The trauma of her father throwing her against the wall became active again and again in her daily life. Susan’s father had gone into a frenzy several times, wanting to kill her, and as a result she had completely dissociated from the experience. She saw herself dead, from the ceiling, looking at the scene in horror. We applied the sentences many times on different aspects of the situation. Every session provided more relief, more insight, but the scene kept coming back. In this session, she kept repeating that a part of her had died at three.

Susan also told me that the dead child couldn't come back to life again, because her father would continue trying to kill her, and she wouldn't be able to bear the pain in her body again. So if that part was dead, she could lead at least a partial life, but her creativity and her liveliness weren't there anymore: They had died with the little girl lying motionless on the floor. The client told me that there was another part, screaming at the little dead girl: "You're not dead!"

Since I couldn't access a deeper level to work with the sentences here, I decided to change my strategy and to discuss the situation with Susan from an adult perspective. I told her that if I listened closely to the story, I came to the conclusion that the so-called dead part wasn't really dead, otherwise she couldn't think about what would happen if she would come to life again. The "dead" part was behaving "as if".

I pointed out to Susan that the little girl had found a very smart solution for two problems at once: It protected her against further abuse in the outside world, because her father couldn't harm her anymore when she was already dead, so he would stop throwing her against the wall. It was also a bright solution for the inside world, because as long as she was dead, she didn't feel the pain in her body. So I expressed my deep respect for the creativity of the little girl, who had invented this solution.  
I discussed this with her, and slowly Susan understood the dynamics of the traumatic event and her childhood solution to cope with it. I showed her that the solution also created a new problem, i.e. that the frozen world of the child only knew two options: playing dead or being thrown against the wall, because the dead part hadn't taken in new information from that disastrous moment: It was frozen in time, and the challenge lay in how to access the "dead" child and provide her with new information.

The big surprise came when I asked Susan how the little girl would react if she listened to our conversation about what had happened and our respect for the ingenuity of her solution. She said: "She says that's good." She described how the little girl stopped playing dead and looked at her with bright, open eyes. She was speechless, in tears, and I was crying with her. The loneliness was over, and the little girl made contact with the part that had moved to the ceiling. That part had grown up, became a wife and a mother, and had learned how to work with children.