Questions about EMDR from Trybar

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Registered: 03-19-2003
Questions about EMDR from Trybar
2
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 6:18am
I thought this might have gotten lost under the original title "Gail". Tammie is asking some interesting questions about EMDR and I know several people here have gone through it so your insights and opinions will be helpful.

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I had an evaluation a few years ago by an EMDR therapist, and she told me I wasn't ready for EMDR because I had such difficulty actually talking about what happened to me. She told me when I was better able to do that, then I could contact her again. I am considering doing that, but don't know if the time is right yet. How do you know? She really didn't give me specifics about when I would know. I understand all the particulars about how it is actually done, with the light, or tapping and such, but I still don't understand the feelings I guess. I hide my feelings alot, and block alot also. My understanding is that you can't block when under going EMDR. Is that true? Did you ever feel overwhelmed and out of control? I am afraid of that actually. I HATE being out of control. Were you able to stop when you wanted to? I don't mean did the T tell you that you could stop when you wanted to, but were you able to stop? I find that I push myself too far a lot of the time and then pay for it later in dreams and flashbacks. How were you after a session? Better, worse, or the same? How many sessions did you go through, and does it get easier with each one? How long were the sessions? Do you think it was worth it to undergo the EMDR, and if so, what did you accomplish with it that you couldn't accomplish with regular therapy? What made you choose EMDR? Did you have the same T for the EMDR and regular therapy? Do you recommend that everyone who has been through SA go through EMDR? Can you explain a typical session, like what to expect. How does the T know what to zero in on? Is that where I come in and tell what I think the focus should be, because I sometimes don't think I know.

Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Tammie

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Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 2:19pm
Let me see if I can answer most of your questions, Tammie. It's been awhile since I've done it so I'm not sure about some of my answers. Of course, your questions are best answered by the EMDR therapist. They're excellent questions and they will give this person a good understanding of what your concerns and readiness are.

1. My understanding is that you can't block when under going EMDR. Is that true?

Well, not everything is going to pop out at once. Your psyche still has a way of protecting you by limiting what comes up even under EMDR.

2. Did you ever feel overwhelmed and out of control? I am afraid of that actually. I HATE being out of control. Were you able to stop when you wanted to?

That's the main thing to watch out for, being overwhelmed. No one--not us and not our therapists--want us to be overwhelmed b/c that's just re-traumatizing. Nothing much is gained then. You can let her know when you're feeling too overwhelmed. They can and will stop anytime based upon your needs. You call the shots...you just have to do it.

3. I find that I push myself too far a lot of the time and then pay for it later in dreams and flashbacks. How were you after a session? Better, worse, or the same?

I can't remember how I felt after my EMDR sessions. I think I was rocked by some of the information. But some therapists, mine for instance, offer great ways of helping you contain the big feelings that come up after EMDR. Ask your EMDR therapist about this b/c residule flashbacks often come forth after you've cracked the surface. But please keep in mind, this is how we heal. Every flashback is more information about your past and it can't hurt you now.

4. How many sessions did you go through, and does it get easier with each one? How long were the sessions?

I went through it one or two times and then we didn't do it again for several months. And then it was only once or twice again. I got enough to work with without becoming overwhelmed so we didn't go through the 5 sessions or so that we discussed doing. We were able to do some within our normal 50 minute session but a couple times we went for a session and a half.

5. Do you think it was worth it to undergo the EMDR, and if so, what did you accomplish with it that you couldn't accomplish with regular therapy?

Rough question. First, let me ask why you are pursuing EMDR? For me, I did it b/c I was stuck and I knew there was something holding my back that I just wasn't able to access through traditional therapy. EMDR gave me the gentle nudge.

6. What made you choose EMDR?

I was open to anything that could get passed my defenses.

7. Did you have the same T for the EMDR and regular therapy?

Yes, I did but I know that's not always the case.

8. Do you recommend that everyone who has been through SA go through EMDR?

Oh, I wouldn't go that far. Some people just aren't ready and some people don't need it.

9. Can you explain a typical session, like what to expect.

My T took quite a bit of time helping me set up a safe place in my mind before we ever dealt with EMDR. This made the experience more tolerable for me. It gave me a place to retreat afterwards if I was feeling uncertain. Then, once we began our EMDR sessions, we sort of isolated an issue, at my direction, and she started the light bar. Then we just saw what, if anything, came up. Sometimes nothing did. It wasn't wrong, it just meant I was blocking too much. We would explore what my fears were and work with that. As with anything with therapy, everything has value. But then at the end, my T spent some time, about 10 minutes or so, closing things up so I was more contained when I left. This was a tremendous help. I also have two sessions a week so it was never more than a couple days until my next session. That also helped so I didn't have to go a week or more.

10. How does the T know what to zero in on? Is that where I come in and tell what I think the focus should be, because I sometimes don't think I know.

This is mostly directly by you but your T can offer you some guidance. It's a cooperative effort.

There you go, that's my two cents worth. Again though, please ask your therapist directly b/c that's going to be most important.


Avatar for greenjeanz
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Registered: 03-24-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 12:20am
More questions about EMDR from GreenJeanz . . .

Last year I spoke with a therapist trained in EMDR about what she might be able to do for me. Some of her answers puzzled me. For example, I told her that I had a family history of sexual abuse, I felt strongly that I had probably been abused by a family member, and I wanted to remember who had done what to me, if anything. According to this therapist, EMDR would not provide me with those memories, but it could be helpful in "processing" traumatic events. She also said that there is no way to tell whether the images and feelings that come up during an EMDR session are actual memories or not.

I guess I just don't understand how EMDR works, even though this therapist tried to explain it to me. After talking with her, I was more confused than ever. I mean, if I'm going to bring up images and feelings, I would want to know where they came from, and I would want them to be from my memory. And if they didn't come from my memory, what's the point of having them in my head at all? Why would I want to have flashbacks of something that, according to the therapist I talked to, may or may not have happened? I also don't understand how EMDR could help me "process" a traumatic event I can't even remember.

I know that others on the board have gotten a lot out of EMDR, so I hope you will pardon my skepticism. All I have to go on is what this therapist told me, what I've read on sites dedicated to EMDR, and what I've read here on the board about your experiences. I just don't know what to think. It all sounds very scary to me.

Take care,

GreenJeanz