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  #1  
Unread February 6th, 2005, 10:48 AM
Jean-Marc Jean-Marc is offline
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Default Choice of the events to be processed in EMDR

Is it true that, in EMDR, it is disadvised to process events related to current issues ? And if yes, why ?

Many thanks for the answer.
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  #2  
Unread February 6th, 2005, 04:06 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Choice of the events to be processed in EMDR

No, by no means is it disadvised to use EMDR on current issues. Sometimes it is the sensible thing to do.

Often, or even usually, however, the client can get more "bang" for the therapy buck, or more generalization from the EMDR, if one "floats back" to a much earlier, or better yet, the earliest occurrence of the problem theme, dynamic, conflict, feeling or issue. That earliest occurrence is the first page in the file folder, and everything else related thematically is layered on top. So we can often resolve a lot of material by going for the earliest occurrence. After all, we wish for the person that they be able to for example, assert themselves appropriately with all authorities, not just the present problem with the lousy boss this week. Let's say that the problem originated with Dad in childhood. Why not just clean out the whole issue and be done with it, ever after?

Having said that, sometimes the present situation IS the true presenting problem. The rape that just happened. The car accident. The performance in the golf tournament next week.

There is another consideration here. Recent events take about 3-6 months to consolidate in the brain, it seems. So there is a different protocol for doing EMDR on recent trauma, that allows for the fact we have to sort of grope around in the dark and find the snapshots of material laying around. If the same trauma were EMDR'd in six months, it might just play like a videotape, beginning to end, or otherwise be more straightforward. However, we don't recommend waiting six months, we just recommend using the recent event protocol if it hasn't had time to consolidate, or some of the "snapshots" may not be found in the EMDR.
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  #3  
Unread February 6th, 2005, 06:40 PM
Jean-Marc Jean-Marc is offline
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Default Re: Choice of the events to be processed in EMDR

First of all, thank you very much for your answer.

One more question. You write : "After all, we wish for the person that they be able to for example, assert themselves appropriately with all authorities, not just the present problem with the lousy boss this week. Let's say that the problem originated with Dad in childhood. Why not just clean out the whole issue and be done with it, ever after? "

The problem is that we do not know if the lack of assertivity in the presence of our lousy boss is (only) due to Dad's authoritarism. It can be due to a combination of Dad's authoritarism, Mam's anxiety, our own feeling of helplessness due to a lack of freedom and of experimentation during our first years etc. I find it rather difficult to identify the cause of a current problem. It can be due to events we have completely forgotten, for example.
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  #4  
Unread February 6th, 2005, 07:04 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Choice of the events to be processed in EMDR

True enough, it is sometimes hard to tell the origin.

In EMDR, when targeting a current event, quite often the attention will spontaneously and naturally link to associations of earlier occurrences. So it is not unusual for people to have a sudden insight as to the origin, during EMDR. That doesn't always happen tho.

When we are working up a present day target, we ask, "what picture represents the worst part of the incident," and "what words go best with that picture that reflect your negative belief about yourself now," and "what are the feelings that come up when you say those words (negative belief) to yourself now" and finally, "where do you notice that in your body." Often, we optionally add, "is that a new feeling that just started (this week with the lousy boss) or is that an ooolllllddd familiaaarrrr feeellllling...." and people almost always say, after a pause of reflection, that its an old familiar feeling. So we go back to the earlier event oftentimes.
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