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Unread October 26th, 2008, 01:09 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
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Default Re: emdr:nothing's happening

The following is a post-script to my original reply to the query about "nothing happening."


By all means let's have other people respond, and I'll offer a few thoughts (since that's my job here).

First thing is that we don't have nearly enough information to comment or compare or say what went wrong, and we don't do that here anyway, so I'll just offer a few possible ideas:

1) the targeted memory may not be related to the symptoms, or was otherwise poorly chosen

2) the symptoms may not be amenable to EMDR (not everything is)

3) the negative and positive cognitions may not have been well chosen or may have been skipped altogether (as a few clinicians think they can be skipped, tho that's not emdr if they are skipped).

4) there may have been one or more blocking beliefs in the way that weren't identified and untangled, so that the emdr could only loop

5) there may have been a false expectation of an extreme emotional response, which doesn't always happen by any means

6) there may have been a change, but it is so organic that the person doesn't register it to be a result of EMDR. I've heard before, someone says, "I don't think the EMDR is working, Doc, by the way, I've left my job, getting back with my wife, and going back to college."

7) the processing may have been incomplete. If the target is well chosen but large, it may take numerous sessions to get resolution

8) the method may not have been optimal. some people do better with eye movements, some with tactile or auditory stimulation. To be EMDR, it has to be one of those forms of bilateral stimulation.

9) there may have been another problem with the correct use of the standard protocol, e.g., processing to the end of each channel, then going back to target, until SUD equals zero and VOC equals 7 (SUD means subjective units of disturbance, and VOC means validity of cognition, referring to the desired positive self statement from the beginning of the target workup).

10) if screening for dissociation is skipped for a highly dissociative person, then a protective part of self will just shut down the processing, with a "so there!" attitude.

So there are a few thoughts,hardly a complete list. maybe some others will speak up about their experiences with apparently having "nothing happen."

Last edited by Sandra Paulsen; October 27th, 2008 at 12:52 AM. Reason: clarification
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