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Unread May 30th, 2008, 06:21 PM
MercyMe MercyMe is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Sandra, thank you again for your thoughtful comments. I have considered everything you said very carefully and am deeply grateful that you have chosen to address the actual issues involved as opposed to taking a "Thou Shalt Not" stance on my self-help efforts.

I have to agree completely with your first point; there is no way I could have done this earlier than now. I already had a lot going for me in terms of coping and healing skills when I came into therapy, but I was so incredibly wounded that it would have been impossible (and probably very damaging) to try anything like this on my own, even if I had known about it at the time. I could not have handled anything like I am doing now back then, as wounded and mentally fragmented as I was. But right now, it seems to be working very well for me.

I am continually struck by how it seems to have enriched and energized my regular sessions with the therapist; they are far more dynamic now for me than they were before. I don't think it's just the correct targeting either, though that is a large part of it. I almost get the sense that the actual neurological processes are getting better just with the frequency and repetition of doing it, and most importantly doing it correctly (if you don't target well, you don't light up that memory network well, which basically means that nothing really changes, which is what I was experiencing before).

It's hard to put into words, but it feels almost like a dormant muscle that is getting plenty of exercise, and thus is returning to strength and health even more readily because of it. So when I go in to the therapist for a session it is much easier to remember things, to get to bothersome points, to reach a catharsis almost effortlessly, whereas before I had to strain and strain to remember bits and pieces, and it was almost impossible to stay focused. Before, for me it was like seeing bits and pieces of memories and events through a vast fog: no sooner would I have seen something than it would slide away again into unknowing. Now, when I remember something, I can generally hold onto it and keep it in the forefront long enough to describe it, feel it, and process it. I have no idea if that makes any sense at all; please forgive my lack of clarity in describing it.

You know, I'm just some person somewhere who decided to give it a shot on my own and had excellent results, but I know I'm not the first. I honestly hope that at some point, with the number of professionals and resources dedicated to researching and using the EMDR protocol, someone decides to follow this "self-administered EMDR" up and even write up a protocol for people who would be good candidates for this sort of homework. Relative and absolute contraindications for self-administered EMDR could easily be written into it, making it very clear for therapist and patient alike to know when this is just NOT a good idea, and simple directions and worksheets created for clients to use. A client could even try it at the office before taking it home.

While I can understand the resistance there would be to opening EMDR up like this, the fact is that it's already kinda/sorta out there already. One of my books -- The PTSD Sourcebook by Glenn Schiraldi -- already has eye movement "exercises" very similar to EMDR in there (though that is pretty much just the bilateral stimulation part) and then there's tapping, EFT, TFT and the like.

Most importantly, it would return control and oversight of the process back to the professionals. It's true I'm getting great results, but my therapist has no idea what I'm doing in the garage, and I'm not about to tell her anytime soon. When I turn this around and look at it from what I think your perspective as a therapist might be, I see it as a worst-case scenario: a client has taken a powerful and relatively new treatment protocol into her own hands and I, the therapist, have no knowledge or oversight of it, there are no controls, and no safety net for her if she gets herself into trouble because I am entirely excluded from the process, either by my disapproval or by my client's lack of disclosure. For this reason alone, I would think that incorporating and legitimizing self-administered EMDR into the standard lexicon of treatments would be beneficial to the therapeutic community as a whole, therapist and client alike. It also hasn't escaped my attention that Francine Shapiro discovered EMDR on her own, without a therapist, walking under some trees on a sunny day...

Those are just my thoughts on it; feel free to disagree. In the meantime, thank you again so much for the wisdom and counsel you have shared with me!



P.S. Re: the last line of point #5, there was no digression there; I personally think that is the very essence of the matter.

P.P.S. I realized as I re-read this string of posts that I have put in enough personally identifying information for someone not associated with my therapy to identify me, so I may go back and remove a handful of very small points (like what medication I'm on, what program I am in, where specifically my recent trauma occurred, etc.). You should not notice any change in the content of what we have discussed; in fact, I rather like that it is out here. Thanks again for listening!

Last edited by MercyMe; May 30th, 2008 at 06:37 PM. Reason: clarity
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