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Fleurs July 21st, 2005 04:19 PM

PTSD issues
can emdr help for all traumas, like medical procedures, not just abuse and violence?

Sandra Paulsen July 21st, 2005 09:04 PM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness
I am not familiar with any case reports of EMDR with this type of trauma, but I would expect it to assist. I'd expect that the processing may be experienced as if under partial sedation, so don't be surprised about that.

We'll see if anyone reports experience with it. But it makes sense to try EMDR. Let us know how it turns out.

Fleurs July 22nd, 2005 11:28 PM

PTSD issues
thank you very much for your input.

Fleurs July 22nd, 2005 11:45 PM

PTSD issues
P.S. I do feel some relief that you think EMDR could help. I just wanted to thank you for letting me know that.

Sandra Paulsen July 23rd, 2005 01:29 AM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness
Dr Bob Tinker is a very skillful clinician no doubt, but it sounds like a straightforward target set up of the memory as best as you can access it. And I think that it is not a difficult or expensive test to see if EMDR will help you because you'd know within a few sessions. I would expect that it might help.

Good luck.

Carol Ann Rowland July 31st, 2005 07:11 PM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness

While I don't have experience with this, I also agree that it would most likely help.

I also wanted to add that Sandra's comment that you may experience the EMDR as if under partial sedation may be right on target - I have on a number of times used EMDR with women, targetting sexual assaults that involved rape drugs, and they do frequently have at least moments during the EMDR where they feel partially sedated and sometimes even appear as though they are about to lose consciousness. The same has sometimes been true of women who were assaulted during their sleep and woke up during the assault.

I haven't had anyone actually lose consciousness so much as feel and look as though they might, and relive the sleepiness and "in and out" nature of their awareness at the time of the trauma. Not everyone has this type of experience but some people do, so it's good to be aware of it beforehand as it may help with your understanding of what is going on if you do experience something like this.

Take care & good luck with it,

Carol Ann

Fleurs August 1st, 2005 11:45 AM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness
Thanks for your input, Carol Ann. I really appreciate it.

Sandra Paulsen August 1st, 2005 05:45 PM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness
Makes perfect sense to me, actually.

You may already know that I can't do case consultations to your specific situation but that I can make some general comments which may or may not apply to you.

When a traumatic event is so overwhelming that it can't be processed at the time, it is set aside or disowned or dissociated. It remains frozen in this raw unprocessed state until it can be safely processed. REM sleep tries to do this, and maybe for some it works, especially for smaller things. But we are all designed to have defenses and protections inside so that overwhelmingly dangerous things -- or things that seem dangerous because they once were -- don't do us in altogether.

Flashbacks and nightmares are evidence that the material is trying to work its way through, like a sliver trying to work its way out. The feeling of the content feel unreal or not quite about oneself is very typical for what we call derealization and depersonalization, both are dissociative symptoms. (Dissociative symptoms don't necessarily mean there is a full scale dissociative disorder; PTSD and other anxiety conditions also have some of these symptoms at times).

In EMDR, the material gets systematically worked through until it feels neutral. Its not as scary as a nightmare or flashback because one is awake and accompanied by an EMDR professional who knows the ropes. Even when the processing is very real in the sense of having some of the sensory experiences of the memory, for all but the most deeply divided dissociative folks, its not so bad because the client knows its just a memory, not happening now. For the most deeply divided dissociative folks, we break the work into pieces via fractionation, which makes the chunks "bite size" and manageable.

As Ms Carol Ann Rowland has stated, when one does EMDR on a memory that has altered consciousness as part of the original memory, there may be a sense of that altered state as part of the EMDR experience. Not to worry, we just notice it "like scenery through a train window" and keep on sailing through.

Carol Ann Rowland August 5th, 2005 08:06 AM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness
Hi Fleurs,

I don't know what will happen with you personally - it can vary.

Sometimes people will experience the flashback in the same way during EMDR. However, I find more often that people kind of think about the flashback rather than re-experience it. It's hard to say in advance.

The thing is if it does come up, this time you aren't going to be alone with it, and the EMDR usually will help people to move through it more quickly and come to new awareness during it. For example, it may help all the different parts of you (the one in the flashback and the one watching) to "get it" that it's a memory and it was awful, but it's over and you are safe now.

The split you talk about and the doubt re. the memory is very common. It can be a form of dissociation but it's also possible that the split and feeling of unreality is accentuated, as you say, by you having been medicated and naturally in a different state of consciousness anyways.

Hang in there - I hope the EMDR is helpful and moves this gently for you.

Carol Ann

Fleurs September 6th, 2005 02:44 PM

Re: Anesthesia Awareness
Thank you Carol Ann Rowland,

I am sorry it took me so long to respond! I do appreciate your help very much.


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