When you find yourself lost in the maze of a complex problem, it is necessary to structure all the information through a method. This practice is all the more necessary when it is a question, as I present it, of a family which lives a traumatic situation and, as regards the mother, polytraumatic .

The family situation is that of Angélique and Stéphane, mother and father of two children aged 4 and 8: Rose and Sébastien.

Angélique leaves for a week with her mother-in-law and her two children in Morocco. On the way back, on the way to the airport, she saw a serious accident.

The taxi driver in which she is with her mother-in-law and her children is killed and the passengers of the other car involved are seriously injured, perhaps even dead...

Back in France, her husband tells her that he is leaving her.

10 weeks after the accident, she comes for consultation.

She basically says, "I don't recognize myself, I'm tossed around like a doll and emotionally I have ups and downs." she manages by continually telling them about the accident.

Her attempt at a solution is to have her children looked after by her stepmother because she experienced the accident with them.

However, she continues to lack appetite, is anxious, takes alcohol; and she blames herself a lot because she thinks she should play sports, go out with her friends, but she can't.  

She feels a loss of direction in relation to her work and ruminates on her doubts about what she should do about her marriage.

What we decided to do:

Work first with the children, on the one hand to check that they were doing well, but also so that Angélique could concentrate on her own problems.

  • Rose wanted to protect her mom; she was very scared when her mum talked about the accident but didn't dare tell her because she felt her mum needed to talk about it. To do this, she used drawings, maps...
  • I asked Angelique if she expected anything else from Rose and if she could not tell her about the accident.
  • Then I asked Sébastien who, apart from him, were the people most shaken by the events. And he said Mom and then Rose and no one else, at least not his grandmother. He claimed to be concerned about Mom and Rose; "Mom always talks to her about the accident." I was able to tell her: "Do you think it would do Rose any good not to talk about it anymore? Yes, he replied."

Asking the children about the next step: who should we talk to? They answered the parents.  

  • So I saw the parents and suggested that they watch for weak signals in their children.
    I explained to them how one could feed the symptoms by talking too much or overprotecting the children like Angelique's mother-in-law did and underlined the need to normalize things.

With Angelique, the most important thing was to clarify how trauma was a problem today in order to clearly differentiate between the two traumas: the accident and when her husband told her "it's over", in order to prepare the decisions that she had to take in relation to her couple.

We had to be able to manage priorities. She talked a lot about the physical aspects: sleep, feelings and trying to find solutions that didn't work.

And to be able to leave his couple problems for later.

Set a framework in her relationship with her husband Stéphane.

  • Angélque proceeded to a writing work, "the traumatic novel" which Roberta spoke about and I worked on the body with a session of hypnosis. She had developed a deep disgust and constantly wanted to vomit. After one session, the symptoms ceased.
  • We then worked to consolidate the state of Angelique by insisting on the importance of taking care of oneself and rebuilding the link with the community.