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Case Study


Kim Peoples

Mid 30’s Female Depressed, anxious, Severe Teeth Grinding, Lack of trust issues destroying relationship with husband. Past history of sexual abuse.

Introduction to Client

36 year old female professional working with vulnerable and abused children. Eldest of three children, until recently very close to her sister, not at all close to her brother (youngest). Father was domineering, judgemental, withheld affection and had very high expectations of all of his children. Mother was passive, perfectionist, highly anxious and utterly unable to express or tolerate emotion in either herself or anyone else, especially her children. Client and her siblings were forced to quash all emotions as children, including happiness, anger, frustration, fear, excitement, and sadness. None of the children were encouraged to speak or to have an opinion.

Client was sexually abused at 7 years of age by an uncle whilst on holidays interstate. She did not report this to her parents or grandparent, nor react in any way, a response consistent with her childhood conditioning.

Parents separated and divorced when she was 14; she does not recall any fights or arguments, nothing other than an extremely tense home environment for approximately eighteen months or so to suggest that there were any marital issues. Client reports that she and her siblings alternated living between parents every few months to keep them both happy, resulting in her having no sense of ‘home’ and feeling always in transit, never grounded.

Has a history of unfulfilling relationships until she met and married her husband when she was 30. There are issues with his family – also highly dysfunctional due to mental health and alcohol dependency issues. She and her husband were seeing a relationship counsellor as she had severe trust issues and he was prepared to do whatever he needed to in order for her to know that he was in their marriage for the long haul.

She had been seeing a psychologist regularly for 5 years for her trust issues, depression and anxiety but was not currently medicated as she and her husband had been trying to start a family. She had fallen pregnant twice without problem; unfortunately both pregnancies ended in miscarriage at around 10 weeks. There had been no pregnancies over the preceding 14 months.

The Presenting Problem

Client was referred to me by a chiropractor to resolve nocturnal teeth grinding. Client ground her teeth so severely at night that she had chronic jaw and neck pain and regularly broke the protective mouthguards made for her by the dentist. Additionally she had a habit of picking at the skin on her fingers and then putting them into her mouth to ‘nibble the shreds of skin off’.

I utilised standard TRTP, comprising homework and three sessions. Client was diligent with her homework and very committed to change. Sessions 1 and 2 were conducted nine days apart; with session 3 following 17 days later (there was a delay as client was unwell). She reported that the grinding and picking had resolved and she felt very relaxed and hopeful for the future. The client was a good hypnotic subject, readily experiencing hypnotic phenomena.

Outcomes of Treatment

The client contacted me three months after our final session to report that she was 10 weeks pregnant and feeling fantastic. She was more relaxed, the grinding and picking had ceased and she and her husband were happier than they had ever been.

I followed her up at 12 months post session 3. The client burst into tears and said that her issues had returned with a vengeance since the birth of their child, but she was too ashamed to call me. There were significant stresses with both her mother in law and her father constantly criticising and finding fault with her mothering. She reported feeling like she was that disempowered, voiceless child all over again.

We had one further session which was based in TRTP. I combined elements of all three sessions into a single session, focusing on ego-strengthening, finding her voice and choice, letting go, the release of guilt and doubt and meeting the future her on the beach. She reported that she felt a huge physical shift within, quite visceral and pronounced. She looked like a different woman when she left.

The client recently contacted me to let me know that she has set firm boundaries with her baby’s grandparents, that her picking and grinding is completely resolved and that she is pregnant with baby number 2. Her words – “my life is amazing …. Simply amazing. I finally understand what it is to FEEL alive”.


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