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brandons_mom December 7th, 2010 03:22 PM

PTSD from near death experience
Is is possible to get PTSD from a near death experience that you caused yourself ie drug overdose? My therapist and I have realized we were looking at the wrong target for EMDR processing because nothing significant happened during my last session and we plan to target this experience on Thursday...I'm a little more hopeful because in retrospect I can clearly see that the majority of my most recent symptoms and their onset began after this terrifying incident. Just bringing it up, I began crying in his office not really conciously realizing how much this experience affected me. There were other traumas that preceeded this one but I can't seem to have an emotional response to them but this one came clear with bodily reactions, fear and everything. Would it seem that this would be a clear target to focus on? I've been praying for the right help and hope I've finally found something to work with, this last year and half of my life has been an absolute nightmare. I've been off of drugs for over a year and was fearful that I may have caused brain damage ( I used meth) but I had a SPECT scan of my brain and they said it looked relatively healthy, they didn't see any damage from my drug use ( I didn't use that long). Thanks for any replies.

Sandra Paulsen December 10th, 2010 09:46 PM

Re: PTSD from near death experience
I can't really comment on the specific of your case, but in general, a near death experience would tend to qualify for targeting. Any experience that has disturbance on it now and for which problematic outcomes or lessons resulted would be a good target. If there is high disturbance but nothing happens it is more about defenses, typically, than about a bad target selection. if there is high disturbance there would usually be a shift unless defenses interfere. As long that is as the target is properly worked up by the therapist and the therapy is properly conducted.

brandons_mom December 14th, 2010 02:48 PM

Re: PTSD from near death experience
Thanks for your replies, what do you mean by defences? how do you know if a defence is getting in your way? my therapist says that because I have trauma and personality problems that the emdr is a longer process and the shifts will be less significant as opposed to someone with strictly a trauma backround. We're working on my defences but it's really hard for me to notice them as defences but I guess that would be the point of having them? I was wondering if an adjecent therapy would be useful in breaking down these defences such as hypnotherapy? This was actually my first outreach but it was like $90 a session and we never got into any "trance" states so I don't know if that would or could enhance the results with emdr. I asked my therapist about it but he said that he didn't even want to discuss it, that hypnotherapy was out of the question for me but I couldn't help but think that he was only saying that in fear that I may stop our therapy sessions and go to someone else? I do trust him but am also desperate to speed this process along. Another thing I noticed was that after our second session using emdr I began dreaming every single night, which was new to me seeing how I was insomniatic for over a year without any dreams whatsoever...he also says that what comes up in my dreams could be the key to bringing my feelings out of my unconcious and to begin recording them right when awake so I plan to do this also. Apparentely I have some pretty strong defences in place so how do I break them down? How do you know if they're being broken down? I want them gone! I want to get better and finally move on with my life so any input would be helpful, thanks for your time.

Sandra Paulsen December 14th, 2010 08:14 PM

Re: PTSD from near death experience
As I said, I don't have nearly enough information to provide valid advice to you, only general comments.

In general, there are two types of defenses for EMDR therapists to be concerned about:

1) dissociative defenses
2) non-dissociative defenses

Dissociative defenses can be dealt with by hypnosis or a variation on it, ego state therapy and THEN targeted w EMDR.

Non-dissociative defenses can be targeted with EMDR in the form of blocking beliefs and memories of early experiences.

As I said it is the responsibility of the therapist to assess and see which is present and find a safe and appropriate way to proceed. I don't know which you are, and can't possibly know from here. You might speak with your therapist about this post.

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