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#424600 - 02/07/13 08:51 AM EMDR
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1513
Loc: New England
I've been undergoing EMDR therapy for 3+ months now and at this point I can recommend it without hesitation. Its kind of crazy in that it brings all kinds of things to mind, some painful memories and some pleasant. At one point it put me right back in the CSA I experienced at 13, reliving all the sensations, emotions, sights, sounds, even smells, of that awful time. It also allowed me to remember some details of the abuse which revealed that the CSA was more extensive than I had remembered.

More importantly I have seen the occurrence of flashbacks and nightmares diminish significantly, which in turn has made it easier to deal with all the other issues, like self-hatred, shame, fear, anger, and sexual acting out. I've included a link to a web site with information about EMDR, and invite any others to share their experience with this therapy, or post questions about it.

EMDR Network
_________________________
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink.
I sit and tell him about my weekend,
But he never betrays what he thinks.
Can you see the real me, doctor?.
The Who

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#424603 - 02/07/13 10:25 AM Re: EMDR [Re: Jude]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
That's very cool to hear, Jude. I just started with a new therapist who does EMDR, and I'm kind of nervous about it. She's not sure I'm a good candidate, I think because sometimes after an hour of therapy I get really strange and otherworldly sensations. Like I feel very disconnected from whatever space I'm in. I might be walking through a lobby and heading out a set of glass doors into the street, but I'll feel like I have a wind blowing inside my head and it'll look like everything is wet--the floor and the sidewalk. Like everything has a coat of water. Maybe my head is too fucked up to do EMDR. I sure would love to get rid of the flashbacks, though. For some reason, I don't think I've had nightmares about it, at least not directly. I do have a very strange set of musical notes that sometimes plays over and over in my head, and it has a nightmarish quality to it, but I think that's more associated with being feverish as a kid than anything else.

Anyway, I'd sure appreciate it if you wrote a little more about the particulars, both about what the EMDR is like and how it has helped you get more control of your life.

Thanks again. Good luck, and I hope this helps you find some peace and serenity.

Bob

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#424620 - 02/07/13 01:22 PM Re: EMDR [Re: Robert1000]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1513
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: Robert1000
Anyway, I'd sure appreciate it if you wrote a little more about the particulars, both about what the EMDR is like and how it has helped you get more control of your life.


Basically, the T asks you to focus on some unpleasant thought or memory while he/she sweeps his two fingers back and forth in front of your face. You must follow his fingers with your eyes back and forth for a few minutes, Then he stops and asks you what comes to mind, and that becomes the focus of your thought for another round of the same. This repeats for 6-10 times. Then the T discusses with you any patterns or common theme to the thoughts that come to mind. It can be very painful, as the traumatic memories and associated feelings become very real and tangible in that process.

There is no "aha" moment to it. No bolt of lightning. I have just noticed the changes that I mentioned in my previous post, over time. Apparently they don't know exactly how it works. The idea is that the memory of a traumatic event is stored in a different part of that brain than the feelings about that traumatic event. The EMDR process somehow integrates the two such that the feelings are relieved while the memory persists.

The only contraindications for EMDR that I've read about are: detached retina, glaucoma, epilepsy, underlying psychiatric conditions, or having been unconscious at the time of the trauma. I suppose its not for everyone, but its been a big factor lately in my recovery.

Jude
_________________________
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink.
I sit and tell him about my weekend,
But he never betrays what he thinks.
Can you see the real me, doctor?.
The Who

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#424630 - 02/07/13 04:16 PM . [Re: Jude]
Life's A Dream Offline


Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island
.


Edited by Life's A Dream (04/21/13 10:30 PM)

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#424673 - 02/08/13 08:13 AM Re: EMDR [Re: Robert1000]
DrPJL Offline


Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Boston
I'm a therapist who uses EMDR therapy as my primary method and I've also personally had EMDR therapy for anxiety, panic, grief, and “small t” trauma. As a client, EMDR worked extremely well and also really fast. As an EMDR therapist, and in my role as a facilitator who trains other therapists in EMDR (certified by the EMDR International Assoc. and trained by the EMDR Inst, both of which I strongly recommend in an EMDR therapist) I have used EMDR successfully with panic disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, body image, phobias, distressing memories, and bad dreams.

For folks like Robert and Life's a Dream, it's really important that the therapist spend enough time in one of the initial phases (Phase 2) in EMDR that involves preparing for memory processing or desensitization (memory processing or desensitization - phases 3-6 - is often referred to as "EMDR" which is actually an 8-phase psychotherapy). In this phase resources are "front-loaded" so that you have a "floor" or "container" to help with processing the really hard stuff. It might seem like "a lot of talking" but you have an important goal: getting ready for EMDR processing! In Phase 2 you learn a lot of great coping strategies and self-soothing techniques which you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need. So if you start feeling "disconnected" or too spacey, you can ground yourself and feel safe enough to continue the work. Also, it's fine to start EMDR processing on a dream. While EMDR therapy (and no efficacious treatment for trauma) should go "digging" for buried memories, sometimes memory does become more clear, and related memories emerge which can then become targets of their own for EMDR processing. As the processing continues and your level of disturbance goes down, that's when the event/memory/images often become less clear, further away, and no longer disturbing - a sign that you're detoxifying the event.

Grounding exercises are extremely helpful in everyday life, and really essential in stressful times. Anyone can use some of the techniques in Dr. Shapiro's new book "Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR." Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). Anyway, the book is terrific. It's an easy read, helps you understand what's "pushing" your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life.
Also teaches readers lots of helpful techniques that can be used immediately and that are also used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings.

As I’ve mentioned about Phase 2, during EMDR therapy you learn coping strategies and self-soothing techniques which you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need. You learn how to access a “Safe or Calm Place” which you can use at ANY TIME during EMDR processing (or on your own) if it feels scary, or too emotional, too intense. One of the key assets of EMDR is that YOU, the client, are in control NOW, even though you may not have during past events. You NEVER need re-live an experience or go into great detail, ever! You NEVER need to go through the entire memory. YOU can decide to keep the lights (or the alternating sounds and/or tactile pulsars, or the waving hand) going, or stop them, whichever helps titrate – measure and adjust the balance or “dose“ of the processing. During EMDR processing there are regular “breaks” and you can control when and how many but the therapist should be stopping the bilateral stimulation every 25-50 passes of the lights to ask you to take a deep breath and ask you to say just a bit of what you’re noticing. (The stimulation should not be kept on continuously, because there are specific procedures that need to be followed to process the memory). The breaks help keep a “foot in the present” while you’re processing the past. Again, and I can’t say this enough, YOU ARE IN CHARGE so YOU can make the process tolerable. And your therapist should be experienced in the EMDR techniques that help make it the gentlest and safest way to neutralize bad life experiences and build resources.

Pacing and dosing are extremely important! So if you ever feel that EMDR processing is too intense then it might be time to go back over all the resources that should be used both IN session and BETWEEN sessions. Your therapist should be using a variety of techniques to make painful processing less painful, like suggesting you turn the scene in your mind to black and white, lower the volume, or, erect a bullet-proof glass wall between you and the painful scene, or, imagine the abuser speaking in a Donald Duck voice... and so forth. There are a lot of these kinds of "interventions" that ease the processing! Bringing your adult self into the memory is a great strategy. Your therapist can use what we call "cognitive interweaves" to help bring your adult self's perspective into the work as well. Such interweaves are based around issues of Safety, Responsibility, and Choice. So therapist questions like "are you safe now?" or "who was responsible? and "do you have more choices now?" are all very helpful in moving the processing along.

In addition to my therapy practice, I roam the web looking for EMDR discussions, try to answer questions about it posted by clients/patients, and respond to the critics out there. It's not a cure-all therapy, however, it really is an extraordinary psychotherapy and its results last. In the hands of a really experienced EMDR therapist, it's the most gentle way of working through disturbing experiences.

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