The Speakmans Episode 12: Tuesday 29th July
Last year, Marion's sister, Pamela was murdered by her boyfriend who buried Pamela in shallow grave. The police & sniffer dogs searched the area for two months and eventually found her body. Marion feel's that her life has changed forever, not only has she lost her sister, but she's also lost part of herself. Marion feels incredibly guilty as she was meant to go and visit Pamela the day she was murdered. Marion was very close to Pamela and they only lived 10 minutes apart. Marion is suffering from PTSD and claustrophobia. She was once a confident woman but now she hates being in confined spaces. If she goes into big shops then she'll need to know where all the exit signs are placed. Her son is getting married at the end of June and he's paid for her flight to Turkey but she can't get on the plane. Marion replays her sister's murder on a daily basis and she desperately wants to start enjoying life again.
Can The Speakmans help Marion accept her sisters murder? Will Marion be able to face her demons?
This is a very emotional episode of the Speakmans and Marion wants to get over her symptoms for the sake of her family.
When talking to the Speakmans she described how she had created a picture of the way that things happened after hearing about the court case and being in court. It is almost like a movie has been made in her mind. Nik Speakman kept talking about the movie in her mind and she agreed.
PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder can be caused by a variety of incidents, and as in this case the incident did not even happen to the person affeccted. In order to help treat this problem there are a number of ways that it can be address. As with any talking therapy it is part of the process to talk through what happened. In any case of losing someone close it is important to go through the greiving process. This is perfectly normal and part of moving on. There is no set time scheme that this must take place in. For some it can happen sooner than others.
It would seem from the way that the Speakmans are talking they would favour a technique that is sometimes known as the Rewind, or fast phobia technique. This involves using the idea of a film. Another intervention that I practice is called EMDR or eye movement desensitisiation and reprocessing. This is a very effective way to help deal with PTSD and has proven results including in the field of war.
It is always important to look at a variety of approaches as what is good for one client may not be so good for another. The family therapy method that we see on the Speakmans every episode may not suit everyone. If you are not with a family or do not have that support you are in fact in the majority, as most therapists work with individuals and not in a family therapy setting.
The device of getting all of the family to write letters may not work for you and your family. This is clearly part of the process of chosing who is on the show and so means that many people would have missed their chance because they were already alone.
This show did depict a great deal of empathy from the Speakmans and this was appropriate to the case they were dealing with. It did seem that perhaps we missed some of the interventions that they used but this seems common in this television show and may be down to time constraints or some other reason.
What we did see was their use of the rewind technique which has been adapted by many people and most therapists like myself are able to use this technique to help you to change the way that you think about an incident that has happened. The music in the background of this segment was quite sinister and would not have been playing when they used this technique. It also takes longer than we saw but of course in a TV show editing is needed.
It was wonderful to see Marion able to overcome her concerns and let go in order to move forward.
The phrase "I've never thought of it that way" is something that as therapists we hear often. Being able to talk to someone who can help you understand why you think a certain way and help you to move on is often invaluable.
If you are looking for help with anxiety and stress, a fear or phobia or any other problem the there is a great deal of free advice and support here including FREE MP3 downloads for relaxation and "How to Stop a panic attack".
Advice on chosing a therapist...
If you are looking for a therapist to help you with any issue then do make enquiries and ask two ot three people about how they will help you. One of the most important things is picking the right person for you. This can give you confidence before you even begin, and the right therapist can guide you to exactly where you would like to be.
Asking for help can be very difficult, and once you have done that things can already start to get easier for you.