Heidi wanted to get rid of a past relationship. After seven years with ups and downs she had managed to end the relationship, but she still felt guilty and ashamed, and she looked that way. I asked her what the worst incident in those years had been. Of course there were many, but the following one was the worst.

She had bought tickets for a planned trip with this partner, and he suddenly refused to go on the journey with her. When she told him that she wanted him to pay for his ticket, he became angry, took an iPad and threw it on the ground, smashing it to smithereens. Heidi reacted by going to her desk and writing an email to her partner's psychiatrist. While she was writing she noticed something moving next to her. She thought her partner had opened the fridge, but when she looked up, she saw him lifting the tv above his head. He then threw it with all his might where it exploded with an enormous bang.

 The story contained several aspects to work on. In the interview in became clear that the worst moment was when the tv exploded, and that the most significant aspect was the bang that came with the explosion. After more than two years, Heidi still rated that bang an 8 on the 0-10 distress scale.

I gave her the sentences for the auditory trigger, 'the bang.' In the working pause she kept her eyes open, staring at me. Normally, a client stops looking at me when I turn away my gaze, but she didn't, therefore I asked her to close her eyes. I had her repeat the first sentence a few times until she felt safe enough to keep her eyes closed, and then the process went quickly. The SUDs for ‘the bang’ went from 8 to 3, and the preceding incident with the iPad become unimportant. When I made a joke about it Heidi could laugh.

I asked her if she got rid of the relationship and she laughed, but then something curious happened. She said 'I can't get rid of him', which she then corrected into 'I don't want to get rid of him.' I challenged her, and asked her 'can't or don't want to?', saying that if you want something, there must a choice involved, so both statements cannot be true at the same time.  
The strength of the negative belief 'I can't get rid of him' was an 8. The representation of it was visual, the text written in an arc slightly above her head in front of her. When she said the sentences for this statement, she quietly processed them with her eyes closed, and the strength of the belief sharply declined. She got rid of him, without regret and for a good reason.

This morning I spoke with Heide before the seminar, and she told me that the distance she felt towards the relationship had grown considerably, and that she could see now how ridiculous the whole thing had been: the event had turned into a memory.