The Case of Betsey

CBSD treats a victim of severe childhood sexual abuse and witness to extreme parental violence.

Initially Betsey came for counseling for help with guilt , anxiety , depression, and at times an inability to control her thoughts. This was before I was trained in CBSD and she made good progress learning to psychologically detach from unhealthy people in her environment, was able to reconfigure self defeating thoughts to neutralize them, and to learn to relax through taking yoga.

One phenomina that stayed constant was her needing to vent . No anger management method made much of an impression on this . By now I had learned CBSD and I asked Betsey if she had experienced any traumas.

She answered that she was locked outside of her house at age 5 being near the swimming pool when she saw a rat which terrified her as she had no escape route ;  seeing  a man who was not her father perform oral sex on her mother  at age 6 ; and from ages 4-7 being made by her uncle to play with his penis and additionally perform sexual acts with her cousins , his children. One was a girl, age  5, and the other a boy, age 7, while he was watching.

From ages 10-12, she was forced to let her sister’s husband do everything sexual with her except penetration. Betsey was verbally abused by her alcoholic father as far back as she could remember until her parents were divorced at age 13. She also saw him physically abuse her mother. Finally, and the most intense trauma of all her traumas was her drunken father putting a gun to her mother’s head saying he was going to shoot her. He called her numerous names including “whore”. ‘Her response was to his threat was “go ahead—shoot me” The reason this was the most traumatic trauma was it meant  that my mother  didn’t love me .

This was the incident we decided to use the first CBSD on-the other was the trauma of her uncles sexually exploiting her.

“The CBSD’s helped me visualize the past. During the first CBSD  I  talked to the little girl and told her  it is over  ( the trauma )  and that she must move on . That it is time for her to be with me  because I will take care of her.”

“Then following the second CBSD  I took little Betsey’s  hand  and told her that just because this happened doesn’t mean you don’t have any value. I told her her value is more than this agonizing  memory. I again told her to come with me, and that I will take care of her, and I was able to walk away from the trauma as it is over – gone . And then she was gone.”

In the session following the two CBSD’s,  Betsey was very playful-something I had not experienced with her before – she reported feeling ” less  troubled , less weighed down, and my mood has been lifted. ”  We had one more session following this. Total time in trauma treatment was 6 sessions – 3 preparatory – 2 CBSD – 1 debriefing.

Many, many months after Cognitive Behavioral Sensory Desensitization (CBSD)

Initially after treatment with Hal using CBSD, I revisited a few sessions in my head. I remember thinking why I did I not have this therapy years ago. I particularly remembered identifying with me as a child. I thought of the release of the child’s pain. Releasing little Betsey’s pain lifted such a burden from me. I realized that I was not responsible for her pain anymore. I am separate now from the emotional ache that I carried for my entire adult life. My Big T traumas have been treated and resolved.

Prior to my treatment, I was angered very easily. I was very impatient with life circumstances and troubles. I displayed extreme drama with situations that really were not a big deal, I vented daily, which produced a negative attitude in me. I would spend a great deal of mental time dwelling on the bad memories, of my childhood, which would make me strike out with anger on anyone or about anything. I would remember often thinking (Why don’t these people understand I have a lot on my mind, haven’t I been through enough in my life).

Now, I rarely have those old thoughts that made me dysfunctional emotionally. If I do think of the bad memories, I know, the little girl is removed she no longer suffers. I truly feel that learning how to desensitize has enabled me to think more calmly and logically. When I need to slow down my thoughts tapping my hand is soothing and brings down the anxiety, the sensory points are great to know.

Finding a way to deal with the trauma is an amazing relief. My shoulders are no longer tense with pain, I can now think before reacting. I no longer allow my offenders to control my emotions, I have released little Betsey of the bad memories. My negative thinking has vanquished, I try to think of the glass as half full these days. My treatment changed my life. Thank you Hal for teaching me how to be a different emotional person.


If you have a situation similar to Betsey’s, call me, I can help you.

Hal C. Steinhart, L.I.S.W.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
15305 Triskett Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44111
(440) 554-8912 (440) 779-2949