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SallyAnn June 1st, 2010 05:25 PM

EMDR and child's habitual lying
We adopted our now 16 year old daughter internationally at the age of almost 6. Our continued struggle has been her lying, which began as soon as she could speak English and has continued to the present. We can't believe much of anything she says, including important things and everyday not so important things. Sometimes her lying is so incredibly obvious, yet she persists in the lie despite all evidence against it. Her IQ is in the upper 80's. She has no memories of her life before adoption. She was in an orphanage for the year prior to adoption. Prior to that, the details are sketchy, but we know there was much neglect, and that both parents eventually abandoned her. We expect her lying to shipwreck every aspect of her life if she does not change. Is she a possible candidate for EMDR? Can anyone share experience from a similar experience? Thanks so much!

andmetoo June 9th, 2010 02:06 PM

Re: EMDR and child's habitual lying
Hi, Sally Ann,
EMDR played a key role in my therapy for sustained childhood trauma. I did have access to memories as older child and teenager, which my therapist and I worked with, but as my therapy progressed it was certainly true that I could heal memories that I couldn't recall specifics (or for which I had no vocabulary at the time the memory was made); articulation of a memory is not necessary.

However, it is important to be able to trust the therapist enough to be able to work with them, and when that work entails accessing trauma, the level of trust must be deep. The skills of the therapist are also important when there is sustained and repeated trauma. Just having training in EMDR isn't sufficient, the therapist needs to be able to utilise tools that will enable him or her to prepare the patient and support them as they explore their trauma. I live in London, but it still took several months for me to find someone I could work with.

Even if you can source a compatible therapist, whilst EMDR for simple trauma is fast, it is not so fast when working with repeated and sustained trauma. I worked with my therapist for ten years (sometimes several times a week) before I felt free of my past and able to live in the hear and now.

I sense that you are troubled and frustrated with her behavior. I know that my own behavior upset my family and friends, and didn't appear rational. All I can say is that there is often a logic to this "unreasonable" behavior, and part of healing is learning to understand and accept that much of this behavior has positive roots. The skills that one learns to survive in terrible situations are not always productive (and often even counter-productive) in every day life, but until I found a foundation for myself, it just wasn't possible to abandon the behaviors that helped me keep going. It is also possible that she may not be completely present in all the aspects of her life, and that what sounds like a blatant and irrational lie seems like the truth to her.

I do wish you and your daughter all the best in finding the help she needs.

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