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  #1  
Unread April 18th, 2007, 08:42 PM
Daniel Daniel is offline
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Default Home EMDR

I've just experienced EMDR for the first time, and I was very impressed with the immediate, positive results it seemed to have for both my memory and my sense of trauma about it.

But now, I'm curious about the advisability of occasional "home therapy," that is, making the eye movements without my therapist nearby, using similar intervals/lengths of time.

Might I do myself damage by trying this when I have a disturbing thought outside my therapist's office? Is it something only more experienced EMDR clients should attempt?
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  #2  
Unread April 18th, 2007, 11:39 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

You may know that we only make general comments here, so the following may not apply, but....I wouldn't begin to recommend self administered emdr for quite a while. For people with considerable trauma histories, they could tap into a reservoir of deep pain and not have a great way to move through it.

EMDR consists of a number of elements, only one of which is the eye movement/bilateral stimulation. Other elements include: formulating the case, selecting appropriate targets, articulating negative and positive cognitions. Additionally, for clients with complex trauma histories it includes resourcing, containment, stabilization, and in particular fractionating the target appropriately to match the strength of the self system of the client.

Remember also that if processing gets stuck, the clinician gets it unstuck. The clinician also provides strength and an observing witness to the process. These are not small things. In short, self administered EMDR is a bad plan for the longest time.

I've tried it myself, and find it to be a problem that there is no observing witness to debug it if and when it gets stuck. I'm a terrific EMDR practitioner and I still can't do it for myself.

Having said all that, once one's major closets have been cleaned, there may be a place for self administered bilateral stim (see also "butterfly hug") to calm oneself.

Last edited by Sandra Paulsen; April 19th, 2007 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Omission
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  #3  
Unread May 6th, 2008, 01:29 AM
MercyMe MercyMe is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Hmmm, I kind of have the opposite problem...

I am in a public assistance program which is paying for my treatment of complex PTSD. I am verly limited in the mental health providers that I can use; they only have one who does EMDR. This same program pays for my meds, which are saving my life. (I should mention now that I can't be seen to be "uncooperative" by these nice folks or I lose my meds.)

I have been in this therapy once a week now for about five months, and the first month of that was just begging her to try EMDR; I had a strong gut feeling that it would work for me. But I also got the impression that, while she had it on her shingle, so to speak, she did not actually use it frequently. I also noted that she is not listed on any of the trained EMDR practitioner lists found on the official sites, but I assumed that because she offered the treatment she had to know what she was doing.

We did try EMDR, and it was *amazingly* effective at rooting out some deeply seated stuff. I have been so disconnected with my body, my person, that I had no idea these things were lingering in there. EMDR not only allowed the memories to come up, but almost compelled their processing in an easy, natural way I never expected.

But fast forward a few months, and we have a problem. As time has gone on, she has dispensed with everything but the eye movement part itself; I even have to bring myself out of it as I drive home because she doesn't do anything but say, "Time's up." I miss a lot of depth that I could have if only I were taken through all the steps, reminded to pay attention to my body, not worry or try to make things happen, etc. but with her that is not available to me.

There have been several times (I'm in one now) where I am stuck, I know I'm stuck, but when I ask her for help or tools to help me I am told, "That's up to you. You need to find the tools that will bring you out of this. You need to find what will work for you." To me, this is completely unacceptable, but she's on the public paycheck... what can I do? It's like I have EMDR without a therapist. If it were up to her I would talk the *whole* time, but as I explained when I first walked into her office, talk doesn't do diddly-squat for me; I'm talked out and yet symptomatically still the same.

As a last resort, I took to doing it at home in the garage where no one will intrude on my "sessions", and find that while I am still impaired in that there are places where I just have no clue, I am actually getting into deeper places more easily *without* her; it's like I don't have to carry her AND try to heal myself. It's much harder to focus, but I can freely go with whatever presents itself, and end it if it gets nowhere. I do find that even if I get nowhere in the EMDR itself, processing does continue in flashbacks, dreams, released memories, etc. I also find that what I accomplish on my own is, while minor compared to what I processed with her assistance at first, is just as real and long-lasting as anything else.

I guess I should also note that I am no stranger to dealing with traumatic memories, and no matter how bad it gets, well, I've been there before and I can talk myself into the safety of the present without a lot of fear or terror about what I'm feeling. Thank God, because that's the only way I'm getting my EMDR treatment. After the last two weeks or so, with me *begging* her for therapeutic tools to help me get past my "trappedness" only to hear that I'm on my own... I'm actually kind of grateful, because my healing really IS up to me and she did me a favor by letting me know, as useless as it was at the time. Also, if I'm on my own then I need not feel compelled to help her understand or allow her oversight of my process: this alone has held me back a great deal.

So I'm not sure whether to "recommend" this to anyone else or not; it's a situation I have very little control over, but it's helping me some and not hurting me at all, as far as I can tell. I have also bought a couple EMDR sound CDs, and I will try those as well just to see if they make it any easier.

Thanks for letting me talk, and for having this board to read through...

Last edited by MercyMe; May 30th, 2008 at 06:24 PM. Reason: removed personally identifying information
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  #4  
Unread May 6th, 2008, 11:20 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

You are quite right, that EMDR includes more than the bilateral stimulation. There is the target set up, the returning to target periodically, and when things get stuck, there are supposed to be cognitive (or other) interweaves.

Any therapist who isn't doing the entire standard protocol when indicated should seek consultation from a certified consultant to help them learn what they haven't yet mastered.

A parenthetical comment -- "complex PTSD" is sometimes complex PTSD and sometimes is a dissociative condition. There are special procedures for dissociative individuals. Those special procedures are outlined in the new book by Forgash and Copely "Healing the Heart of Trauma" and will be laid out also in my forthcoming book, "Looking Through the Eyes" is its provisional title.

I don't know if you are dissociative or not, and I am not saying you are dissociative. I simply don't know. But to complete the thought, bottom line, for dissociative individuals, the most potent interweave when processing is stuck is to glance into the "conference room" in the minds eye and ask whatever would come up next to be present. Voila, that usually reveals something that is hiding or pushed away as unacceptable. Often it is shame or rage, or a parent-in-the-mind's eye censoring the work. Sometimes the stuckness is because there is a piece of information (psycho-educational) missing, that the therapist should provide.

That procedure also works, usually, with non-dissociative individuals who really have complex PTSD. I would not expect a person to be able to do self administered emdr using these interweaves, though. It really is the responsibility of the therapist to know and offer appropriate help. Or get consultation.
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  #5  
Unread May 7th, 2008, 06:45 PM
MercyMe MercyMe is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Sandra, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. After I wrote the above post, I came across Laurel Parnell's EMDR handbook for therapists on Amazon. It just so happens that the excerpt provided is most of the first chapter, a thorough but quick overview of the eight phases of EMDR, and so I was quickly able to narrow in more exactly on what has been missing (specifically, most of the assessment phase, some of the desensitization phase, the body scan, and the debriefing/closing phase).

Armed with that, I went back for my regular appointment today and brought up how, in looking for my own tools and finding my own way as she had challenged, I had reexamined EMDR and thought we could use it more effectively. I tried to be very generous about it, did a lot of soft-pedaling and acting ignorant, but DID manage to completely outline the various missing parts and how I really thought we could gain from them.

She didn't like it, especially at first, but since I was closing most phrases with a, "Would you be willing to help me with this?" or a "Would this be something you could add?" she pretty much had to either assent or refuse. She said she would be willing to incorporate my suggestions, and as the visit went on it seemed more genuine on her part. I think as time went on she got that I didn't look at it as a failure on her part, or a challenge to her professionalism, but that I really do just want her professional guidance and help. So we'll see how it goes.

I do not believe that getting a consultation is in her repertoire, if only because she does not believe she needs one at all. And after today, she may not need one: if this encourages her to brush up and adhere to the entire protocol, every time, then I think I have the best I am going to get in this particular situation. After I return to work and have an income again, I can go to any therapist I like, but this is what I have available now.

I appreciate your comment regarding being dissociative; it's a good point because both types of PTSD, complex and non-complex, are categorized as dissociative disorders. My PTSD comes from an abusive childhood environment -- which I had actually worked through and come to terms with in many ways 20 years ago -- which was revisited in an incredibly bad professional situation. Bullying, physically threatening, lying, false accusations, the whole thing. And it went on, non-stop, day after day, for months. I became like the proverbial deer in the headlights: I just froze.

I knew it was bad, really bad, but I had no clue about PTSD or even that it had affected me in any deep way. I only knew that after I left that job I was more or less crippled and couldn't seem to get myself off the couch to find more work, and figured I just needed to rest and "get over it." But then I started having the whole gamut of PTSD symptoms (horrible insomnia, flashbacks, instant rage, short term amnesia, depression, suicidality, etc.) and when I got help for what I thought was depression, *surprise!* it's PTSD.

I'm statisfied that the diagnosis of complex PTSD is correct, because while I did a great deal of emotional work 20 years ago, and what amounts to cognitive restructuring, I never dealt with the somatic memories, nor did I know that I even had them, nor dissociative ways of coping with profound stressors. So I have spent most of my life piling on the original traumas without even knowing it. The work I did years ago was great for helping me to avoid more obvious and self-destructive reenactments, but there's no question for me that, PTSD or no PTSD, I have been dissociating in some form or another my entire life.

It was telling for me, after being diagnosed, to remember how when these things were occurring at the job I would actually begin to lose my memory of them that same day, and have to work through a mental haze to clearly recall the details when I would think about them later in the same evening. When it came around to accepting the complex-PTSD diagnosis, having seen this memory loss *in action* in myself was one of the things that made me a believer: I knew it was happening at the time, but not why, and it seemed like the least of my problems at the time so I didn't pursue it. The PTSD diagnosis made sense of it, and alerted me to what I had forgotten I had forgotten.

So to tell you the truth, I have no idea whether I am dissociative in terms of the more extreme manifestations of it. I honestly don't believe I am, there are no indications of "others" or alters or whatever, to the best of my knowledge. But I do recall after one major session of EMDR where a specific memory network was unleashed and processed, I had the distinct feeling of having lived my life on the edge of a cliff in the fog: no, I don't have multiple personalities, but in the ways that I have hidden myself from myself, I missed it by only a hair. When I finally saw the depth of my dissociative coping skills, I was -- and still am -- pretty shocked. So if someone were to tell me tomorrow that I am dissociative, it would not be a surprise.

That said, I appreciate the clue on the interweaving technique you outlined. I think I understand what you're getting at; I have never *asked* (as I would another person) but I can certainly give it a shot. It's not very different, as you described it, from what takes place in EMDR anyway -- the openness to, and welcoming of, associated pictures, feelings, thoughts, memories -- so I am assuming it's a more direct invitation of the same. Since I obviously dissociate, it's definitely worth a try regardless of the specific diagnosis. Is that technique also covered in the Forgash and Copeley book you mentioned? If it is, and others like it, I could find a way to ensure my therapist knows about it. She did, after all, challenge me to find my own tools; this would be another one I just happened across in my journeys.

You know, in a way I am very grateful to this woman for "dropping the ball". It really IS up to me to find my way out of this, and her actions have lit a fire under me to do so. If part of that is having to "manage the manager" while I pursue my healing, being direct with her and asking for what I need -- *regardless* of whether I should have to, or whether she should already know and be doing these things in her professional capacity -- then that's simply what I have to do. This has already forced me to look into other things I'm missing (especially somatic memory work, which I think will end up being really beneficial to me) so I can only thank her... especially if she steps up to the plate after today's chat. That would be bonus.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you again for your thoughtful response; any and all information is much appreciated.

Last edited by MercyMe; May 30th, 2008 at 06:27 PM. Reason: removed personally identifying information
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  #6  
Unread May 7th, 2008, 11:12 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Well, I must thank you for a post that many many others will benefit from. I'm interested that you recognize that PTSD itself is a dissociative disorder -- hardly anyone realizes that. It isn't listed as such in the DSM -- it's called an anxiety disorder. Some of us think it should be moved over to the dissociative disorders, and construe it as being on the continuum of dissociation.

I'm not suggesting you try your own parts work. If you aren't dissociative it wouldn't hurt, but if you are, well it probably wouldn't work anyway. But it's best done by a professional, rather like a root canal. I do hope you leave THAT to the professionals! (an attempt at humor, that).

I think you are demonstrating considerable skill with the therapist, but really, it isn't the client's job to supervise the therapist's use of a specialized procedure. The eight steps are what comprises EMDR. if the 8 steps aren't there it isn't EMDR. Bilateral stim alone does not EMDR make.

It is a complicated procedure, so lots of therapists need to brush up, read up and get more training and consultation. There are consultation groups in most large cities.

Thanks for your informative post. I'm going to go back and make sure it isn't too triggering. If I end up deleting a few words in order to not trigger others, my apologies. Lots of people with complex trauma histories read these pages, so I'm cautious.

I hope to leave it as is, because it is very informative as written.
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  #7  
Unread May 8th, 2008, 12:56 AM
MercyMe MercyMe is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Sandra, please feel free to edit my post as you see fit; I would not want to trigger anyone! What details I added were basically to illustrate the process of how I came to get (and believe) the diagnosis I have, so if they are removed it won't bother me a bit. Thank you for your sensitivity.

I'm not sure what you mean by "parts work" but if you're talking about me acting as my own therapist I'll be the first to admit I have a fool for a doctor. I'm kind of thrust into this situation with the therapist I have, so I have to make the best of it that I can, at least to the point where I can work again. Actually, just being able to read and even write this post is a VAST improvement over where I was before.

But my main goal is simply this: I have ONE shot at this, at getting better, at having a productive and enjoyable life. At some point I had to decide to live; having decided that, I can't now do it half-heartedly. I have to find every way I possibly can to look at what happened to me (and how I responded to it) as a gift, to extract all possible meaning from it, to view it as a beneficial, creative force and opportunity for rebirth instead of a soul-destroying end, because instinctively I know that this view is the way out of the black hole. I'm not saying to deny any possible negativity in a kneejerk way, or to minimize events; that simply perpetuates the same disease, isolation and lies I've already lived with.

But if I can stretch my intellect *just enough* to accept the duality of good from evil, even great, inexplicable evil, and grasp that there is good to be gotten from this, even this most horrible black hole, then I have already gotten better, I have already defeated that one moment's helplessness and despair, and I am well-poised to meet the next minute, climb the next rung, weather the next difficulty. I have to. I can't not.

Needless to say, meds help a great deal!

But in the face of that determination, and all that has already happened to destroy my life, this one therapist's inadequacies are just another drop in the rain. Since it's literally her or no EMDR at all, if I can make it work I have to try. Sure, maybe I shouldn't have to... but for me, I have to give it a shot. Why? Again, because somewhere along the way I decided to live. And somehow, some way, that translates into an all-or-nothing effort in the quest for healing and health, most likely because I can't live the way that I have been living. PTSD is quite literally unbearable in many ways. Above and beyond that particular hell, I actually love to work, I loved what I did, I was damn good at it, poverty and mental illness suck, and I would really just like to not feel useless. So my motivators for change are pretty strong.

What this means in practical terms... I have to be honest and tell you that if someone made sitting in a corner counting my toes sound like a credible treatment modality for PTSD that I could try and not craze myself further, yep, you got it: I'd be sitting in a corner counting my toes... at least for as long as it took me to figure out that it was a complete waste of time. At any rate I'd have gained the small wisdom that counting my toes is unproductive, if nothing else. That's kind of the way I look at the various treatments, exercises, ideas that I come across -- including trying EMDR on my own.

But in actuality, I have looked at all kinds of PTSD related "information" out there, and most of it just doesn't resonate with me at all. There's a good amount of "information" out there that doesn't even deserve the name. So I don't waste time on anything that is too complex, too cerebral, or just plain old doesn't resonate with me at a fairly deep level. In fact, I avoided that kind of self-help entirely when I was at my most wounded: I knew instinctively that even the best tool would be self-destructive if I tried to apply it in that state, so I didn't. I literally could not afford any mistakes. And I was right.

Maybe that's why I'm not worried. Maybe I should be! But by the grace of God, I do seem to have the gut instinct for sensing what will work for me, what will not, and the ability to understand most of what I read. These have served me well, so I'm not overly concerned with retraumatizing myself: when something feels wrong, I back up quickly and stop it, and do what I have to do to get back to a place of reality. I have finally accepted that pain is my friend: it tells me what is wrong. Every so often I get to a place in myself that is just black, and it hurts in the *wrong* way: that's when I know I have to back up and let it go, NOW, no questions. So far, so good. The whole "safe place" thing in EMDR is something I've been practicing for years and never knew it. So, while I am by NO means cavalier about the potential that self-help has for retraumatizing the self, in my own growth I have found what have proven to be, for me, reliable ways of avoiding it. (Knock on wood.)

I should add that, regarding my PTSD and this therapist, EMDR has been the tool that has really done the most *by far* in terms allowing those broken memories to be reintegrated, and that's why I was getting so frustrated with her: whatever I can do on my own (whether she's in the room or not) is intrinsically limited from the start by having to devote precious mental resources to being my own guide, *at the very least*. But it was either sit back, let her slack, and accept that nothing much more was going to happen, or do whatever I possibly can to get the very most out of this, including whatever I can do on my own as an adjunct to the official therapy. The choice, at least for me, was clear fairly quickly.

It's also why I took the risk of potentially alienating this therapist, who is directly associated with the program through which I receive these benefits, by letting her know that her procedure was lacking. Had she responded badly, she could drop me as a patient, even tell the folks at the program that I wasn't cooperating or am not a good candidate for the program, and thus lose me my benefits. But I couldn't not. The cost of doing nothing is just too dear.

Again, I'm not sure I'd recommend my ways to anyone else -- I've been unwillingly thrust upon my own limited resources, and anyone who can afford better really should invest -- but I honestly *cannot* sit still and remain a victim for the rest of my life, or even the rest of this day if I can help it. As long as I am thinking, hoping, trying, reaching, weighing, experimenting, remembering, feeling, examining, moving, LIVING -- no matter in what limited capacity I may have at this moment -- then I really am winning, in every possible respect. I am doing everything humanly possible to ensure that I get better. Maybe that's what I need to be at peace with my conscience, I don't know, but there it is.

I honestly don't know if that makes any sense, but there you have it. I appreciate your willingness to comment on what has to be, from a therapist's point of view, a situation definitely to be discouraged and even avoided if at all possible, so I've tried to explain it as best I can. In all honesty, I can't apologize for it, but at least I can try to explain. I hope it helps. And please do feel free to remove anything that might be triggering to anyone else! Thanks again for listening.

Last edited by MercyMe; May 30th, 2008 at 06:30 PM. Reason: removed personally identifying information
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Unread May 8th, 2008, 07:55 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Two points:

1) I realized I hadn't said clearly that when people ARE very dissociative, not "just" PTSD, it isn't possible or safe to use the standard EMDR protocol. The standard protocol is designed to "light up the net" (neural network) including its various components including cognition, affect, body sensation. For the very dissociative it is necessary to titrate the intensity down so that the persons capacity is greater than the volume to be processed. Like a wood chipper, meat grinder, or garbage disposal, one has to process a fraction at a time or it gets stuck. So we fractionate the work by lighting up a PIECE at a time in EMDR, which sometimes means just cognition, or just an image, or just the emotion, or just the body sensation, imaginally containing the others until later.

2) About retraumatizing ... I believe there may be a certain risk of retraumatizing self, but often defenses do pop up and put the kabosh (sp?) on most of that. No, the real matter is this. When people are traumatized by perps of any kind, there are at least two injuries 1) the content of the emotional/or physical/or sexual abuse itself, and 2) the fact that one's humanity wasn't seen, one is treated as an object instead of a person, that the perp's view was important and the traumatized person was not. In the cure, that second phenomenon is addressed directly by the presence of an honoring witness in a trusting relationship. This is true even in EMDR, which seems rather "techniquey" to some. It is hard to get that honoring witness while alone in one's garage.

So--- though we don't do therapy here, and we don't even advise on individual cases here, and rather speak in general terms -- it strikes me that those who post here do get an honoring witness, or maybe hundreds or more. Silent but present still to the essential human struggle of moving from darkness to the light. And so as always in the cure, I say to all to post here, "this time you are not alone."

Last edited by Sandra Paulsen; May 8th, 2008 at 08:02 AM. Reason: omitted a point
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Unread May 26th, 2008, 03:54 AM
MercyMe MercyMe is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Since I last posted a lot has happened, and I wanted to give you an update. I think I mentioned before how I had been having problems with my EMDR treatment, and since then, even though I discussed with my therapist my desire to incorporate all phases of the EMDR processing in our sessions, she's pretty much gone back to doing the eye movements alone without a whole lot of targeting or closing down afterward. I sort of expected this, but it's actually okay because of two things.

First, I have been doing a lot of studying myself and basically memorized the whole targeting phase. So now, when I am asked to "focus", I know to ask myself, "What am I remembering? What images? What emotions? Where do I feel it in my body?" and measure my own SUDS. If I can actually target a negative cognition I do so, but if I can't, I find they come up during the EMDR anyway if I have fully targeted everything beforehand, as does a positive cognition to counter it. These just generally just come to me if I've done the rest of the targeting very completely, so I don't worry with them too much. To me, they are simply the inner lie that the trauma introduced, and the inner truth that was always there, but buried beneath it. As I process, it seems that if either comes out, the NC or the PC, its counterpart will as well. But when I am in her office, I make sure I run through the list and gather it all together anyway. Sometimes she remembers to ask, mostly she does not, but now because I have my own skills to bring to the process it has become a non-issue. Ditto on the body scan and closure phases as well.

Secondly, I bought a BLS CD for use at home. Now, instead of using eye movements, I put a headset on my PC, close my eyes, and use the sound for the desensitization phase. Since when I do this I am on my own, I write out all of my targets (images/emotions/body location and NC/PC) before hand and keep this in front of me; it not only starts me off well targeted, but if I feel myself moving away from the core issue all I have to do is open my eyes and glance at it. To take frequent assessment breaks and to go with the next thing has become almost second nature. Also, because I can do this whenever I like, if I see or feel something triggering all I have to do is write it down: the next time I decide to do some processing, I just pick something off my list that feels right. And if I don't feel like doing any, or I'm feeling "all processed out" then there's no stress -- I just don't even think about it. If I listen to my body and my soul, I find that I know exactly when and when not to approach it, and that's part of what has allowed me to go into deeper places safely, I think.

It's funny, but I spend a good part of every "home" session reinforcing those truths that come out in the remembering, installing the PCs and just letting the reality flood over me, that it wasn't me, it's not my fault, it's not my moral burden to bear that these things occurred. Much more than I would have thought I would. But since there is absolutely no time limit, I am able to do this until it absolutely feels *done*, which is another huge blessing.

I cannot tell you how good my results have been with this. I have gotten to deeper places and with deeper healing than I ever did with the therapist. I don't know if it's because I felt like I had to explain things to her, or get myself out of my own "stuckness" or whatever, but this has been almost like night and day. In fact, when I saw her last week she commented on how much better I seemed, that I hadn't been spending the whole session exhibiting my usual nervous behaviors. I told her that I had been remembering things and doing some focusing work but I did not let on that I was doing self-administered EMDR at home because I really wanted to see how well, and for how long, it was going to work out for me before I let on. I'll tell her in time, but maybe later on when I feel less conflicted about going it alone. She is also not the only one who has noticed a general improvement, a lightening up, in my general demeanor, so I'm getting good feedback from others too, and this is all I'm doing differently.

So the upshot is that, even though I am still seeing this therapist regularly (I have no choice, as I explained above) doing this work at home has improved things immeasurably both in my ongoing recovery, and in my ability to get the most out of the treatment I am offered in therapy sessions. The relief I am getting in my private sessions seems just as long lasting as do the ones I have received in therapy, and are equally -- if not more so -- cathartic.

One thing I have to thank her for, though: she was indeed an honoring witness to me such as you spoke of in your last post. Now, I am my own most honoring witness... but I didn't start out that way. As you say, there's no substitute for that: it takes another human to make such a wounded person feel human, especially when those wounds were inflicted by humans.

Anyhow, I thought I'd let you know how it all has been turning out for me. I completely understand why the therapeutic community at large doesn't necessarily want their EMDR patients going off the reservation, so to speak, but for me, doing so has made ALL the difference in the world. So if someone who's been through EMDR and is basically stable, who knows how to listen to the wisdom of the body and the self, and is comfortable trying their own EMDR... maybe it will be just as amazing for them as it has been for me.

Thank you so much for listening!

Last edited by MercyMe; May 30th, 2008 at 06:33 PM. Reason: removed personally identifying information
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Unread May 26th, 2008, 12:19 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Home EMDR

Thanks for a very striking story. And, you may have predicted this, as usual I have a couple of cautionary remarks to make.

1) The description here is not what is generally possible. Most EMDR clients are not nearly so self-reflective and full of insight, at least at the beginning of their work and sometimes throughout. So this kind of effort would normally not even be possible. Lots of people don't have the inner resources to do self work like this, or the follow though to keep working the target on their own.

2) continuous bilateral stimulation may be beneficial, but to be clear, it isn't EMDR. And that distinction is important because all the research has been done on the standard protocol, not on continuous bilateral stim.

3) the methodology you describe is lovely, stunning, and scientific,

4) I'm struck by the fact that tho the process described is a self-administered one, there is also an external witness, which is highly valuable, as we've both said,

5) becoming ones own compassionate witness is what it is all about, ultimately. A word from polyvagal theory of Porges: trauma survivors tend to live in dorsal vagal shutdown (freeze), dotted by occasional eruptions of sympathetic arousal (fight or flight). The goal is to end up being able to live in ventral vagal (connectedness, safety). Yes, it happens in the therapeutic relationship but also within the self, between self as survivor and self as compassionate witness. It also happens in connection to spirit, God, and other people, nature....but I digress.

6) I am grieved that some EMDR practitioners don't even bother with the standard protocol, which is robust and should be used unless the person is either too young to answer the questions or too dissociative to justify lighting up the whole neuro net, which would be flooding. For those individuals, we have to down-shift the amount processed by doing just a fraction, instead of lighting up all the channels with the standard protocol. Whenever the standard protocol CAN work, we should use it.

I've avoided commenting on your case here, and have as usual spoken in general terms, but I'll say this, I sure hope when you wrap up your therapy, that you fill in the therapist and direct her to this forum and your entries. And I hope that others whose therapists don't bother with the target work up without very good reason ask their therapists why, or show them this.

EMDR practitioners have their eyes opened in a wide range of ways.

Last edited by Sandra Paulsen; May 30th, 2008 at 11:02 AM. Reason: typo
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