? What do you think?