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Author Topic: TREATMENT: EMDR Therapy  (Read 6607 times)
tedles
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« on: October 08, 2005, 01:39:43 PM »

I found some other links on new-agey looking sites, that looked kind of flaky to me.  Nevertheless, EMDR does work, and has scientific research to back it up.  Therapists do not have to be certified to practice it, but they definitely should be trained.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects.  These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies.

EMDR is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health.

During treatment various procedures and protocols are used to address the entire clinical picture. One of the procedural elements is "dual stimulation" using either bilateral eye movements, tones or taps. During the reprocessing phases the client attends momentarily to past memories, present triggers, or anticipated future experiences while simultaneously focusing on a set of external stimulus. During that time, clients generally experience the emergence of insight, changes in memories, or new associations. The clinician assists the client to focus on appropriate material before initiation of each subsequent set.
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2006, 01:20:54 PM »

Just wanted to drop in and offer I know about EMDR and have done some.  I give it the thumbs up, if your T is trained, and I assume s(he) is. 

EMDR is used a lot for folks that have experienced trauma - there is what's known as big trauma (T) and little trauma (t) - EMDR has research behind it showing effectiveness for both.  Big T is stuff like torture, war trauma, people that witnessed 911, etc.  Little t is like chronic emotional abuse, abuse where life was not threatened, but the threat was perceived.

EMDR as well as sensorimotor psychotherapy are methods used to deal with symptoms that go somatic -meaning instead of your d being able to say, I feel hurt, abandoned, angry, afraid, she's saying I think I want to throw up.  For some people, somatic symptoms can be distress or pains all over their bodies. 


Molls.
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2006, 03:54:21 PM »

My sister has tried EMDR for PTSD related to the trauma from our abusive childhood and she had good things to say about it.  she tried it as an adult, by the way, not when we were kids.  She had to wait decades to deal with this crap.  Your d will have a head start on healing, because you're helping her deal now, before any trauma calcifies and warps her personality. 

if you feel this therapist knows her stuff, it is probably worth a try.  If your daughter says she's not sure about sexual abuse, there is more to the story.  It's possible he didn't touch her, but she could have been traumatized by a sexualized conversation, someone she came into contact with at her father's house etc. 

You are handling this so well by taking her to a reputable therapist, supporting her, not forcing her to see her father etc.  Thank god she has you.  You'll both get thru this.  Strength to you. 
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stridergrey

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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2006, 09:34:36 PM »

Anyways, T says to both us, that a child does not have a reaction like this without a reason   (as you said,  Rose in my posting about my daughter detaching!).    T says she thinks D is repressing something?  Want to do a certain therapy on her that helps re-process tramatic events in her life !

Its called EMDR or also known as "Reprocessing Therapy".      The EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Its a bar of lights and the lights blink back and forth left to right.   Its suppose to reprocess and heal the mind or somethign.

I have some material and websites to read up on...jsut wondering if anyone has any knowledge, experience or input about any of this?

I have a book on EMDR which I have been reading.  A psychotherapist discovered inadvertently that a type of rapid eye movement is made during traumatic events or recalling traumatic events. When we dream in deep sleep we have REM (rapid eye movement). Theory has it that our brains our processing events from our day, the bad, the good, etc...  Theory also has it that PTSD and other mental illnesses, or phobias can be caused from our brains not healthfully processing traumatic events and they are "stuck" in an area of our brain where it shouldn't be - and because of that, suffering occurs...like when the body is not able to heal itself properly from an injury, long term pain & suffering can occur. Our brains are no different; they have the natural healing ability to process emotional trauma & pain, but somehow, some reason it doesn't get processed the way it should. EMDR therapy is supposed to help the brain process this painful information. From what a counselour friend of mine says, as well as other mental health professionals, EMDR succeeds where other forms of therapy has failed. There is much excitement about this therapy in the mental health field. They don't know why it works, but it does.
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LavenderMoon
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2006, 04:38:21 PM »

a child does not have a reaction like this without a reason !

Its called EMDR or also known as "Reprocessing Therapy". 

i have done "eye movement repatterning", not with lights.  you circle your eyes in different directions, 3 times with each sentence, some of them very long.  first the "i no longer feel" etc. statements, followed by "i feel", etc, statements.  this process is repeated 3 times a day.

i have never heard of it for retreiving trauma.  from what i know about it, i would not trust it in retreiving trauma.  i do not trust any kind of manipulation for repressed trauma.

she is not reacting this way, with out a reason, i am in full agreement with that.

sounds to me like she knows & is not sure how to say it.  give her time & safety, without the drama.  she may not be sure about something because it just is not feeling "right" to her.  she is ten, needs to process & formulate how she chooses to say it.

the subject was brought up, will be addressed again, she is thinking about it.  appears to be a sizable jump to repressed memories, give her a chance to talk.
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Mollyd
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2006, 10:52:54 PM »

I have done EMDR and am pretty familiar with it.  Just as a point of clarification - it is not retrieval, but reprocessing that is done.  The idea is that existing trauma that is remembered creates a trauma response today - even if the trauma occurred in the past.

EMDR attempts to help clients become desensitized to the trauma trigger(s), and reprocess the trauma - to move through it as opposed to stay stuck in it.  It was developed by Dr. Francine (I think that's her first name) Shapiro - therapists use cognitive restructuring of the trauma event as well. 

Nothing about trying to retieve lost or forgotten events is part of the normal course of therapy - per literature about EMDR, as I understand it.  FWIW.

Molls.
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AlwaysTrying

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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2006, 03:33:15 PM »

Hi folks -

My BPD (I think) wife just got formally diagnosed in counseling...not with BPD, which to me she fit all the symptoms of...but with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Now the counselor wants to treat her with EMDR...does anyone know if this will help BPD as well? 

It's been a long road here...lots of ups and downs...and I've been so burnt out by it all, couldn't even post.  Maybe at some point I can catch up...but I'd appreciate anyone else's experiences in this area...along with possible mis-diagnosis by counselors as well of BPD?

Thanks much,

AT
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ImOk
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2006, 04:12:22 PM »

AT,

   I couldn't tell you if EMDR will work for someone with BPD or not but I am currently doing a series of EMDR sessions with a therapist and I have been amazed and pleased with the results I've experienced. I was a little skeptical when I started seeing this therapsit two months ago but I figured it couldn't make anything worse so why not give it a try. I had PTSD symptoms and was referred to this EMDR practitioner by the therapist I had been seeing. Certainly there is no one-size-fits-all therapy that will work for everyone but my experience has been very positive with noticable results after each session.
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2006, 01:43:02 AM »

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprogramming-google it for great info) CAN be helpful for SOME PTSD patients. Not all. It can be WAY TOO TRAUMATIC for some with multiple, serious, and early age traumas.

We can't say if it will help her, but from what you've written, I'd say get a second opinion.

If she's willing.

Never heard of BPD being helped by EMDR. Nope.  DBT is the best option, from what I've read.
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willowtree007
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2006, 12:55:57 PM »

Perhaps the counsellor is not that far off. I've read that possibly 80% of BPD cases stem from PTSD - an event of trauma or abandonment so intense that the child has to split off that reality and memory in order to emotionally survive. Hence comes the "splitting" and "disassociative" emotions in the adult BPD. (Don't I sound like the armchair Freud?)

I'm quite sure that my BPDex is a victim of PTSD. I think that the suggestion of PTSD is more palliative to a patient than BPD and would allow for more compliance in therapy.

If your counsellor is familiar with BPD, you might ask whether they are familiar with DBT, ":)ialectical Behaviour Therapy", developed by Marsha Linehan. It is a "talk" therapy that is proving to have some success with BPD.
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Bas Tzion
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2007, 06:18:46 PM »

I've had tremendous success using EMDR. MY T is a EMDR facilitator and that was how I tracked her down...I was looking for an expert in EMDR. It's a great way to target traumatic events...although I can tell you that with us nons it isn't so simple because we have experienced multiple, layer upon layer of trauma...being raised by a borderline parent. Many times I came into the therapy session completely anxious...and walked out calm having worked through the pain through EMDR. I highly recommend this method. It is a calming way to approach "triggering" subjects...and the best part about it is that it brings up associations related to the trauma...and that can be worked through as well.

Best of luck!

                                                                                                  'Yippeee
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2007, 06:23:18 PM »

I have done it once, and it was very helpful in dealing with issues with my uBPD mother, who was high functioning.  Part of me learning what to change in myself dealing with my BPDh is to uncover those deeply embedded messages from growing up.  My T described it as a therapy shortcut - you learn to be accepting of yourself, and rewire your brain so that you can look back on traumatic events without still living them, and without them hurting you.  You get further much sooner than with traditional therapy.  I plan to do it again, I was so pleased with the results.
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2007, 06:27:14 PM »

EMDR is touted as a breakthrough treatment for trauma/PTSD.  EMDR integrates elements of many several psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies. During EMDR the patient attends to past and present experiences in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus. Then the client is instructed to let new material become the focus of the next set of dual attention. This sequence of dual attention and personal association is repeated many times in the session.  

A description of the method is located below.  

EMDR also has some detractors within the psychological community who argue it is nothing more than classic cognitive/behavioral techniques slickly repackaged and sold as a quick fix.  Evaluating EMDR - Shawn P. Cahill, Ph.D.

Interesting discussion!

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EMDR is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach.  

First Phase The first phase is a history taking session during which the therapist develops a treatment plan. Patient and therapist identify possible targets for EMDR processing. These include recent distressing events, current situations that elicit emotional disturbance, related historical incidents, and the development of specific skills and behaviors that will be needed by the client in future situations.

Second Phase During the second phase of treatment, the therapist ensures that the patient has adequate methods of handling emotional distress and good coping skills, and that the client is in a relatively stable state. If further stabilization is required, or if additional skills are needed, therapy focuses on providing these.

Phase 3-6 In phase three through six, a target is identified and processed using EMDR procedures. These involve the patient identifying the most vivid visual image related to the memory (if available), a negative belief about self, related emotions and body sensations. The patient also identifies a preferred positive belief. The validity of the positive belief is rated, as is the intensity of the negative emotions.

The patient is then instructed to focus on the image, negative thought, and body sensations while simultaneously moving his/her eyes back and forth following the therapist's fingers as they move across his/her field of vision for 20-30 seconds or more (Athough eye movements are the most commonly used external stimulus, therapists often use auditory tones, tapping, or other types of tactile stimulation). The patient is instructed to just notice whatever happens. After this, the clinician instructs the client to let his/her mind go blank and to notice whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, or sensation comes to mind.

Depending upon the client's report the clinician will facilitate the next focus of attention. In most cases a patient-directed association process is encouraged. This is repeated numerous times throughout the session. I

If there are negative sensations, these are processed as above. If there are positive sensations, they are further enhanced.

Seventh Phase In phase seven, closure, the therapist asks the patient to keep a journal during the week to document any related material that may arise and reminds the client of the self-calming activities that were mastered in phase two.

Eighth Phase The next session begins with phase eight, re-evaluation of the previous work, and of progress since the previous session.

Result After EMDR processing, clients generally report that the emotional distress related to the memory has been eliminated, or greatly decreased, and that they have gained important cognitive insights. Importantly, these emotional and cognitive changes usually result in spontaneous behavioral and personal change, which are further enhanced with standard EMDR procedures.

www.emdr.com/briefdes.htm

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Silas Pseudonym
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2007, 07:34:08 PM »

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

Yes I have had several treatments.  My T said she can often help a rape victim in just on or two sessions.  I had to tap her jaw to get it off the floor when she did an intake history on me.  She said I would need at least 8!  Before the decades of abuse at the hands of the BPD/NPD estranged I was exposed to some extreme traumas.  I think I might have gotten away from him sooner had I not been set up to suffer PTSD.  For some reason I expected a soft landing in my marriage...but y'all know what we really get!

The treatment  (they think) gets the two sides of the brain to work together again.  Trauma some how creates a disconnect of sorts.  There are several ways to do this.  Rhythmic tapping on the sides of the legs, following a motion back & forth with the eyes.  It is the only therapy proven to be a long term help for PTSD.  It is something like hypnosis, but you are awake.  You will remember events, but it does take the "charge" from it.

It was used to help the Twin Towers victims, & the Tsunami victims.  People can be quickly trained to administer this therapy.  Here it is through therapists, but that is not necessary.

Silas
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2007, 11:09:42 AM »

I have had EMDR many times over several years.  I have found it extremely helpful in letting go of the emotions attached to events that happened to me.  I no longer have the primative flight or fight reflex to conflict. 

It's a life-saver, really.  I highly recommend it.
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2007, 12:53:51 AM »

I did therapy for about 5 years, almost weekly, to address the issues from my BPD/NPD momster, and physical and emotional abuse starting when I was a baby.

A lot of the physical abuse took place before I was verbal, so my memories are very feeling and sensory based and fuzzy.

The talk therapy was vital, but what really helped to clear most of the trauma up for me, on deep levels, was EMDR. There were issues that I could "get to" and resolve with EMDR that no amount of talking could have touched.

My therapist was also trained in EMDR, so we would just do EMDR at various times while I was seeing her over those 5 years.

For me, it was extremely helpful.

My most dramatic session with EMDR happened after I had been NC for a year or two. This was a year or so past the 5 years of therapy I had done before. At that point, well into the NC, I could not stop thinking about momster. She was constantly in my mind. I felt anxious and stressed and anytime I wasn't busy, thoughts of her would come into my mind. I felt intense anger toward her and it would not go away.

So I decided to go back to my therapist and do some EMDR to see what would happen.

I don't know how we chose this, but we decided to do an EMDR session on a memory from when I was about 9 years old. I had uttered a bad word in front of momster, and she reached out and slapped me across the face. We used that memory as the starting point for the EMDR session.

When I left my therapist's office that day, the repetitive, anxiety-filled thoughts about momster just stopped. What happened, I realized, was that we had tapped into a big pocket of fear that I felt toward momster, and when that was resolved through EMDR, the anxiety and constant anger I felt toward momster finally went away. I could really see that it was intense fear that was driving the intense anger I felt toward her. When the fear melted away, so did a lot of the anger.

That was a few years ago, and I mark that day as the day that I was finally able to detach and let go from momster once and for all.

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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2007, 12:02:32 PM »

Mine used a machine that had red dots going back and forth, that you would follow with your eyes.  It really sounds hokey, and I went in there not really believing it would work.  But it did for me.

This treatment reaches down to such a personal and emotional point, that I cannot imagine doing it with a T who was inexperienced, or you didn't trust.
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2007, 08:40:59 PM »

I did EMDR a few years back and it was INCREDIBLE for me. It really allowed me to put to rest a lot of the anger I had against my parents. My first session was similar, with the focus on the safe place. The actualy EMDR sessions were intense. I liked that I could stop it at any time. I did stop it at one point because we started getting into possible sexual abuse. I have no memory of being abused, but I've wondered. Anyway, I felt really young and started feeling as though I were being touched. We stopped right away until I got comfortable to move forward. That safe place comes in very handy.

I wish you luck with your EMDR. If you're even half as successful as I was, you should be happy.
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2007, 05:08:28 PM »

I did EMDR a few years back and it was INCREDIBLE for me. It really allowed me to put to rest a lot of the anger I had against my parents. My first session was similar, with the focus on the safe place. The actualy EMDR sessions were intense. I liked that I could stop it at any time. I did stop it at one point because we started getting into possible sexual abuse. I have no memory of being abused, but I've wondered. Anyway, I felt really young and started feeling as though I were being touched. We stopped right away until I got comfortable to move forward. That safe place comes in very handy.

I wish you luck with your EMDR. If you're even half as successful as I was, you should be happy.

How did it work exactly?

My therapist said she is thinking of doing it with me.
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2007, 05:43:32 PM »

No one is sure how it "works". They think maybe it has something to do with the back and forth eye movements. That it's a way of connecting the two sides of the brain and allowing us to think about things in a different way. Make connections we may not have made before. My T likened EMDR to a computer's defrag function.

As to the particulars? For me, I sat in front of my T. We started with a memory of an early childhood trauma. For me, it was my dad's death. She held a figer up in front of my face and moved it from side to side. I had to follow the finger with only my eyes. She would stop moving her finger, bring it down, and I would close my eyes. I would then describe what I was feeling or thinking. I just went from one image to another. From one feeling to another. At the end of the hour and a half (which literally felt like 30 minutes!), I had a bigger picture view of my childhood. It was amazing to me how many different events where actually tied together. Seeing the connect between the events helped lessen their impact for me.

My second EMDR session was focused on my mom, who I suspect has BPD. It's funny. My first one was extremely emotional. My second session was very thought-oriented. At the end of it all, I came away with compassion for my parents. And a realization that I was holding on to anger and blame that wasn't going to lead me to anything but more problems for ME. My father's dead. I can't get anything from him anymore. My mom is in denial. I'll never get what I need from her. Once I accepted that and was realistic as to what I could actually expect from my parents, things became easier. And then I was able to move on and work on MY issues. The years and years of maladaptive behavior I'd learned from my mom. Still working on that...
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2007, 05:52:56 PM »

No one is sure how it "works". They think maybe it has something to do with the back and forth eye movements. That it's a way of connecting the two sides of the brain and allowing us to think about things in a different way. Make connections we may not have made before. My T likened EMDR to a computer's defrag function.

As to the particulars? For me, I sat in front of my T. We started with a memory of an early childhood trauma. For me, it was my dad's death. She held a figer up in front of my face and moved it from side to side. I had to follow the finger with only my eyes. She would stop moving her finger, bring it down, and I would close my eyes. I would then describe what I was feeling or thinking. I just went from one image to another. From one feeling to another. At the end of the hour and a half (which literally felt like 30 minutes!), I had a bigger picture view of my childhood. It was amazing to me how many different events where actually tied together. Seeing the connect between the events helped lessen their impact for me.

My second EMDR session was focused on my mom, who I suspect has BPD. It's funny. My first one was extremely emotional. My second session was very thought-oriented. At the end of it all, I came away with compassion for my parents. And a realization that I was holding on to anger and blame that wasn't going to lead me to anything but more problems for ME. My father's dead. I can't get anything from him anymore. My mom is in denial. I'll never get what I need from her. Once I accepted that and was realistic as to what I could actually expect from my parents, things became easier. And then I was able to move on and work on MY issues. The years and years of maladaptive behavior I'd learned from my mom. Still working on that...

How did it help you? Did it make the pain connected to the emotions lessen?

That is my problem.  There are things that hurt so badly I just get re traumatized when I try and talk about them.
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GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT

This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2007, 06:01:54 PM »

Gamegirl, It did help the pain lessen. A LOT. I think that's what allowed me to feel compassion toward my parents. I was able to see what they went through without my anger and pain overshadowing it. It doesn't excuse the things they did, but it helps me to understand they were so ill-equipped themselves to deal with life. How can YOU learn to deal with life if your parents couldn't teach you?

EMDR is not magic bullet that makes everything all better, but man, if it didn't help me get there a lot quicker than I might have otherwise.

Jaes, I get the tearing up part. I always felt so bad for myself. I never had a dad. My mom was so horrible to me my whole life, while at the same time giving me everything. So I felt guilty for even thinking she had done anything wrong.

Anyway, I get the powerful thing too. I never thought of it in that way, but I guess when I was able to accept that my parents were never going to give me what I needed, I got my power back. You might want to take a look at TOOLS: Radical Acceptance for family members It's a concept named radical acceptance. I think radical acceptance can be a good thing to strive for.
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2007, 06:09:03 PM »

"we are holders of the open space that includes whatever wants to come. We are not afraid of what comes"

That does sound like a good goal, accepting everything without prejudice. Isn't that one of the things enumerated on the eight-fold path in Buddhism? No, apparently not, I checked. It just reminded me of the first one, "right thought", but it's not quite the same.
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2007, 06:13:46 PM »

There is some Buddhist thought attached to the concept. John Kabat-Zinn (one of the people I quoted in the post I linked to) is a teacher of mindfulness.
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« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2007, 09:54:31 PM »

I started working with a new therapist today in order to do EMDR. The first session was just talking about my situation and what I wanted to accomplish. I asked her how EMDR works and she said nobody really knows, but that if you looked at a PET scan of someone's brain who was doing EMDR, it would be the same as that of someone in REM sleep. So to me it sounds like a conscious dream state, where you can access material stored in your unconscious mind like when you're dreaming, but you can control it (unlike when you're dreaming). She said she'd explain more before we started and that we would probably do one or two session of prep work (finding a "safe place," etc) before we start EMDR. She also said it's not a magic bullet or cure-all, but that it can be very effective.

I'd like to keep this thread going, so I'll post more after my next session.
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