“My stomach ached a lot this week. But it’s normal for me, my stomach always hurts”. What do you mean by always? I ask Noam. “Since I was really small” she answers, “so my mom says”. She went through lots of medical examinations and since nothing was found, she has got to the conclusion that she is just “one of those people whose stomach hurts”. I decide to tell her… “there’s no such thing”, looking into her eyes to see how she reacts to it, “the stomach is not supposed to hurt”. “Why does it, then?” – “there’s an emotional experience there, begging for attention, something that’s maybe unpleasant for you to feel”, I say, “Let’s check it out”. On the therapy bed I touch her stomach and the pain wakes up and getting stronger. I guide her to walk into the pain, to breathe to it. There’s a feeling of coldness and shivering there, and the pain intensifies. Fear!!! She feels very much alone. “When in the past have you felt like this? Cold and frightened and alone?” The memory comes up straight away. “It was in an unusually cold winter. Dad fell at home and was injured. Mom became hysterical, and didn’t really function. I held dad’s bleeding head calmly and professionally, like I have learned in the army, as if untouched by it all”.
Some moments go by silently. We let fear shiver away, wander around the body. We let the sobbing climb from the stomach to the eyes, and shake her gently. We permit helplessness to conquer her. Little by little, the body calms down. She kept telling her story and other stories that were held in her stomach over 20 years. The feelings and emotions were expressed in her body for the first time in a long, long time. “How is your stomach?” I check towards the meeting’s end. “Wow it feels pleasant!” she says, “doesn’t hurt at all, there’s a lot of room and softness. I’ve never felt it like that”.