Jocelyn’s Baby

When Jocelyn went to see a therapist she was rocking back and forth. Her GP had referred her saying that she felt that her patient had no hope of ever getting over the death of her baby with medication and maybe there was some way that talking therapy might assist.

It very quickly became apparent that Jocelyn didn’t want to be there, or rather had no real idea of where she was – she was functioning on an artificial level, maintaining what was expected of her and after a lengthy and therapeutic (she told the therapist later) silence of about thirty minutes she asked if she could get some help from the therapist.

Slowly she began to relate her experience of giving birth to her child and the chronological order of events, the funeral, and the complete numbness that had taken over her body and how her heart ached for her baby.

All the time she was rocking back and forth back and forth. It was clear that she was deeply traumatised by the whole event but the most interesting part of the incident for her and the therapist was that when she was giving birth, she actually thought she was going to die.

There had been a problem with one of the machines that regulated her heart and it had stopped!

Jocelyn agreed to return to therapy to undergo a ‘psychological debrief’ the following week, which took two and a quarter hours to complete. A further session was booked for two weeks later and Jocelyn penned this as her evaluation of her experience of the de-brief.

‘I will be forever grateful to my doctor who sent me to see a therapist, I had really believed I was going mad, having heard how mums in Victorian times had been institutionalised after the death of a child or for having to give up a child for adoption and I thought that was going to happen to me. I really thought that my parents and doctors were going to have me sectioned. I just couldn’t get back to normal in any way, it was like I had been possessed. I had no recollection of what had happened it was as if my brain had been taken over. My head was like fuzz and people kept asking me if I was all right. I wanted to scream at them ‘of course I’m not alright I’ve just lost my baby’ but I kept quiet going through the motions, every time I closed my eyes all I could see was my beautiful dead baby boy, I had many nightmares and flashbacks of dying and never slept for more than one to two hours at a time’.

When I first met the therapist, the one thing she said to me that made it all start to seem ok was

 “You are reacting normally to an abnormal situation, please don’t think you are going mad because you are not at all’

After the psychological debrief which was very sad at times and hard going, I was instructed to carry out the breathing technique and that made it easier to carry on – it was a struggle and at times I never thought I would get through it. The time went quickly and I couldn’t believe it had been over two hours. That night after the debrief I slept for six and a half hours. The next day I barely cried at all, although I had some happy tears.

I realised that my mind felt empty somehow of the traumatic experience itself and I was free to grieve for my son properly. The therapist explained that my response was possibly due to the near death I had experienced. The feelings I had of deep sadness were grief and loss all combined. It all made perfect sense to me. When I went back to see the therapist for a third and final session I felt so much better, still sad for my loss and I will always remember him but it’s a different kind of sadness almost as if it should be there, kind of natural grief.

I have recently written to the therapist to tell her that I have just given birth to twins and that I am happy for her to use my account. As far as I’m concerned, the more people that can do this kind of work to help people get through their trauma, whatever that is and move on, the better.

Little Blue Book of Feathers
For those affected by the loss of their baby boy
AMAZON – ISBN-13: 978-0992784850

Little Pink Book of Daisies
For those affected by the loss of their baby girl
AMAZON – ISBN-13: 978-0992784867

Sue J Daniels
BACP (Snr. Accred).
EMDR & BSP Practitioner
Professional Counselling & Trauma Specialist


The Sadness of Satanic Abuse

I have been sectioned eleven times and you know what, until now, I’ve never felt believed or understood. My experience was never validated, just covered up with drugs or people telling me what was best for me. So, no different to the abusers really, just in a different form. Now I am on a road of recovery of sorts. I’ve been able to connect with that little boy who was abused and tell him just how much he really is worth.

Of all the cases we work with as professionals, some of the hardest histories to understand are from clients who have suffered satanic or ritual abuse from their childhood. The atrocities that they have suffered, often from their own parents and relations can sometimes seem unreal and difficult to hear.

Satanic Ritual Abuse, also known as SRA includes many, but not all of the following types of abuse;

  • Conditioning the child into believing that he/she is a child of the devil.
    This can stay with a person for life.
  • Rejection by a belief in God – conditioning blame.
    Believing the self to be ultimately bad and deserving of any and all abuse against them.
  • Normalising incest and sexual violation by members of the family.
    Conditioning and acceptance of the child growing up unaware of sexual acts being wrong.
  • Emotional conditioning and abuse.
    Yoyo Emotional Being given toys at Christmas and Birthdays only to have them immediately taken away. To appear to be different at school – keeping the child socially isolated (so that he/she won’t tell).
  • Physical abuse, beating, cutting and/or drawing blood
    Bloodletting – forcing children to kill animals to use their blood – sacrificing animals.

Keeping the child/children prisoner/s in their own home – isolating.
Speaking to the child in a particular language – familiar only within the family.

  • Performing cult like rituals involving blood smearing and rape of children, perpetrator often dressed in various frightening costumes.
    Child/children terrified into silence unable to think for self and almost always completely unable to make a decision/s in later life.
  • There are cases where children have been born specifically to be abused in this way.

I have included some true testimonies from clients who have given their written permission to allow publication in this blog and other written material, although I have changed their names, gender and all identity to protect them further.


‘My Auntie said ‘God will save you’ how shit is that? They make you naked in the church, they make you eat raw meat as a sacrifice and then they make you drink blood to reject the devil from you. I was terrified for all of my life, told I was a devil child and that to be so brutally abused in so many ways by so many men was the only way to force the devil out of me. I still think about the textures they put in my mouth, I cannot eat anything like it, even now.


‘My first memory is being led into a church, on reflection it was more like a sort of makeshift church in an old village hall, I can still smell the mustiness. In front of at least thirty others, two men dressed in robes undressed me and I will never forget the pain as they violated my scrawny six year old body. They made me drink blood, which they told me was the blood of Christ and that this treatment of me was the only way to keep the devil out of me.

I ran away many times and was always brought home, it was my father who took me to this place and each time the police or authorities brought me home he beat me to within an inch of my life after they had gone.
He told me I wasn’t worthy of attention and would lock me in my room for days on end without food. I had a dog’s bowl of water, I had no toys or anything. My room was filthy, I remember the brick walls showing under the plaster and old paper was hanging off the other walls. Sometimes he would come and get me to take me to the church place and other times he would send men up to my room to abuse me. It was always in the name of God though, always.


‘I was owned by my uncle, he had ‘claimed’ me apparently when I was just three years old. I think I was lucky because I had a magical way of looking down on the abuse from above, the therapist calls it dissociation, but whatever it was, it helped me detach from the reality of what was happening.

My uncle was a teacher at our Sunday school choir, he would take me to their meetings after choir practice with three other boys. We were ritually subjected to sadistic assaults, physically, emotionally and sexually at every level of depravity that one human can bestow upon another. It was sick and twisted and we were all always terrified. Even now, that the abusers are dead and buried, I can’t be in the same location as where it happened, I’m far enough away geographically, but my mind is often back there and I still don’t sleep properly.

I have been sectioned eleven times and you know what, until now, I’ve never felt believed or understood. My experience was never validated, just covered up with drugs or people telling me what was best for me. So, no different to the abusers really, just in a different form. Now I am on a road of recovery of sorts. I’ve been able to connect with that little boy who was abused and tell him just how much he really is worth.

I may never recover fully, but with help I am starting to look forward instead of back. I see the new fresh road ahead and not the filthy path behind. I am looking forward yes, to a future I didn’t dare believe could be possible’.


‘Church, church church, always the bloody church. My mother was obsessed with sending me there. She’s dead now and I will never know if she actually knew about what they did to me on a Sunday morning and a Tuesday evening after school, in that fucking church.

I must have been seven years old when it first started. They would strip me naked and the big priest would start by laying me out on a huge table and raping me. The are no words to describe the pain of the rape let alone the shame and humiliation. When he’d finished, he would pass me round while the others watched, sometimes they would make me do things to them and then after, they would beat me with a belt, for doing it, as if I’d had a choice!
The worst thing I could have done was to not cry because then they just carried on beating me until I did cry, but I had detached. I was numb to the pain, the humiliation, it really was as if I was watching from the side or up above’. The whole thing was horrific and I am only glad that I have finally found some kind of way of working through what happened’.

Any kind of sexual interaction with children, whether it is wrapped up in religion or as ritual, satanic, cult covered or whatever the abusers or media choose to call it, it is still child abuse, sadistic sexual assault and nothing more than an excuse for grown men and sometimes women, to get their kicks from forcing children to gratify their sexual perversions.

in fact, it seems, the more power they are able to exert over innocent children, the more terror they can instil, the better they like it. The children on the other hand, have no choice, no say and no voice at all. The repercussions for those affected can stay with them throughout their lives, triggered by almost anything in their day to day existence.

An excerpt from:
Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence
A Guide for Professionals
ISBN – 978-1785921117

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist 

Unsafe at home..

On that morning, in those split seconds an intruder came into her kitchen and unleashed a savage attack on Laura before raping her and then kicking her continuously with such force that she lost consciousness.

Laura lives in a cul-de-sac. Her property has a walled garden, and the back entrance is from the road via a wrought iron gate to the side. She loved her house, her garden, her two cats and had many friends and neighbours who she loved to visit.

One morning in June 2015, Laura let one of her cats out into the garden and left the back door slightly ajar in order for it to come back in.

On that morning, in those split seconds an intruder came into her kitchen and unleashed a savage attack on Laura before raping her and then kicking her continuously with such force that she lost consciousness. There she lay until a neighbour who had seen a man running out of the side gate, had gone in to see what was going on.

Laura spent twelve weeks in hospital, four of those in intensive care and underwent surgery with a further two months in convalescence. By the time she was referred to post trauma therapy eight months later, she had attempted suicide three times. She had turned to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to obliterate the reality of her experience, and several physiological symptoms such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and bouts of psoriasis had manifested her mental state.

After hearing her story, it was clear that Laura was suffering from emotional, physical and physiological trauma. Shock and trauma go right to the very core of our existence and to be able to remove this from a person’s psyche can be likened to taking a splinter from deep beneath the skin.

Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, professionals, psychologists, psychotherapists all play their part in assisting a traumatised individual. However, sometimes they fail to see the splinter.

After six or seven counselling sessions, it became apparent that general counselling was not working for Laura, and that in order for her to benefit, she needed to somehow lessen the impact that the vicious attack had left her with.

After an explanation of the process of Psychological Debriefing, it was explained to Laura that it was not counselling but a processing intervention that would allow her to lessen the impact of what she had been through, she stated that she was prepared to try anything.

The following week the therapist carried out the Psychological Debrief, which took two and a quarter hours. A further appointment was booked for four weeks later, and Laura went home.

On that fourth week, the therapist opened the door to Laura who seemed to have changed her appearance somehow, when asked how she had been – a smile came over her face and lit up her eyes (something the therapist had not seen her do before). She said very excitedly:

‘I don’t know what you did or how you did it, but it’s worked.  I don’t want to die anymore, and I‘ve decided to start to make a new life for myself. I’ve already decided to do some voluntary work in one of the charity shops in the town. For the first time since the attack I put my own rubbish out last week. I now have extra security but I don’t think about dying anymore.’

Laura was left for dead in an unprovoked attack leaving her world in utter chaos for many months. Before the Psychological Debrief she had totally isolated herself in the newly secured safety of her own home, the very place where the attack had taken place. She had been unable to leave her house or have inter- personal relationships even with her own family.

As a direct result of the Psychological Debrief session Laura was able to slowly start to revive her life and carry out normal everyday tasks.

An excerpt from:
Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence
A Guide for Professionals
ISBN – 978-1785921117

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist 




Putting the kettle on, I washed a mug, as I stood there at the sink I had a sense that I was being watched. Turning around, there was Doug, my friend’s new man, a thick set giant, standing with his arm leaning against the door frame, smiling.

I went for professional counselling, because I knew that there was something troubling me that I had never talked about. I felt ashamed and needed to ‘get it off my chest’ so to speak. Many years before when I was a shy twenty four year old, I had lived at a friend’s house for about a year. We worked together running a small café, and we were great friends. She had recently taken up with a new boyfriend, Doug, a builder on the site where our business was, he had decided to move in. He was okay, built like a shed, he could be very temperamental but he was charming and had a great sense of humour. At the weekends we would all go out to a local workingmen’s club, meet other friends, dance and enjoy a few drinks. I was young, naive and cherished the freedom that living at my friend’s house gave me.

One Monday morning, I woke up with the most horrendous hangover. In fact I now recall it as my first and last. I came downstairs, my friend took one look at me and said:

‘Oh Marianne you can’t possibly come to work like that. You look green (at which point I went and vomited outside in the garden). Go back to bed. It shouldn’t be too busy today.’

That was all I needed to hear. I was off back up those stairs feeling like absolute death. I must have fallen into a deep sleep, because before I knew it, it was eleven o’clock. I went downstairs, thankful that at least my head had started to clear. Every fibre in me was screaming out for coffee. Putting the kettle on, I washed a mug, as I stood there at the sink I had a sense that I was being watched. Turning around, there was Doug, my friend’s new man, a thick set giant, standing with his arm leaning against the door frame, smiling. He was completely taking up the whole space, thoughts quickly raced through my mind. I was panicking and instinctively frightened: what was he doing here? Why wasn’t he at work? I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could, but there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, I was standing in a baggy t-shirt, and he was stood there watching me, nervously I asked:

‘Can I get you a cup of tea Doug?’

There was no answer and no time to get away. He lunged at me grabbing my hair, throwing me onto the hard floor, three times over a two-hour period, right there, in the kitchen he raped me, over and over again. When he had terrorised me enough, he carried me upstairs to the bathroom, where I vividly remember him locking the door behind us. I swear I thought that was it,  I was going to die in that bathroom, I really thought he was going to drown me. He placed the toilet lid down and told me to sit there and wait, like a rabbit in headlights I just did what he said, I was too frightened to do anything else.

And then he calmly ran a bath, he put bubble bath in it and even tested the temperature, I was so confused by the inconsistent behaviour of this man. On reflection, I must have been in complete shock. And then in a surreal moment he picked me up and gently lowered me into the bath, gently washing me. I was terrified and utterly confused.

While he was doing this ‘washing’ thing, it was as if he completely owned me, controlling every move. I was still frozen rigid with fear as he started to tell me, his mouth very close to my face, how I ought to be frightened of him because he could actually snap me in an instant. He told me how he loved my friend and how sad and how angry she would be if she ever found out that I had come on to him in such a sly way behind her back. At that moment, I was convinced that it was my fault, absolutely convinced, and so I never told a soul, not until I went to see a counsellor twenty four years later. The counsellor asked me what my story was and what was troubling me.

I related my experience as above and explained that I had been having nightmares recently and in fact had been having them since the incident 24 years previously. I had a real aversion to having a bath, and if I did ever manage it, I couldn’t stand for the toilet lid to be down or for the bathroom door to be locked.

The counsellor was a nice man who listened intently. When I had finished talking, he said,

‘Would you like to try a technique that may lessen the impact of all those memories?’

I said I would try anything, so he relaxed me to a deep level and then he asked me to relive the incident on an imaginary screen and afterwards to rewind it. I did this technique a couple of times and then booked another appointment. Two days later I felt the best I had ever felt and rang to cancel my next appointment. He was happy for me to do so and said he had expected it. It was brilliant. I have never looked back. I could still recall the incident and describe the details, but it has no emotional impact on me anymore.
An excerpt from: 
Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence
A Guide for Professionals
ISBN – 978-1785921117

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist 

Imprisoned in a Private Hell

Imprisoned in a Private Hell

     I remember the first client I ever saw, she was an ex-heroin addict, she had been sexually violated by her brother when she was eleven years old, that particular client session was twenty years ago now, and I still remember her to this day. The client told me that it wasn’t until she was fifteen that she realised what her brother did to her wasn’t normal, only that she had felt uncomfortable and that she didn’t like it but because she loved him she accepted it as normal. During a school biology lesson she had a light bulb moment that it was wrong, so very wrong. After many years of drug addiction and self-sabotage, it took a further twenty years for her to fully disclose what had happened, when she engaged in therapy for the first time.

     When a person has been raped or sexually violated in any way, they can often live in their own private hell, unable to speak or recall their experiences easily. Having a trained professional to listen, with both their ears and their heart, can be priceless to that individual and is the beginning of healing and restoration for that person.

     In the two decades that I’ve been privileged to work with each and every client, I’ve been continually surprised at the bravery and courage often shown. But long term working with people who have been traumatised by rape and sexual violence or those who have survived childhood sexual assault can be exhausting to say the least. It has certainly made me question humanity over and over again and why I didn’t choose an entirely different path.

     There are times when I think I’ve heard the very worst defilement that one person can bestow upon another, the shock of some content multiplies with disclosures such as fathers wearing animal masks as they raped their toddler daughters or recollections of mothers sexually assaulting their children under the guise of personal hygiene cleansing rituals.

     For those working on the front line, this work is demanding and requires professional boundaries of steel in order to assist those in need of release, recovery and restoration.

     Every week we get calls from counsellors, policing teams, support workers and other professionals asking for information and/or advice about working with rape and sexual violence, so I’ve put together the following information to answer some of the questions previously asked:

Top Twenty List of Do’s and Don’ts for Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence.

  1. Do – listen, believe and acknowledge.
  2. Do – undertake the correct training for working with trauma.
  3. Do – always have a sincere, empathic response and complete client focus.
  4. Do – have a robust signposting list for additional practical support.
  5. Do – have regular line management or clinical supervision.
  6. Do – always be aware of your own limits for working with this fragile subject.
  7. Do – have a terms and conditions or contractual agreement in place.
  8. Do – remember that every person is unique and reacts differently.
  9. Do – provide a safe, confidential and boundaried space to allow disclosure.
  10. Do – take good care of yourself, watch for burnout and vicarious trauma symptoms.
  11. Don’t – engage with traumatic content that you are not trained to work with.
  12. Don’t – impose your own beliefs or judgements on a client/patient/service user.
  13. Don’t – blame, accuse or give your opinion about choices made.
  14. Don’t – make promises that you cannot keep.
  15. Don’t – leave a client/patient/service user emotionally unsafe.
  16. Don’t – break confidentiality about what you have been told, without consent.
  17. Don’t – expect one treatment approach to work for every individual.
  18. Don’t – expect clients to work to your speed – let them set the pace.
  19. Don’t – be inconsistent or impatient with a client’s progress.
  20. Don’t – be disrespectful or abuse a client/patient/service user’s trust.

    Although working in this field undoubtedly has a shelf life, it is important to remember that it is also rewarding, joyous and often profoundly moving to see those who have been affected by sexual violation, move on with their lives. With new hope as the impact of the trauma safely lessened and for their futures to be finally available to them and to their families.
Sue J Daniels
BACP (Snr. Accred)

EMDR & BSP Practitioner
Professional Counselling &
Trauma Specialist


Lucky to be alive….

All of this is happening to you in a split second even though it feels and seems much longer. The silence is harrowing as you lay upside down in a world where you are not really sure if your head is still attached to your body, the petrol smell is really bad now and you can hear hissing, this takes over and you panic again allowing all the changes that are already occurring start to occur even more almost all over again as you think the car is going to blow up.

Imagine getting ready for work on a ‘normal day’ unlocking your car, getting in and driving off the same way as you always do, the same way that you have travelled for years to the same job. Four miles down the road you check your mirror, indicate your intention just as you have done a hundred times before, you turn your car to the right and just as you do a speeding motorist as if from nowhere appears in your rear view mirror and slams head on into your right side, in a split second your car flips over sliding down the road on its roof, you are upside down at this point hanging in by your seat belt, absolutely terrified. It’s as if all of this is happening in slow motion, the car stops abruptly and all you can smell and taste is petrol, you cannot move or see, there is glass everywhere. Right now the changes that are occurring in your body are as follows:

Adrenaline has been released from your adrenal glands (situated above your kidneys). Red blood cells flood to carry oxygen – blood is diverted to wherever it is needed. Your breathing becomes rapid to provide more energy. Your lungs have dilated to give you more oxygen. Your sweating has increased and you might be vomiting, urinating or loosening your bowels (all in a bid to make your body lighter for purposes of flight) your muscles have tightened and you are like a coiled spring, your blood pressure is up and your mouth is very dry.

All of this is happening to you in a split second even though it feels and seems much longer. The silence is harrowing as you lay upside down in a world where you are not really sure if your head is still attached to your body, the petrol smell is really bad now and you can hear hissing, this takes over and you panic again allowing all the changes that are already occurring start to occur even more almost all over again as you think the car is going to blow up. Suddenly in a distance you hear the faint and then very loud, faint, loud sound of peoples voices, panicking, shouting, screaming, you start to close your eyes as an arm comes through the smashed glass of the drivers window –they are upside down too!

“Keep your eyes open love, ambulance is on its way” you talk but you don’t know what you are saying, it’s as if someone else is speaking for you.

“Don’t try to move, my names Ron, I saw what happened you are going to be okay” Your eyes start to close as you hear a siren, it gets louder and then more sirens. Ron starts to tell you that there have been five other cars involved and then tells you about his dog Ollie. You start to drift off; you cannot feel anything of the rest of your body at this point. By now Police, Ambulances and Fire Engines have arrived and as you drift in and out of consciousness you feel the hand of another holding your hand saying

“Its okay, we’ll soon have you out of here”

A paramedic is talking and you vaguely see her face as she says

“Ok my Love, my name is Jayne, we are going to have to cut the car to get you out safely”, then you hear another voice

“Please don’t leave me here, I am so scared” you realise this must be your own voice but it is somehow detached from you. The sound of a drill, no a saw or some sort of power tool – as you continue to drift in and out of consciousness you think you see a blade coming in at you from the side but you can’t move.

“Stay awake now, listen we’ll soon have you out of here and in a warm and safe bed” this information keeps you sane momentarily and gives you hope.

Fire & Rescue services carry stabilising equipment that is necessary to stabilise vehicles to ensure the safety of all personnel and to support the condition of the casualty. The Emergency vehicle carries specialised equipment that supplements tools available on a standard appliance.

On the way to the incident, the crew will have been briefed on all available information received at the Fire Service control room, such as the exact location of the collision, the number of vehicles involved, the number of casualties, the nature of the injuries, the weather conditions and any additional details concerning risks that may be present. On arrival, the officer in charge will carry out a risk assessment of the scene and will brief the crews on all the risks present. These may include those posed by the weather, broken glass, glass dust, spilled fuel and chemicals or modern vehicles that may contain technologically advanced safety features such as air bags.

You feel a sense of fresh air and the coolness of freedom as they lift your body out of the car, its like you can see it happening from above but you cannot feel it, and then, in an instant you are slammed back into your body and you cry out as the pain is like a million shards of glass, you feel your head re balance itself as they lay you down, now the ‘right way up’ even though you are laying down. In to the ambulance, people constantly talk to you, asking questions, keeping you awake, next of kin? Who else was with you? What’s your name? The questions become monotone, just a drone of noise like a humming in the background you cannot make sense of anything, then, its so peaceful, the lights go out, from a distance somewhere in your head you hear a siren, a mask on your face you can’t stay awake – it goes dark.

You awake momentarily to the bright blinding lights, you try to bring your hand up to shield your eyes but they don’t move, the sound of chaos everywhere, louder and louder, fainter then louder, confusion, people in green and white hustling around you and what seems to be many others in the same position but it goes dark again and you fall and fall as if into a never ending chasm.

Unbeknownst to you it is now eight days later…you are so thirsty, you awake, eyes not quite working for some reason and you are desperate for a drink of water, from somewhere in the room a nurse hands you a small plastic cup, the cool clear taste of water kicks in your hunger and just as you are about to ask the nurse says

“Would you like something to eat?” Yes please and darkness beckons once more. Later, you are to have no recollection of that drink of water.

Screaming into the room, eyes and mouth wide open, you awaken, sweat pouring from every pore in your body, terrified, as if back at the scene of the accident, you start to remember small pictures, images, smells, tastes. You cry in pain and sorrow as you remember the impact, sketchy memories of the people at the scene.

Just to the side you feel a familiar hand holding yours, its your wife Jenny, she has been sat with you throughout your stay in hospital. You know her but you don’t know her, you are confused but you don’t know you are confused. She talks to you gently, telling you that you are going to be okay and that you will get through it together, the doctors say you will make a full recovery but it will take time.

Lying there, you have absolutely no idea what she is talking about and barely know who you are, let alone anything else, but her voice sounds nice, sounds warm and comforting, you need that right now, so you listen and fall back into darkness. Back into the light again as you eat a sandwich with some water, staring into space. Refreshing and satisfied once more, you slip back in to the darkness.

Two full days later and you are wide awake, most of your body hurts, feels like its on fire, especially your legs and ankles, you are given regular pain relief and have many visitors, you don’t recognise all of them but they are vaguely familiar – this is due to the head injury you sustained when it hit the windscreen, all these visitors telling you how glad they are to see you still alive and kicking “because it was touch and go you know”, over the next few days you get the full story of what actually happened.

It all gradually starts to filter through and you know that your last actual memory was setting off in your car that morning with bits of the impact, which are intermittent. You were going to work as normal and a car with two teenage girls came speeding towards you, through a red light, they didn’t see you because the driver was texting. Both girls died on impact at the scene and you think to yourself, ‘what a waste of two young lives, why didn’t God take me instead, I’ve had my life’ you are soon also told that there were five others injured in the multi vehicle collision two others were killed, one was only five years old: Death toll was four, injured parties, six.

Finally the hospital let you go home and when you get home, your wife and son has arranged for a bed to be brought downstairs because of your leg injuries. You have three breaks in your right ankle from the force of the break pedal and a deep wound in your left ankle from where the clutch pedal was embedded into it, smashing the bones as it did. There is a slim chance that you won’t walk again but you have been told you will get all the help and support you need. You remember thinking ‘one day at a time’ Jenny we will get through it. Your wife shows you a photo of your car because you keep asking about it,

“Yours is the blue one on the right” it’s at this point that reality really sinks in, you break down emotionally and sob and sob until you are exhausted.
“How am I even still here at all?” you cry out.

Days turn into weeks; police come to see you to take what seems like endless statements further to the ones they have already attempted to take at the hospital. People come in and out to visit; you have never ending hospital, physiotherapy, and consultant’s appointments not to mention all the legal side of things to deal with. Because you are unable to work you need some financial support, work pays you but they cannot pay you forever and this will soon turn to half pay, so armed with this information, your solicitor commissions a case management company who come to assess you and the damage. You have to make impact statements about how the accident has affected your life and all the time all you can think about is that the alternative would have been much worse, and there are people dead. How can you even think about claiming on their insurance, you know though that you cannot pay your mortgage if you don’t?

After nine months, the consultant says that you are healing nicely and will be walking to ninety nine per cent capability with a very slight limp within a year if you can keep up with the Physiotherapy. He mentions that you might want to have a try at driving your spanking new car around the block to see how it feels, and how the pressure affects your feet. This sounds like a good idea and so you do just that – you get Jenny to go with you and you struggle into the drivers seat.

As soon as you do this, your whole body starts to shake, your heart is pounding and your head feels dizzy, you notice your mouth is dry and you are absolutely undeniably bloody terrified. Jenny, not noticing this physical reaction at first, says
“Come on then Paul, it seems ages since you’ve”…she stops in mid sentence as she now notices your physical response, jumps out of the car her side, and comes round to help get you out. In the house you talk with Jenny and Lloyd your son, about what has just happened.

“Well apparently my body is healing nicely the consultant says, so I should be able to drive again even if its just small journeys to start with – what am I going to do?” Lloyd suggests there must be someone or an organisation that can help with this psychological effect so he offers to search the Internet.

Lloyd finds a trauma specialist who has a vast experience of working with road traffic collision and the after effects for the survivors.
“Right then, we’ll call them first thing on Monday morning I don’t care how far they are”. So you book your first appointment and feel instantly acknowledged because the person on the other end asks if you can manage the stairs, you know you can because you’ve had your bed back upstairs for some time. This tiny question leads you to believe that the person you were talking to is experienced and may have come across road traffic collision survivors before.

At the initial meeting, you are asked many questions about the incident and the therapist asks you to tell her the very ‘worst’ moment for you. This is not difficult because you know it’s the moment that they put you on the stretcher after lifting you out of the car roof, or is it later when you looked at the photo of the car, or after hearing the news about the two teenage girls being killed after a moment of stupidity.

The next question seems a little odd

“Did you Paul, at any moment during or after the collision think you were going to die?” Yes you want to scream and at first I wished I bloody had!

“Yes I did quite a few times actually”

The therapist shows you a breathing technique called 7/11 breathing and you practice it with her – you don’t like to admit it but it already feels better. She explains how she would like to work with you by using a technique called critical incident debriefing also known as psychological debriefing. You book your next session, which is possibly going to take about 90 minutes or more, and you go home. You actually feel a bit better for having told a complete stranger the details of what you have been through and you look forward to your next appointment.

At home you feel slightly better for having spoken but now it’s at the surface and you feel a bit odd, so you try this new breathing technique which feels a bit alien compared to the way you normally breathe but she said to just to do it when you need to – and you actually find it really calming.

7/11 Breathing

Breath in through the nose for the count of 7 (blow up you stomach)
Breath out through the mouth for the count of 11 (empty stomach)
It is the out breath that induces the calm.

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist

Having Access to Children….

Sexual predators, who prey on children almost always put themselves in positions of authority, trust or are already family members, friends or relations.

Having worked with hundreds of adult clients who have been sexually abused as children, the common trait has always been that child sexual abuse is about having access to children, authorised or otherwise.

Sexual predators, who prey on children almost always put themselves in positions of authority, trust or are already family members, friends or relations.

The sexual predator of today does not wear the obligatory dirty old Mac, nor does he or she hide in alleyways or dark places, they seek their prey in everyday occupations and walks of life, from the unemployed to highly respected members of many organisations.

Underneath the masks of everyday people, sexual predators will groom, coerce, manipulate, dominate, blackmail, tease, ridicule, finance, threaten or isolate in an underlying and underhand manner in which to abuse, assault and psychologically disempower children, tearing away at their right to a childhood.

Before the abuse even takes place, the perpetrator will have told or threatened their victim in one of the ways mentioned above, into believing that not only might they be encouraging and causing the abuse to happen, but also that they won’t be believed and/or harm will come to them or those they love in some way if they tell. So, in a never-ending cycle of abuse the perpetrator fulfills their twisted fantasy by actually acting it out, this then magnifies its effect, seeking then, to further satisfy their depravation upon more vulnerable children, in keeping their victim/s silent they are able to ensure continued access, guaranteeing silence and the power to further abuse.

When a child who has been sexually violated moves on into adulthood, the fact that the physical/sexual touching and assaults have stopped can seem like the end. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; metaphorically, childhood sexual abuse can be likened to a deepening barbed splinter within the body, the more the ‘victim’ holds on to the ‘secret’ locked away inside – the deeper the splinter embeds and the sharper the barbs impale on their soul, leaving scars that, for many, seem impossible to heal.

On reflection, in later life, survivors look back at their abuse with the eyes of an adult and not the terror of a vulnerable child. It can often be too late to seek justice against the perpetrator/s but it is never too late to start to heal and with the right help, that metaphoric splinter can be slowly removed.

It takes a huge amount of guts and courage for survivors of paedophiles to finally find a voice and speak out against those who have molested them and the recent disclosures about Jimmy Savile have opened the floodgates, almost giving permission for others to do so in a safe and more accepted way, all of those affected by any form of sexual violation in childhood deserve the very best help they can get, even if for some, this is remaining safe within their silence.

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist