Re: emdr:nothing's happening
I am a client who has gone through EMDR. I spent several months preparing for it by learning about going to my safe place and other adaptive psychological tools. My therapist felt it was important to go through preliminary training and many evaluations and also my emotional state was all over the place and she did not feel comfortable taking me through EMDR.
Then this summer, we went through five EMDR sessions. I did A LOT of processing between sessions. The sessions took place over a period of eight weeks, some times taking a week off. By the end and now, six weeks after my last EMDR session, I have limited anxiety attacks and when I do I am able to work through them by relating them back to something that happened in my past or go to my safe place.
Just a little background, I have PTSD due to years of emotional abuse from my biological parents who divorced when I was three years old, and other family members. Prior to EMDR, I was triggered by many things from abusive employers to friends, and most currently my girlfriend who I've been dating since May 2007. The combination of an unhealthy work environment and having a girlfriend who triggers me a lot since she tends to act like my mother in terms of being emotionally unavailable, not validating and discounting my emotions, etc. I had anxiety in other areas of my life, even mundane activities like driving past a cop or being followed by a cop. One negative feeling that I've overcome is "I am doing something wrong." This over rode many aspects of my life. I went to great lengths to the point of negating my needs to please others to make sure that I was not doing things wrong. At work, any time I was criticized I went into this emotional spiral of negativity where I thought I was always doing something wrong.
But through EMDR, I've come to realize that my girlfriend is NOT my mother and that while she triggers negative emotions from my past, I am in much more control of my emotions and I can work through my anxiety in a more healthy manner.
In terms of my girlfriend, she has worked on herself as well and realizes that she has not been a good partner to me. She is making a lot of effort to ensure me that she is not abandoning me and also encourages and supports my feelings, and validates my emotions. It may be a combination of EMDR that helped me to overcome my negative thought process and also her realizing what she was doing and affirmed the need to be a better partner for herself and me.
With regards to EMDR, as my therapist told me, EMDR does not work for everyone. Some people don't feel any changes, others like myself have a major mind shift, and for others, it makes things worse for them, because they cannot detach from the past and they continue to relive stressful locked emotional periods from their past.
For me, standard psychotherapy was not helping me to improve in the time frame that I wanted. That is why my therapist suggested using EMDR and it has rapidly helped me to unlock emotions from my past, experience them, and then move on.
Six weeks after EMDR and it is still working. Some examples are:
1) My friend was talking about correcting his daughter not to chew on her pacifier and they have abruptly taken it away from her. This reminded me right away about my Mom who tried correcting me with sucking my thumb. I remembered one time when I was five years old staying with her sister, my Aunt, and she called and yelled in the phone,"What did mommy tell you. STOP SUCKING YOUR THUMB!" I did not feel an emotional charge from this memory, there was no anxiety, my friend's experience just brought back that memory.
2) With my girlfriend, I've taken many things she tells much less personally and our relationship feels like it was before I took this awful job that I started in January and have recently resigned and accepted a new wonderful job.
3) My mom and I have had NC (no contact) since early April this year. I have chosen to not communicate with her because I've had issues with blending our past into the present and getting angry with her. Recently, she went into the hospital. My family, including a cousin who moved to Colorado in August, and my stepdad subtly tried to guilt me in terms of pointing the finger at me for her hospitalization since I emailed her a strong letter a couple weeks before she was hospitalized. I refused to give into guilt since guilt was another mechanism my Mom used to try to "fix" me as a child. I did support my Mom by calling and leaving messages and also emailing her, but reinforcing my boundaries.
I hope this helps.