On April 23, 2017—a day that is burned into my brain—my then-9-year-old daughter fell 14 feet out of our treehouse. While she never lost consciousness, she was obviously very injured. When I reached her side after watching her land, I said “The worst is over. I’m here, and your sister is calling 911 so that they can come help you too. We’re going to get you all patched up. Scan your body and let me know where it hurts.” Her first response: “My right foot.” Okay, I thought, that can be fixed with a cast. “Anything else?” I asked. “Yes, my back,” she said. Oh boy. That sent shivers down my spine. I told her to stay completely still while we called 911. I then continued with “Verbal First Aid,”[1] while I sent my other daughters running for ice packs and for the ER doctor who lives next door. In the ambulance, on the way to Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, I did calming breathing exercises with my daughter, in addition to guided visualization, hypnosis, and NLP exercises. At one point, the EMT looked up at me and said, “When this is all over, will you please come teach me and my colleagues what you’re doing to keep her so calm and focused?” “Yes, of course,” I responded. And that was the beginning of my work in training first responders in Verbal First AidTM and in hypnotic breathing and calming techniques.

In fact, despite breaking four bones in her right foot, tearing the ligament that holds those bones together, and sustaining a fracture of her L1 vertebrae in her low back, my daughter never cried; and she remained calm throughout—during the immediate aftermath of the fall, the entire ambulance ride, and the entire diagnosis and treatment in the hospital. In fact, due to the words that I chose and the processes that we did together, my daughter’s mental and emotional healing had already begun—thus aiding her physical healing. I am happy to report that she has made a full recovery, and is now just as active, outdoorsy, and sports-loving as she was prior to the accident.

And for me, I am happy to provide a service to those first responders who not only helped my daughter and me on that day; but whom put themselves at risk on a daily basis, serving our communities.

Call 301-365-2428 for a free consultation about my presentations to, and healing services for, first responders.

[1] Verbal First AidTM was developed by Judith Acosta and Judith Simon Prager to train first responders in “What to Say When Every Second Counts.” Their book has been called “The ‘Bible’ for Crisis Communication.” Here’s the reference: Acosta, Judith, LISW, CCH and Prager, Judith Simon, PhD. The Worst is Over: Verbal First AidTM to Calm, Relieve Pain, Promote Healing and Save Lives. Published by Judith Acosta and Judith Simon Prager, 2002.