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  #1  
Unread July 13th, 2005, 03:03 PM
daisy7 daisy7 is offline
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Unhappy discouraged

Hi,

I wanted to write a thread because I just returned from my 5th EMDR session and I am getting discouraged. I know that you can not comment on individual cases but I was wondering if you can respond generally. I initially felt that I was making progress but over the last week and a half, I am back to my old anxious/depressed self. It's almost as though the impact has worn off. As well, I am discouraged because I felt nothing after the last 2 sessions. Perhaps just a little down because I hate drudging up the past. I am beginning to think that I am bringing up all this stuff for no good reason and I should just stuff it back down where it belongs. I find that my Therapist doesn't dialog much during the session so I just keep going through the same pictures in my head over and over. Doesn't seem like much. Most of the events we are processing, I believe are small "t" traumas. But I am unsure....just a few incidents of physical abuse and mother leaving. The Therapist knows that I feel we are getting no where but he says nothing about it. I am not feeling better, not feeling much worse (as though I were processing) just down like anyone would be when someone asks about negative childhood events...I know its not getting to the core...

If any other clients out there has had a similar experience but stuck with it and it helped, I would love to hear about it. Especially for experiences with small "t" traumas.
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  #2  
Unread July 14th, 2005, 12:12 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: discouraged

You accurately recall that I can't comment on your particular case because there are so many possibilities of what can be going on. I'll make a few general comments that may or may not apply to you.

Sometimes the first EMDR experiences are more intense than later ones. Intensity is not how we determine success -- daily life functioning is, so that's what we watch ultimately.

No one likes the discomfort of pulling up the past; the only reason we do it is to clear it out. Like cleaning a basement, its messy for a while.

As work continues, its common for various blocking beliefs to interfere. Often those are voices from the past or feelings from the past, actually part of the memory or parts of self that are loyal to the old ways of being, or loyal to external others (like family members, sometimes). These might sound like, "I shouldn't be complaining about such a small thing," "my parents did the best they could at the time." Or a client might feel hopeless in the therapy, but its actually part of the memory leaking up from the material just processed in EMDR, but incorrectly experienced as being about the present since its being felt in the present.

If during EMDR the client is going over and over the same thing without resolution, the therapist should recognize this as looping and do a cognitive interweave to get the material unstuck.

Small t traumas are things like: the time one injured ones knee and the kids at school laughed, or one lost one's place at the piano recital. Big t trauma include things like physical abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment by a parent, many experiences of emotional abuse or emotional neglect.

There is no controlled research on the use of EMDR with small t traumas, though most of us find it helpful. It is challenging because of the difficulty of identifying whether the small t trauma is really on point or not for a given issue.

Therapists need to collaborate with clients to assertain if the work is progressing or stuck, consistent with the clients goals and the therapist's knowledge and understanding. That collaboration requires discussion from both parties.

When clients know that another matter is core, rather than the present target, thats a good example of something the therapist and client might collaborate upon to get the best target.

Finally, any therapist using EMDR should have both Parts I and II training. Additionally many people benefit from additional consultation as EMDR is a complex procedure.
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  #3  
Unread July 15th, 2005, 09:45 AM
daisy7 daisy7 is offline
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Default Re: discouraged

Thank you so much for the response. How would a therapist address these blocking beliefs? As well, if during the actual eye movement, the client is thinking about how they will respond to the therapist questions when the eye movement is over, does that mean the client is inhibiting the process and diminishing the possibility of positive results. I find when I am going through the memories and watching his fingers, I am describing in my head the feelings, or how they changed, or listing the memories in my head etc. I know what the therapist's questions will be, so I notice things and think about my response.
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  #4  
Unread July 15th, 2005, 10:22 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: discouraged

The way a therapist addresses blocking beliefs depends upon the particular blocking belief.

As a few examples:

BB1: "Who am I if I don't have this problem?"

Solution: A therapist might ask the client to visualize that possible future without the problem, during bilateral stim, and either solving for or desensitizing any worrisome thoughts that emerge.

BB2: "I'll be disloyal if I say the truth about what happened."

Solution: Exploration of what year is it, where are you, are the people involved alive or dead, and more important, whose life is THIS, whose body is THIS, would it be okay if you were loyal to THIS BODY and THIS LIFE, since the others had their life and their decisions

EMDR practitioners say, as part of their instructions, "there are no supposed to's in EMDR. Whatever comes up is fine, there may be thoughts or emotions, body sensations or nothing at all. Whatever comes up, just notice it as if it were scenery through a train window." During the EMDR we don't say much, but the one thing we do say most often is, "Just notice it," or "scenery through a train window." We hope clients will just notice it and let it go by. We really don't even need to know the thoughts that came up during the EMDR, though people often want to tell us.

The very best stance ANY client can use during EMDR is to just notice the scenery and not worry about what they are going to say after the set of eye movements is over. When the therapist says, "What are you aware of," that's a great moment to notice what one is aware of at THAT very moment, not 30 seconds before. After all, the train has moved on in that 30 seconds.

Some therapists add, "blank it out, deep breath" before saying, "what are you aware of," so the client doesn't feel they have to hang onto every bit of scenery they just passed along the way.
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