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  #1  
Unread September 18th, 2004, 12:20 PM
Cynthy Cynthy is offline
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Question EMDR - Auditory - Eyes Open or Closed?

When using the auditory bilateral stimulus during EMDR for a client; is it better for the client to have their eyes open or closed?

What is the advantage and/or disadvantage of having the client's eyes open or closed??
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  #2  
Unread September 19th, 2004, 09:05 PM
littlethree littlethree is offline
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Default Re: EMDR - Auditory - Eyes Open or Closed?

i'm not a professional and i have not used auditory EMDR, but tapping (she taps my knees in alternating fashion). one day when we were not doing bilateral stimulation, she asked me a question and to think about it for a moment, to visualize, I closed my eyes. and she, noticing this, inquired if it was something i normally did and asked if it would be helpful if i do this during the bilateral stimulation. i wasn't completely sure it would be the better way, but i did note that with my eyes open, i am usually too distracted by the visuals of the outside word, even when she was using the visual bilateral stimulation. (sometimes i am able to keep my distraction in check with my eyes open, but it usually involved sort of shallowing my breathing and we are working to work me away from that habit)

so for me, i think it is something that is talored to what works for the individual...rather than an advantage/disadvantage perspective. but if i were to speak of an advantage for me: less distractions, so easier to "visualize". a disadvantage may be she cannot see my eyes and may not be able to discern times when i am "getting in trouble" in there and need to get out (though we have developed a signal to deal with that concern). in a neutral way, just making some observations about my "eyes" closed experience: sometimes i have jarred my eyes open to "get out"; sometimes it is very difficult to open my eyes when we are finishing up a session--like i really have been somewhere and it takes time to "climb back out into the light".

but, anyway, those are just some thoughts...and i'm sure the regular moderators will have a better response.
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  #3  
Unread September 19th, 2004, 10:25 PM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
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Default Re: EMDR - Auditory - Eyes Open or Closed?

Hi,

Generally speaking, I think some this is a matter of preference. Some clients prefer to keep their eyes open and do just fine with that. Others (like myself) find the visuals too distracting and so close their eyes. I also find that during my own EMDR if I connect with something quite overwhelming, my eyes just kinda fly open and that can be helpful.

If someone is dissociative or otherwise has a hard time grounding themselves, it may be better for them to keep their eyes open throughout, so they remain more connected with the present. There is also some possibility that having the eyes opened enhances the process because it helps to maintain a dual focus on the here and now while also working on the past trauma.

Just my .02 - I"m sure Sandra will have more useful info
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  #4  
Unread September 21st, 2004, 01:56 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: EMDR - Auditory - Eyes Open or Closed?

In general, we say its best to keep eyes open, but its not a hard and fast rule. Here's why.

EMDR practitioners need to ensure that clients stay oriented. That means they keep "one foot in the memory and one foot in the office."

For many people, if they close their eyes, they get deeper in the material.

For people who are very cognitive or defended against their feelings, this may be beneficial. They get better access. Otherwise they have both feet in the office and no feet in the memory.

For people who are at risk for being "pulled" so far into the experience that they feel as if it is really happening now, its not a good thing. If they close their eyes they sometimes end up with both feet in the memory and no feet in the office.
Some people can shut their eyes with no problem.

So we make individual determinations on whether the client needs more or less access to the visceral experience of the material in their body. Closing or opening eyes is one of several ways to get more or less access.
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  #5  
Unread September 21st, 2004, 03:39 PM
Cynthy Cynthy is offline
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Smile Re: EMDR - Auditory - Eyes Open or Closed?

Thank you! That helps me understand the process much better!
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  #6  
Unread September 22nd, 2004, 06:09 PM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
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Default Re: EMDR - Auditory - Eyes Open or Closed?

Hmmm....I went for an EMDR session myself today and was thinking about this thread so experimented with keeping my eyes open some of the time.

It WAS easier to stay present, and something else that surprises me is that I was able to see things more clearly with my eyes open (I guess that usually would not be surprising...LOL....I just mean I had more visual imagery with my eyes open).

It also seemed like the quality of what I saw, in terms of it being helpful vs. simply revisitting the past, was better with my eyes opened.

I'm going to have to try this again next time. It was kind of neat and was a whole different process going on behind the scenes as I processed the material I was targetting.

It's giving me something to think about for sure, and thinking maybe I will suggest to clients to keep their eyes open.
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