In the summer of 2000, Jane’s 21-year-old daughter Lucie was murdered in a horrible case that made headline news around the world. While working in Tokyo, she was raped, murdered and her body was dismembered.
This would have been too much for any parent to cope with, but Jane felt like she was in a waking nightmare. Her mind created awful images of what she imagined to have happened, and these went around and around in her head constantly for more than three years. She barely slept, and certain triggers, like the sound of a chainsaw, or a child who looked a bit like Lucie, would cause the images to become overpowering.
Jane had some counselling sessions but they didn’t stop what was going on. She felt she wasn’t moving through a grieving process at all but was trapped in trauma.
Jane’s son also sought professional help to come to terms with what had happened, and it was his psychiatrist who told Jane about EMDR and suggested it might help her.
When Jane saw her EMDR therapist for the first time, he asked her what she thought would make her feel better – Jane knew she just wanted to feel that Lucie was safe now. Jane had four EMDR sessions, but only had to tell her therapist what had happened in the first one. During the following three sessions she focused on the phrase “she’s safe” while thinking about what happened and following the therapist’s fingers back and forth.
That feeling of safety became ingrained. When she thought about Lucie and started to be bombarded by frightening images, Jane now heard a voice saying, “she’s safe”, and the images instantly stopped. The pictures quickly started to come into Jane’s head less frequently and with less emotional power. Jane was able to think about Lucie and feel sad rather than completely traumatised and to progress through the grieving process.
Thanks to EMDR, Jane could focus better on her life. She was able to visit Japan and stand up in court at the trial of Lucie’s killer and give a victim impact statement as he sat opposite her.
Today, when she sees a girl who looks like her daughter or has to think about what happened, Jane still hears the voice telling her, “she’s safe”. “Quite simply, EMDR gave me my life back,” she says.