The breakthrough crisis can be a remarkably productive time in therapy because the memories and feelings are so accessible. However, you will also need help to express and manage the feelings without stifling them. Ask your therapist for help in devising a structure to help you modulate your experience of the feelings so that you can deal with them piece by piece.
During this time it may help to see your therapist more frequently than once a week, if this is possible. Discuss with your therapist whether this would be advisable. The advent of managed care and diminishing third party reimbursement (insurance) for therapy has made this more difficult, but many therapists are willing to make arrangements with their clients. Also, check to see that you have your therapist's emergency phone number so you can reach him/her during evening and weekend hours. You and your therapist may want to develop a crisis management plan, including actions that you can take to help calm yourself and a gauge for determining if you need emergency help.
If you feel that you cannot cope with what is surfacing, tell your therapist and explore ways to slow this powerful process down. Remember that you have a right to move at your own pace, so be sure to let your therapist know if it feels too overwhelming to continue focusing on the memories. If you need to, refer to the section on "Responsible Recovery, Responsible Therapy" in Chapter One. You may need to put some distance between yourself and the memories until you can regain sufficient control to feel safe again. In some cases, taking medication or entering the hospital for a brief stay may be helpful. Not everyone will need this, but some survivors who are recovering traumatic memories may benefit from this kind of support.