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Mother asks how to help son with head injury

02 May
A mother whose 26 year old son hasn’t been the same since a head injury while skiing years ago, wonders what will help him, since he isn’t willing to go into therapy..
Dear Belleruth,

I have a son, now 26, who suffered a head injury, while skiing, when he was 18. Physically he is fine but emotionally and psychologically he is still struggling. While he has come a long way, it has been, and continues to be, a painful road (suicide attempt, drug addiction) and unfortunately he is not open to going for help. I was thinking of having him listen to your PTSD CD. I thought I would sit with him the first time that he listened to it, for support. He says he is willing to try it. I wonder if you have any other suggestions.

Thank you, M.

Dear M,
I’m sorry about your son. I think the PTSD imagery could be very useful to him - when someone is resistant to getting professional help, something like an imagery CD can serve as an important bridge, or even substitute. Some sleep imagery at night could also be a help and a way of working with him in a more receptive state. And if he likes the technique, he could work with the stress imagery when he needs a change.

Since he suffered a traumatic head imagery, it might be very helpful to get him some cranio-sacral work (click on more info - there are trained, certified practitioners in this technique all over the place). This is gentle, non-invasive energy work along the head and spine that is very relaxing and pleasant to experience. It goes straight to the body, and circumvents psychological resistance.

If at some point he’s ready for some very short term, structured work (that you don’t have to call ‘therapy’) around the traumatic memory of the accident, I would recommend one of the ‘alphabet therapies’ for him - EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, Tapas Accupressure - something along those lines. You can find practitioners at their websites. He may still need some old fashioned therapy, but working in these dimensions first might make that more palatable and possible for him.

Best of luck with this.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award