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#62846 - 11/16/04 03:50 PM Has anyone tried this therapy method??
lucentny Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 20
Hi all,

I recently started a new job and oddly enough got into a very deeply personal discussion with my new boss. Apparently, he too suffered some sort of trauma in his childhood (he said from his grandmother who was his main caretaker) and then went on to have a disastrous personal life (twice divorced).

He said at the age of 66, he is just now getting his life in order and he attributes much of it to a therapy called EMDR(I had no idea what it was and had to google it). He said it was absolutely amazing at helping him overcome his childhood trauma. I don't really know that much about it, but has anyone out there ever tried it???

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks.


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#62847 - 11/16/04 04:19 PM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Hey There!

Hope all is well with you!

Yes - I was used as a subject in an experiment with EMDR to see if the method could have an impact upon the low levels of cortisol that are found in the bodies of people with PTSD.

The way the method seems to work is that you are re-exposed to your very worst traumatic memories and you have to re-live them in your mind while the therapist uses sound or light to give you the impression that you can calm yourself down even when being triggered.

Did the experiment show that my cortisol levels became elevated as a result of the treatment? Yes, of course! But I believe, in retrospect, that the reason the cortisol changed was simply bec. my poor exhausted little body was being forced to endure the re-traumatization of the invasive & dangerous memories! (Du-uh! - there's no "magic" here!)

The body has a wisdom that is much deeper than that of the so-called therapists: trauma survivors have low levels of cortisol BECAUSE it is our bodies' way of PROTECTING ourselves. To tamper with this equation is dangerous.

Far from helping me, I am convinced that the so-called therapy was, in fact, detrimental & probably caused me to go into pre-mature menopause as well.

I am aware that others have had wonderful results from EMDR & have found it very soothing. However: how are we to know in advance of the treatment whether we are going to be helped or hurt by the experience????

I would not want to encourage someone with major symptoms to try this method. It's just too risky.

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#62848 - 11/16/04 05:09 PM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
Pollyanna Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Missouri
I don't have personal experience with this, but a close friend was helped by EMDR when nothing else worked. It didn't take everything away, but she said the "pain" of the memories was gone. Memories were there, but the pain wasn't. She feels it gave her life back to her. It's been 2 or 3 years, and last I heard, she was doing really well.

Maybe there's some kind of screening process or something to see if it would be beneficial? It also might depend on who is giving the treatments as to how they work, just like having to shop for the right T. My friend is in Alberta Canada.

Hugs,
Lynn

_________________________
"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."

Anne Lamott

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#62849 - 11/16/04 06:57 PM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY
This appears to be a form of confrontation therapy. One where you are exposed directly to the things which cause you to have all of the reactions that you do. I would think that this could be extremely harmful to people who are in a unstable condition to begin with. I think that it would work great as a way to provide the finishing touches for someone who has had great success with recovery and just wants an extra push to get things where they want them, someone who understands how and why things work the way that they do. For the rest, If you didn't want to live it once, and your mind is torturing you with repeatedly living it, why would you intentionally expose yourself to that?

That's my two cents.

_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#62850 - 11/16/04 10:08 PM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
forlauren Offline
Member

Registered: 10/11/04
Posts: 63
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
I did EMDR and it is the best thing that I've ever done. I do agree with MikeNV though, if you're "in the eye of the storm" so to speak with post traumatic stress disorder or something, I wouldn't recommend it. It digs very deep and causes you to re-experience every emotion of past traumas until you're able to release them. It's like a laser beam goes into your body and kills the cancerous feelings.


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#62851 - 11/16/04 10:34 PM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I have no personal experience of EMDR, and have heard various reports as to its effect - or otherwise.

I did read up on it as part of my counselling studies, and the opinion of a lot of the traditional therapists and counsellors is that because there is a strong element of 'traditional' therapy that goes along with EMDR it becomes difficult to seperate the 'new from the traditional' and to attribute any beneficial effects to any specific part of the model.

My personal scepticism does make me a bit wary of a therapeutic model that is 'franchised' - but I have also said that I'd dance naked through the high street it was proven to help!

I know some guys here have used EMDR, I hope they pass on their thoughts.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#62852 - 11/17/04 02:51 AM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5777
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
I'm trained in doing EMDR (Level 1 and II). It is not for everyone. In fact, I do it with clients only a couple times a year. It seems to be effective for some clients in the 10 years I've been doing it.

No therapist should offer it as a first round. I don't even discuss it with clients unless I think it would be a potentially effective tool, but that is generally after we've had a few sessions and it looks like talk therapy won't be as effective as EMDR might be. I think it's really important to explore other avenues and the client has INFORMED consent about the potential benefits and risks.

There is a lot of discussion on the web about it and it has been researched just about more than any other type of therapy. The final word is not yet in and anyone thinking about using it should take some time to research the pros and cons.

Ken


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#62853 - 11/17/04 04:07 AM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
First, thank you, Lucent, for bringing this up!

I actually have a question for you, Ken: what are the criteria that you would use to evaluate whether someone is ready for EMDR? What do you view as the dangers?

I have been pretty anguished about my own exposure to the method & as I have mentioned in my original post, I have always "felt" that the technique was not ultimately of any benefit to me - and - may actually have impeded my healing process. I haven't done any research on the matter because I have felt inclined to just try to forget about the whole experience. I can't claim to back up my own anecdotal evidence:
Any thoughts?

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#62854 - 11/17/04 05:35 AM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
sadanddown Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 191
Loc: Gaboogistan
I'm glad that EMDR has helped some of you, but it sounds awfully frightening to me. I understand what and how it is supposed to work but I don't think, at least right now, that I could ever do that. It almost bugs me thinking about it.

_________________________
I find I have to be the sad clown, laughing on the outside...crying on the inside.

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#62855 - 11/17/04 03:06 PM Re: Has anyone tried this therapy method??
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5777
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Kolisha wrote:
Quote:
what are the criteria that you would use to evaluate whether someone is ready for EMDR? What do you view as the dangers?
Unfortunately, there is no objective test or measure to determine when someone might be ready or appropriate for EMDR. My decision to offer it is based on a person being stuck in the emotional effects of the trauma and the talk therapy doesn't seem to move the person. In other words, the person might *know* that s/he did all s/he could in the situation, but is still emotionally feeling blame for not "protecting" oneself or getting out of the situation.

It's about looking at the irrational belief system and what the person would like to replace it with. It is also useful when there are intrusive thoughts or images that keep coming back despite other attempts to block or get rid of them.

In terms of contraindications for use, I learned in the Level I training that you don't use it with people who dissociate. Level II provides training for dealing with dissociation. Though I've taken the training, I'm not real comfortable with people who dissociate and I'd refer that person to someone else who is more comfortable.

It's hard to say what constitutes a "bad" experience (except for the person who is having the bad experience). I haven't had anyone flip out or need hospitalization. I think understanding the process, going into it with the right expectations, and being comfortable with the clinician doing it, are important that would make it a good experience.

I don't think anybody really knows how or why it works. It just seems to. If anyone is considering doing EMDR, I suggest you research it. There is a ton of research out there. It has been researched probably more than any technique or approach.

Hope that helps.
Ken

PS: If there are more questions that I can't respond to, a former MS board member, Mary Froening in Wash. DC, is very experienced in EMDR. In fact, much of her practice is EMDR. I can contact her if the questions get too complicated for me.


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