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  #1  
Unread December 28th, 2005, 03:44 PM
katharine katharine is offline
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Question confused

I was wondering if anyone doing emdr had the same trouble and what, if anything , one can do about it.

I have tried emdr twice. The first time I stopped it after a few sessions because I was crying all the time, and just not doing well. It was a long time ago but I think I was just really doing awful with food (I have bulimia in addition to the ptsd and depression). The second time, my therapist recommend stopping because I wasn’t doing so well. The sad thing is the second time we tried we were not even doing past stuff, just the safe place, putting things in a box, and strengths. The first part bothers me because I can not tolerate that safety thing, feeling safe makes me feel ashamed and then I sort of fall apart. That was months ago and just recently I have been wanting to give it another go. Past things are really bothering me and I am getting really tired of it. I am unsure though if it is wise since I tried it twice. Am I beating a dead horse here? Are some people just not meant to do it? How am I supposed to ever get better if I can't even get through that first part? What am I doing wrong? or is this normal, to start and stop? I was reading some posts and I know I close my eyes. For me that is more comfortable but maybe I should try opening them while we do it? I also read something that said if you are actively cutting then you should stop, I slipped up a few days ago...does that mean I can't try it again anytime soon? How long do I have to wait? Does that even constitute active, if it was just once?


I am not sure if anyone can even comment since I guess I did get sort of specific. if so, i would really appreciate it.
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  #2  
Unread December 28th, 2005, 09:04 PM
littlethree littlethree is offline
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Red face Re: confused

I close my eyes in EMDR too and my therapist does "knee taps". I initially did the Eye Movements, watching her finger, but then she noted when I think that I sometimes close my eyes and she suggested knee taps. So we tried that.

But on to the meatier part of your quandry. I'm not a therapist (of course), and can't really comment on anything specific because we are all different. I can, however, give you my thoughts and perhaps you can consider them. I've been doing EMDR for over a year and a half now. The first time I did EMDR we didn't really jump in to anything too deep. We EMDR'd a surgery I had in 2nd grade (I rated my current anxiety, on a scale of 1 to 10, about a 2 or 3 I think.) This was done just so we could get a feel for it. Then, like you, we moved on to create that "safe" place.

I hear you when you say you cannot tolerate the "safe" thing. Though, in my case, I don't recall feeling ashamed of safety. Though maybe I did. I did exactly find a safe place right away. In fact, I went through several safe places before I found the right fit. Initially, I used a translucent bubble to float away in, then a boat in the middle of a big big ocean with no land in sight, there were a couple other things (I think). But they "freaked me out" too much and i got scared and had to reassess them. In the end, I'm happy with the one I am using now. But in the end, all of them have one similarity, they are away from people. Because, I guess, most people have been dangerous in my life and plus, in a larger sense, I'm away from people so I don't bother them...which goes into the feeling that I'm not worthy of being around people and that I suck the life out of them and goes into the shame thing.

So in the end, I developed a place that was safe for me and what I thought was safe for the world in general...a place i wouldn't be in the way and bother people.

Then again, as you said, EMDR may not be for everyone. I really don't know if it is for you or if it is not, since I'm not a professional.

That said, I have had some rather big anxiety-attack producing EMDR sessions that produced feelings in all my 5 senses. They left me sleepless nights, with aches and the like and feeling very ill all-around. I didn't have crying, because that was something that was "broken" in me and have been using EMDR to "fix". But, of course, when the anxiety from EMDR is too much, I've been told by my therapist that the mind will move away from that pain, and then come back (Perhaps like testing your foot in the tub to be sure it isn't too hot, then trying again and again, until you are comfortable with the temperature).

But then again, I still have had some rather big anxiety producing EMDR sessions to this date. So, I'm learning to be surprised if it the pain does happen. And my therapist reminds me that I'm in a safe place now, that the events being worked in the EMDR are not happening for real, that you already lived through them, that you already survived them.

Me and my therapist do stop and start EMDR, especially if my "heart and mind" are too anxiety filled and fearful. But then I usually ease back in and try again.

And I don't think you are doing anything wrong. There is no right or wrong in therapy, only what works for you, and what your inner core self knows you are ready for (though sometimes what the "core" self is doing isn't always apparent and can be baffling). What you are feeling, I think, is oftentimes your body and mind's way of easing you into things, a protective instinct that is working as is set up to do.

And talk to your therapist about the cutting. I've done some cutting--that's a curiosity to me. I think I'm hearing you want to cut again--from your questions of "does that mean I can't cut again anytime soon? how long do I have to wait?" So bring that up with your therapist for sure. In the meantime, try to beat the stuffing out of pillow or something similar instead of hurting yourself.

These are just a few thoughts. And you have a wealth of questions in your topic. I've journaled in a questioning way and still have many questions about self and the world etc. Maybe others can offer some additional support. Also, hearing a lot of anxiety in you, so if possible talk to your therapist about these anxieties soon.
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  #3  
Unread December 29th, 2005, 12:35 AM
katharine katharine is offline
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Default Re: confused

Sorry for asking so many questions . Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I feel much better knowing that others have had to start/stop and have been doing emdr for a while. I read things and it seems like some just go and do it and thats it. It's funny you said that you feel like you suck the life out of people. I feel that way too. I will talk to my therapist and continue to decide if it is best to do it. If I do maybe I will play around with the whole safe place until I find something less upsetting. The part about the slip with SI was confusing, i meant do I have to wait to try EMDR now that i self harmed? like that shows i am not ready so even if I decide yes i want to try emdr again I cant because I cut. I was doing a lot of thinking out loud I suppose, probably best to ask her that one.

Again, thank you very much.
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  #4  
Unread December 30th, 2005, 12:46 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: confused

Hi, I've been away a few days on a vacation, or I'd have jumped in. The reason I don't give specific advice, and I urge others not to as well, is that people are so different and we don't get enough info here. And more than that, some people are more fragile than others, and have already been mightily betrayed in life, and we don't want to add to that burden.

Anybody who gets worse doing EMDR shouldn't do EMDR until they have been strengthened by any number of procedures. Even safe place is too much for some people. Sometimes blocking beliefs interfere with feeling anything good, including safe. For example (may not apply), some people feel that they are so bad that if they don't deserve to feel safe, others feel that it isn't safe to feel safe, that if they let their guard down all is lost. So for those people, there are some knots to untangle before doing EMDR.

Doing EMDR is like pushing water through a hose. If the volume and pressure of the water is greater than the capacity and strength of the hose, the hose can blow a hole in it. So, we have to reduce the pressure of the water going through OR increase the strength of the hose, or both. In therapy, there are ways to strengthen the person and ways to break the disturbing material into pieces so it can be processed.

Any time the EMDR is making some one worse we should stop it. The therapist is responsible to screen each and every person for degree of dissociation and not proceed with EMDR if the person is dissociative. (This may not apply to you, I'm just saying it in general). EMDR can remove defenses, and the person has to be ready to lose those defenses. So doing EMDR for the wrong person or at the wrong time can make someone worse.

There are many ways to strengthen a person. The therapist is responsible to evaluate all these factors and make the right recommendation, and to get consultation if need be.
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  #5  
Unread December 30th, 2005, 05:19 PM
katharine katharine is offline
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Default Re: confused

I hope you had a nice vacation. Thank you for taking the time to respond. You have given me a lot to think and talk about with my therapist which i will do as soon as she gets back.

Thanks again!
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  #6  
Unread February 22nd, 2006, 03:18 AM
anni wakerley anni wakerley is offline
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Default Re: confused

Hi Katharine. Reading your posts makes me think you might benefit from a feminist approach, if you have access to feminist psychologists. The approach is usually tentative, gentle, patient. The relationship with the therapist is a primary healing factor, rather than specific techniques. I'm a counselling psychologist in private practise, by the way, and find a feminist approach very useful with women recovering from trauma. Hope this helps.
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  #7  
Unread February 23rd, 2006, 12:37 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: confused

As the moderator, I specifically asked no one to make specific recommendations here on this case, because it's complicated, and we don't have an adequate history. When people have plenty of symptoms and complex histories, we must refrain from making case specific recommendations, lest we add to the burden of people asking questions here by offering premature, incomplete, poorly justified or otherwise problematic advisements.

As far as I can see, there is no basis nor sufficient information to make a specific recommendation for any particular type of therapy, even if it were appropriate to give specific recommendations on cases in this forum.

Finally, this is an EMDR forum. Discussions here are to be about EMDR and its variations, complications. Therefore, I'll welcome discussion about feminist therapy as it relates to EMDR, but not feminist therapy alone, which is outside the scope of this forum.
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