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kgb123 February 12th, 2009 06:59 PM

Is this typical?
I searched the archives and didn't see this specific question asked. I know you can't comment on my case specifically, but would like to know, in general, if this is a common response to EMDR.

I've had a few EMDR sessions so far to deal with childhood trauma. The sessions have been with my therapist, who I have been seeing for over a year. Each time, we've only dealt with one small part of a memory that has been disturbing. The majority of the time has been spent installing a safe place and introducing an ally, who has had some really insightful, comforting things to say.

Each session, I've felt fairly relaxed and maybe even a little numb. Nothing has felt very triggering or emotional. However, after I leave, for several hours or a day afterward, I feel much more unsettled, like things have been stirred up more than I realized and it takes a while to quiet back down. I cry afterward (yet feel unable to cry during the session).

I'm just wondering if it's common for the majority of the processing to take place after the session is complete? Should I be somehow letting these emotions move more during the EMDR so that it's better contained once I leave? (and if so, how?)

In one case, more of the memory surfaced after the session, which was really unsettling. It took several hours to get grounded and feel present again.

Just trying to decipher what is "normal" and if I should be concerned.

Sandra Paulsen February 15th, 2009 02:57 PM

Re: Is this typical?
Your question is interesting, and the answer must be complex.

The process you are describing is not EMDR as it is properly defined. It may be a variation that uses bilateral stimulation and some variation of resources, but it is not EMDR UNLESS, and this is a big one, unless the recipient of the procedure is highly dissociation, and the memory must be fractionated, and sandwiched between resources.

There are some other procedures that are not EMDR, and for which there is no controlled research of which I am aware, that may use a procedure similar to that described here.

for individuals who are NOT highly dissociative, the standard protocol produces the best results.

For individuals who are highly dissociative, the therapist would likely need to make that fact and diagnosis quite clear ahead of processing, so that the client could indeed have an informed consent.

for highly dissociative individuals, there is a lot of preparation necessary for doing EMDR. when the time is right, doing a piece at a time with support of resource ego states would indeed be the way to go. for such clients, there might be considerabl processing after the fact.

Numbness during or after EMDR would sometimes, maybe usually, be a sign that some part of self is blocking the process. those internal dynamics would need to be detangled for emdr to go smoothly, even a fractionated one.

As you have said, the comments here may or may not apply to a given individual, and we don't have enough info to comment on a specific case. In general talking these things over candidly with ones therapist is the best course, and taking a print out of this page along with may facilitate a discussion.

I see my caps key is iffy today. good luck!

kgb123 February 16th, 2009 01:23 PM

Re: Is this typical?
Thank you for responding. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees the issue as complex!

I looked at the definition of the EMDR protocol, and we are doing a variation. My therapist uses bilateral stimulation with hand buzzers, but not eye movement. Most of the rest of it is the same, however.

I don't think your comments about dissociation apply in my case (again, I know you are only speaking in generalities). I don't test as having any DD. I do feel like I have strong defensive mechanisms and have trouble accessing emotions sometimes, but not to the extent of being highly dissociative.

I think the reason she's only having me work on fragments of the memory is because I expressed concern about digging up too much and being overwhelmed. I was concerned about somehow feeling retraumatized by the process. So she suggested we just deal with bits at a time.

So, no real clarity here. But thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I'll keep the dialogue open with my therapist.

Sandra Paulsen February 16th, 2009 11:28 PM

Re: Is this typical?
Again, speaking in general, and not in particular about your case...

It isn't a problem to use another form of bilateral stimulation, such as buzzers instead of eye movements. What makes it not EMDR is 1) continuous bilateral stimulation is not EMDR, and 2) breaking up processing to do resourcing is not EMDR unless the person is highly dissociative.

The standard EMDR protocol is highly robust, is the only one that has controlled research, and should be used unless there are compelling reasons not to.

Dr Shapiro has spoken forcefully and repeatedly on these subjects, as well as upon the fact that it is unnecessary to keep installing safe place repeatedly.

Other protocols may have their place, but they should not be called EMDR.

LoraHup December 6th, 2009 12:47 AM

Is this typ
Being used how it was intended to be so? It seems to be full of people writing stuff to themselves, like diary entries. I thought itd be more like heres an exercise Ive been practising so check it out rather than explanationless played this x times today, that x times...

Sandra Paulsen December 6th, 2009 11:42 AM

Re: Is this typ
Sorry not understanding your question

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