Jenny and Jack, a recently retired couple, had spent the last four years creating a new home for themselves in the South of France. Jack was a retired businessman, Jill an artist, and together they constructed their dream home. Three weeks ago, the dream was destroyed by a terrible incident. At four in the morning, Jenny was awoken by the sound of footsteps on the gravel path outside. The cat on her bed jumped out of the window in panic. When Jenny got up and went towards the door of the bedroom she heard loud hammering, as if someone was trying to break through the front door. She realised that there were several people at the door, attempting to break in.

In the meantime her husband had also woken and asked what was going on, and when his wife screamed from the top of her lungs he knew something was wrong. He went back to the bedroom, retrieved the gun he kept there, and went outside to look. A tall man dressed all in black appeared, his face fully covered by a balaclava. To Jack he looked like Darth Vader, the Star Wars character. To Jenny he was a giant black monster.

The man in black held a shiny metallic object in his hands. He was not alone, there were two others just as tall, and the situation seemed dire. Suddenly the burglar brought the shiny object upwards. Jack, well-trained in the military, shot immediately to defend himself and Jill. He hit the man in black, and all three members of the gang fled, climbing over the wall.

In his description of the shooting, Jack used an interesting expression: "The shot was fired." He didn't say "I shot the man." His military brain had taken over automatically and pulled the trigger without conscious thought. The couple now found themselves wrapped in a deafening silence. The threat was over; the whole sequence had barely taken six minutes. Now they could call for help, and when the officers arrived they discovered the dead body of the burglar near the wall.

Jack was taken to the police station. He was interrogated repeatedly the next day. The investigator soon decided that he had killed the burglar in self-defence and set him free, without legal consequences. Jack was even allowed to return to his home country. The man shot was the boss of a gang, known to the police. The other two men could not be found.

Then the nightmare began. Jenny was in a permanent state of panic, while Jack did his best to remain calm. They changed the locks in their permanent home in Switzerland, installed security cameras throughout and did everything else they could think of to prevent another attack. On a rational level they were vaguely aware that their reactions were exaggerated, and that something else was going on with them. A highly unusual painful event leads to specific reactions, in which your organism tries to process the experienced situation. These reactions can be a combination of re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal. All three could be easily identified in Jack and Jenny.

At this point, after reading my book, telling their stories and receiving the information, Jack and Jenny seemed to feel safe enough to begin processing the event with Logosynthesis. I asked them: "Who of the two of you is suffering the most?" They both agreed it was Jenny. If Jack’s suffering was less visible: He seemed to be in control and was able to support Jill in her pain.

I distilled three key moments or perceptions in Jill’s experience: 1.The noise of the steps on the gravel path.
2.The hammering on the front door.
3.The image of the 'Black Monster'.

None were dominant, so I took a chronological approach, treating one after the other. Because of the lack of safety Jenny experienced during those traumatic moments, I added an additional safety component by saying the Logosynthesis sentences on her behalf. Three times the cycle started with a maximum distress score of 10, and three times the 10 reduced to zero. In the last cycle I had Jill say the sentences herself, to give her more power in the process. After every cycle, Jenny smiled, but she also expressed doubts if it would hold.

Jill initially had shared feelings of deep grief. They had planned to grow old in that beautiful house, hosting family and friends. This time Jill sounded more quiet and even slightly rational, being able to reflect instead of being locked in the grief of the loss.

At the next session, the couple entered smiling, and Jenny told me that she had tried to activate the memory of the man in black, but hadn't been able to, and the memory of the noise was completely gone. For the first time since the incident she had slept through the night without interruption. She was astonished. I said that I couldn't explain it logically, but that I didn't mind: I summarized the energy model from the self-coaching book in a few sentences, to frame their experience.

For Jack the last session had dealt with the loss of his paradise, and this was still bothering him as well as Jill. They were in the process of selling the house, because they didn't want to expose themselves to the risk that the robber gang would come after them. This was a realistic fear, which I didn't interfere with.

Jenny was very clear about her loss of a place of deep togetherness with friends and family. When I asked Jack for an image that represented that paradise, he described how he was sitting at a table with his computer, with a view of the Mediterranean. The level of distress about the loss of this magnificent view was a 7. I gave him the sentences for the view, with a modification of the third one: "I retrieve all my energy bound in all my reactions to the fact that I won't have this view anymore, and take it to the right place in myself." After a few minutes of processing, in which Jack was visibly moved, he was able to find his usual, optimistic stance, realising that such things happen in life.

I did another cycle with Jenny about her fear of the dark since the incident. Returning home, the darkness around their permanent home had reactivated the memory of that tragic incident, and this had become a secondary trauma. This was neutralised with one cycle of the sentences for the perception of the darkness. Logosynthesis is very well equipped to treat a Type I PTSD, the sequelae of a one-time traumatic incident.