Patient/Client Therapy

Disorder: PTSD

Client: Anthony DiNozzo

Background: Anthony works for the NCIS and was sent to therapist by boss because he witnessed his partner, Caitlin, being murdered.

Therapist: Hi Agent DiNozzo. Do you know why you're here today?

Anthony: Just call me Tony. Yeah, Gibbs is worried.

Therapist: What would he have to be worried about?

Anthony: I guess I have been a little slack lately. I haven't been sleeping well since. Well…for a couple weeks now.

Therapist: Has something happened in the last few weeks?

Anthony: We lost a member of our team. My partner. Her name was Caitlin. She was…she died.

Therapist: Were you and Caitlin close?

Anthony: Of course. She was my partner. We would always tease each other, and try and get Gibbs to pick favorites. One time, (laughs) we had to go to Paraguay. She was…you know what? It doesn't matter anymore.

Therapist: Tony, did you have feelings for Caitlin?

Anthony: WHY DOES IT MATTER? She's dead, gone, not coming back. It should've been me taking that bullet for Boss. I was Senior Agent. I should've been paying better attention.

Therapist: It's normal to feel guilt in these types of situations. Is that was has been keeping you awake?

Anthony: No. I keep having this nightmare. Actually, it can't be considered a nightmare since it really happened, can it?

Therapist: Well, what happens?

Anthony: Me, Kate, and Gibbs were back up on that rooftop. And she jumped in front of the bullet that was aiming for Gibbs. She was like that, ya know? Always on the look out for us. Anyways, Boss and I thought she was hurt so we ran over and unzip her jacket, and sure enough she had her vest on. She came to and I helped her up. I asked her if she was okay, and she said, "I just got shot at point blank range, DiNozzo. How do you think I feel?" (laughs) I told her she wouldn't be goin to pilates in the morning. Then Boss told her she did a good job and she was smiling and then…Then she said, "Wow, I thought I'd die befo.." and then the next thing I know my face is covered with blood, and I could taste it in my mouth. I looked down and…my Katie was (crying)…there was a sniper on the next rooftop…she had a puddle of blood coming from under her head…and her eyes were glassy…and you could still see the smile…she had such a beautiful smile.

Therapist: Do you need a minute?

Anthony: No. (stops crying) I'm fine.

Therapist: How often do you have these dreams?

Anthony: Every time I close my eyes. I can still feel the blood on my skin. I scrub and scrub over and over again. But it's still there. I can taste it in my mouth. I've tried everything. Vodka, gin, Boss even gave me his strongest bourbon. Nothing works. I don't know how much longer I will be able to handle this. I am trying to be strong for the team…but I look up expecting to see her sitting across from me, teasing me, or throwing her carrots at me, and all I see is her empty desk…and that day happens all over again. I want to be able to remember her without thinking about that rooftop. I NEED to be able to remember her laughing, teasing, instead of lying dead on a rooftop.

Therapist: Okay Tony. It seems to me that you're suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Anthony: I thought you could only have PTSD if you were in the war…?

Therapist: No, PTSD can affect anyone that has been through a traumatic event. When a traumatic event occurs, and we don't handle it properly, our brain creates a sort of force field around the memory. We try and block it out, and avoid it, but the problem needs to be confronted. It was good of your boss to send you here.

Anthony: It has helped to talk about it. Not much, but a little.

Therapist: Well, I am going to recommend that you keep coming to me. We can talk through what you're feeling, and I would like to try Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR will help you talk through Caitlin's murder without having negative feeli…

Anthony: I am always going to have negative feelings Doc.

Therapist: EMDR allows you to be able to talk about it without getting overly upset. It will help you remember Caitlin without remembering the feelings you felt on the rooftop. I am also going to prescribe you a mild sedative to help you sleep at night.

Anthony: Thank you…for listening. Gibbs is kinda the silent, brooding type. Hard to talk to someone when you feel like they aren't listening.

Therapist: He was the one that sent you here. Maybe you should try talking to him. He could be suffering too.