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Unread February 4th, 2009, 10:19 PM
francesca francesca is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2
Default DID/PTSD Recovery with EMDR-its benefits and speech for Survivors & Therapists

[MODERATOR'S COMMENT: Although this post doesn't have much in the way of triggering details, it could be triggering for some with similar history. I've left it almost entirely as is because it is inspiring and poetic. The identity of the perpetrators is not defined here and should not be assumed. Here is the survivor's post...]
I have been in therapy for DID/PTSD for 25 years. I have tried many types of therapy over the years. When I began to use EMDR in therapy to deal with my traumatic memories I found my recovery began to speed up considerably and doing memories using EMDR was significantly easier, less painful, and more beneficial than any other method I had used. I believe if I had known about it and used it earlier on with a TRAINED therapist using an "advanced protocol" (different than standard EMDR) along with Ego State Therapy, I would not have suffered to the extent that I did by any stretch of the imagination. If some of my friends had also been using it I believe some of them would still be alive.
The reduction in pain and fear when using EMDR is significant.

I have recently dealt with my most painful memory of Ritual Abuse that had been stuck for many years using traditional therapy and can now "look at it" without feeling I am living in it...this to me is a miracle and I am convinced EMDR has allowed me to heal in this way. My hope is that fellow survivors
will learn of its benefits so they can make it through the recovery period and go on to live the lives they really deserve to be living.

While dealing with this memory I was able to write a speech which I would like to post here and share with others and hope that it is helpful to others.I am deeply grateful to have used EMDR with my therapist Sandra Paulsen PhD. I'm also grateful to my spiritual director Tim Iistowanohpataakiwa MA. Both are with the Bainbridge Institute for Integrative Psychology in Bainbridge Isl, WA.


I am here today, not only for myself, but to be the voice of a newborn, an infant, and a young man who cannot speak for themselves and to fulfill a promise I made many years ago.

When I was a child I experienced abuses that no child should have to experience. I felt so totally alone. There was no one I could turn to for help. My perpetrators were people who should have protected me and a group of people whose names I do not know. I was so young when it began that when standing up I was half the size of those who planned my days and nights. I was half the size of those who virtually tore my heart out. I was half the size of those who threatened me and others with extinction. I was half the size of those who suffocated my cries of terror and blocked the doorways. I was half the size of those who choked the song out of me, robbed me of my sense of safety, manipulated my longing to belong, and ruined my ability to trust and feel a sense of well being. I was half the size. In order for my perpetrators to carry out their agenda they used those of us who were wholly innocent to do their jobs. They were not brave enough to even do the work themselves.

Today, I am the sole survivor of those years of horror who can recall and feel safe enough to tell the story; my story and the story of the three who could not be here with me today. I am alive today only because I lived long enough to finally find help. I was able to find help in countless dedicated and well trained therapists and good friends from whom I could draw strength, commitment, goodwill, and faith until I found a measure of those things in myself. Had it not been for these people’s interventions in my life I would not have made it through. It was only for the good grace of people I eventually met and upon whom I could depend, trust, and come to rely on that I am here today. I am eternally grateful for each and every one.

Recovery is a mighty challenge. It is not for the faint of heart. It requires more from us than we think we have to give and then some, and yet it appears that it is possible. It takes many years for some of us. It takes determination, unending courage, and a will to keep focusing on things we cannot see...things that we can only dream of...and things that we can hope for.

Many have given up before they could complete their work. I have known those who lost all hope and could not hang in there even one more day. I have known many who have not given up and many of them have gone on to do good things. They showed the world that they have not been defeated...that they can overcome the odds and can be of benefit to others, just as others were a benefit to them. So many people I have known have walked my path before me and come out of it on top. These people give me inspiration and the belief that no matter what life has in store for us we can find ways to cope, ways to heal, ways to thrive, and ways to contribute back.

I have lived a far from perfect life. I have lived so many years hiding secrets I thought too horrible to be believed and too scary to give voice to that I have done my fair share of damage to others as well. The internal pressure, the denial and lies from my perpetrators, the complete lack of any kind of validation, concern, and help from those who should have protected me and my own inability to cope and live up to my own highest expectations have contributed to that life. Although I was light years ahead of my perpetrators and did not perpetrate the extreme abuses heaped on me, I did fall short in many areas I would have like to have done better in.

Most of my life I made decisions based on fear. Fear that originated with the conditioning of my young mind by those who did not see me as a child worthy of love and protection but in fact saw and treated me as a being ranking lower than a dog, quite literally. This inability on their part to view me as someone other than a projection of the sickest parts within them selves was not my fault. It was however my reality and the reality I had to live with and cope with on a day to day basis for my life up to this point.

I have anger. I have anger not only for myself but for those who never had a chance against the evil that I saw, but was told I also must deny. I had so much stored up anger by the time I was a young adult that it is a wonder that I was satisfied to fantasize about revenge against my perpetrators instead of act it out. I suppose my fear of jail kept me in line when I could have lost control and wanted to exact my own kind of justice, in my own way. I am glad now that I did not give in and lose my way. I am glad I saved myself from years of more abuse and living life in cells a few feet wide and only few feet longer.

I have anger at my culture; a culture whose people have been taught and encouraged to blame the victims of all kinds of crime while feeling sorrier for those who perpetrate those crimes...a culture whose people can't hear or face the greatest evils of our day...a culture who had more laws to protect their animals than people...a culture who sees the exploitation of children every day yet still close their eyes and ears and cover their mouths so it can continue yet another day. Oh yes, I have anger.

I have pain. Pain that so much suffering exists...pain that the youngest have so little power and such small voices... pain that so many children grow up in financial poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, physical poverty, spiritual poverty and medical neglect...pain knowing evil exists and is often in those you are forced to depend upon...pain that there is not enough help out there or enough resources to meet the needs head on...pain in knowing that there is so much potential much happiness lost, so much creativity lost, so much laughter never to be heard.

I have fear. Fear that survivors won't be able to tolerate the enormity of what lies ahead of them to heal...fear that the abusers will outlive and outsmart survivors...fear that we won't be believed when we finally have the strength to speak our truth...fear that we will be re-victimized...fear that we will be denied our story because someone else can't stand to imagine it, hear it, or accept that it occurs and in the way that we remember it...fear that others who have not walked in our shoes will walk on by and not give our plight a second thought...fear that we won't imagine a better future, know our gifts, and set our own goals...fear that we won't ever experience the love we so deserve or be capable of fully loving those we know...fear that we will give up before we get to the light at the end of the tunnel that can guide us back to ourselves and give us a life of meaning and purpose and service to all others.

I have all these things, but I also have hope. I have hope that someday it will be different. That my children will do better than I did. That my children's children will do better even still. I have hope in the resiliency of the human spirit. I have hope in the people who live their lives with integrity, good intention, and right action. I have hope in the heart's ability to grow in love, the mind's ability to stretch in imagination and soul's ability to take flight. I have hope in the Creator's ability to hold us when we cannot hold ourselves, to see for us what we cannot see for ourselves and to guide us gently back to our rightful connection while creating the sacred space within which that happens best.

I have so much to say, so many more ideas and words within to share, but for now I have said enough. Now I will rest peacefully for a time. I am grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. I am happy that a song has begun to sing in my heart, a brighter future is building in my mind, and that a belief in my true purpose here on earth will be coming in the future.

Thank you dear ones who cannot be here to sing your own song...imagine your own future or live out your intended purpose. May I never forget you and may I never let you down.

blessings, Earthlake: RA Survivor

Last edited by francesca; February 25th, 2009 at 02:56 AM.
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Unread February 6th, 2009, 01:00 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Posts: 207
Default Re: DID/PTSD Recovery with EMDR-its benefits and speech for Survivors & Therapists

I appreciate your courage in posting this to inspire others. I also want new readers here to realize what I often have posted elsewhere on this forum - that EMDR for dissociation and complext trauma (like ritual abuse) usually requires specialty procedures - an advanced protocol - not the standard EMDR protocol. EMDR practitioners treating ritual abuse survivors should know aobut those special procedures to keep the EMDR safe and appropriate, effective. There are several books available about EMDR and Ego State Therapy now. Forgash & Copeley (I wrote the DID chapter), Luber (in press, I think it is volume II tho, going to the printer today, there are several chapters in it for treating dissociation, I wrote one of them) and my own book, Looking Through the Eyes of Trauma & Dissoication: An illustrated guide .... which goes to print this week as well (written and illustrated by Paulsen).

So now there are lots of avenues for guidance for practitioners treating complex cases with EMDR! Great news!

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"Looking Through the Eyes of Trauma & Dissociation"
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