Forensic Files Aggravated Assault

In helping crime victims and witnesses recover both their emotional balance and memories, forensic hypnosis provides law enforcement with vital information and leads allowing them to bring resolution to their unsolved cases.

In Marion County, Oregon, in an aggravated assault case, the victim came to see us for severe anxiety and PTSD following the attack. Bleeding from the nose and mouth, her jaw fractured, the victim had no recollection of the attack, who had assaulted her, or even wandering her neighborhood streets in a state of shock until she was found by a neighbor. Her memory of being brought to the hospital itself was vague and foggy.

Our primary goal was to stabilize the victim’s emotional state. The secondary goal was to retrieve her memories of the attack to assist law enforcement with their ongoing investigation.

In a state of hypnosis, the victim was able to remember the time of the attack, the details of the room where the assault took place and seeing her husband’s car in the driveway during the timeframe of the attack. The information collected enabled law enforcement to pursue this specific lead and the husband, who already had a history of physical abuse in the marriage, was later found guilty of the assault.

The victim had blocked the memory of her assailant out of her mind, in part due to the traumatic nature of the assault and also because of a fear of what would happen to her if her husband was found guilty and sent to jail. Stress, fear and trauma can affect the normal functioning of our memory in a number of ways. In some cases, the traumatic event in itself can be repressed partially or entirely from the conscious memory. In other cases, while memories of the traumatic event remain intact, post-traumatic stress disorder can lead to subsequent troubles in the person’s capacity to focus, process, comprehend and retain information following the trauma.

When not properly addressed, memories of the traumatic event can start replaying in the mind in the form of intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts. The feeling, commonly referred to as broken record, is common in post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

In addition to helping crime victims and witnesses recover the missing pieces of their memories, hypnosis enables us to address the secondary effects left behind by trauma and empower survivors to recover their emotional balance, strength and peace of mind.

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