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Author Topic: TREATMENT: EMDR Therapy  (Read 6438 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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Mollyd
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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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moesha
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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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SoldierOn
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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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Trinity

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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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« 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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« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2007, 11:25:01 PM »

I did a little research on this several months ago when it was mentioned at bpdfamily.  I can't find my bookmarks anywhere - may have been before I reformatted.  If I find them I'll post.

What I understood was that it has to do with where and/or how traumatic memories are stored.  They have found that they are stored differently than regular memories.  The eye movements somehow help bridge the gap and let you process the memories in a way that links them to adult functions of the brain so that the previous responses like fight or flight, flashbacks etc. are lessened.  When a child endures a traumatic experience, they can't process it so it gets stored for processing later. 

When I was being treated for PTSD in the early 90's a big part of treatment was reprocessing those memories, feeling all the feelings I wasn't able to feel at the time, reexperienncing them the way they occurred from a child's viewpoint, and then putting them into an adult context.  It's hard to explain in words, but I kind of had to relive some of them and "feel" them as a child, then see them as an outside observer and "feel" what an adult would feel seeing the event.  In order to do all that I had to be at a place in my life where I felt safe, and strong enough.  I went NC at the beginning of treatment and it took about 2 1/2 years.  I remember a T telling me the average for someone like me was to start dealing with it at about age 30 and it would take 3-5 years at least.  I was lucky because I started at 23.

EMDR interested me because it seems to be a way to greatly reduce one of the steps in healing.  The hardest part for me was reliving the memories - the flashbacks, all-consuming feelings of anger, rage, grief etc.  Going through that - facing it head-on was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.   Any technique that could help speed up that process is a big step forward for treatment of PTSD in my opinion.  I think they are using EMDR with war veterans too.

You might try googling some PTSD sites and then looking at info on treatment options, especially ones geared towards vets, for more info.  If I find some good links, I'll post. 

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« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2007, 11:18:43 PM »

I have - my T specializes in it.  I've been working with her for 7 months now.

I've had similar experiences; being overcome with emotion.  It kinda knocks the wind outta me; comes out of nowhere and is super intense.  Very similar to how I feel when a big arguement erupts between me and uBPD mom -- toungue-tied, helpless, reticent.  Visualizing things like the parts of my body the emotion effects, and "safe" places to go to in my mind to help comfort the physical effects have helped me put closure on the episodes as they surface.

I'm not so good about using it on my own when anxiety sets in though; she showed me a tapping/visualization technique to use.  I never remember it in time, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post).

How long have you been working with EMDR? 

-Stina
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« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2007, 01:45:55 AM »

My first session of EMDR is Monday.  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Some tidbits that might need some more explaining: 

most of the issues I'm dealing with are centered around my uBPD mom;

the idea of EMDR, as I understand it, is not to prevent emotion but to allow it to process effectively, which I have not been doing.  When these surges come over me, first the painful thought comes up, then the emotion, then rather than allowing that emotion to get out and feel a little better about things, my brain stops at the emotion.  Thus no progress in processing. 

The session itself starts by bringing up very painful matter and then reprocessing it.  The goal is to lessen the negative feelings associated with it.

Stina, I hope that this will be something I can remember and use when the actual events come up.  I'm glad to hear that they teach you how to do that, even if it's not always easy to do.

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« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2007, 05:27:32 AM »

My stbexw with undiagnosed probably BPD (APD looks like a good match, too) is doing EMDR therapy.  From what I read about it, it is mostly used for PTSD.  She was diagnosed with that in 2005.  Apparently about 50% of people diagnosed with PTSD also have BPD according to a study done quite some time ago.  Not sure if there are any newer studies on this.

I did find one website that had some disturbing claims about EMDR including that it can injure some people. All the mental health care people with whom I have personally spoken about EMDR (two psychiatrists and an MFT) think that EMDR isn't really anything more than another kind of relaxation therapy and the claims about it may be overblown.

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« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2007, 10:21:08 PM »

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMDR

Interesting...
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« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2007, 06:11:43 AM »

I don't know if this is the appropriate forum for this, but I just can't stop from going on about it!  I would assume it's common among those of us who have stayed in abusive relationships that we weren't brought up with a healthy image of ourselves and subconsciously believe that we deserve the abuse, or more simply, that it's just how life is.  I don't think I ever really believed I deserved it per se, but more likely I took it in stride...knew I didn't deserve it, but due to the emotional abandonment that went with the emotional abuse of my childhood, I guess I was (am?) always holding on to who I had because it meant I wasn't alone.

After therapy for years off and on, I found what I've needed all along in EMDR.  After 3 sessions, I can't put a finger on it or list the things I've learned or precisely what it is that happened inside of me, but I know I just feel DIFFERENT.   Since I'm very short on time right now let me just explain that the first session I was told to focus on what I believed to be the most traumatic or abusive incident in my childhood.  I chose the night when I was 8 or 9 years old and it was the first time my mother "turned" on me during one of her frequent late night drunks.  I started off (in my memory) being a crying, hurt child not understanding at all what I had done to make my mother hate me so.  It was such a shift from her usual sweet loving self who was always on my side, loved me no matter what.  Then I switched to the most despicable, disappointing and embarrasing creature.

By the end of the session I was an adult standing across the room from her, looking at this crazy old drunk lady going on and on about something - raging and angry, but it had NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.  She wasn't talking to me or about me - she was mad as hell, but not at me.  The therapist asks at the beginning to rate your disturbance level on a scale from 0 to 10 when you think about that incident... it started as a 9 and miraculously reduced to 0... her abuse had nothing to do with me.  That session was a month ago and the results have been lasting... my memory of that is just a blip, and not disturbing to me whatsoever.

The next 2 sessions were a little more intense, I was moved to tears, to sobs at some points, and it took more than one session to get me "through" but after Tuesday I believe I'm "through"... wish I had more time, but I just wanted to get this out there.

I just feel different.  My feelings towards BPDbf are different, I don't feel that panic of loneliness or need to make him understand... I'm just different, and I know I keep saying that, but I'm just in awe... I wish I could explain it but I can't.  But the main thing is that it's working.


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« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2007, 02:49:42 PM »

This is a dicussion of the controversy.  bpdfamily neither encourages or discourages thee use of this therapy - this information is provided to help advance the discussion.

COUNTERPOINT: Evaluating EMDR in Treating PTSD
by Shawn P. Cahill, Ph.D.
July 2000, Vol. XVII, Issue 7
www.psychiatrictimes.com/p000741.html


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) (Shapiro, 1995, 1989), a relatively new form of psychotherapy, is controversial. I will focus on two aspects of this controversy. The first involves various claims that, compared to other forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that have received empirical support as treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR is 1) as efficacious, or more so; 2) more efficient, in that it requires fewer sessions; and 3) more acceptable to clients and therapists alike (Pitman et al., 1996; Shapiro, 1999, 1996). The second aspect involves claims that EMDR operates through different (or additional) mechanisms than other forms of CBT, especially exposure therapy (Shapiro, 1999, 1996; Van Etten and Taylor, 1998).

To evaluate the first set of claims, I will summarize the literature on the efficacy of CBT for PTSD and discuss studies in which EMDR has been compared with other forms of treatment. This answers the question, "To what extent have EMDR and CBT been compared in the treatment of PTSD?" Conclusions about the relative merits of any two treatments must be based on direct comparisons in the same randomized study.

To evaluate the second claim, I will summarize dismantling studies that have evaluated the effects of specific components of EMDR. Repeated imaginal exposure to trauma-related memories, an important component of EMDR, has been found to be an effective treatment for PTSD (Foa et al., 1999; Cooper and Clum, 1989; Marks et al., 1998). The principle of parsimony suggests we should assume EMDR affects treatment outcome through imaginal exposure until there is evidence for a contribution of the non-exposure elements of EMDR (e.g., eye movements) to treatment outcome.

Finally, a number of studies evaluating EMDR utilized samples in which participants were not required to meet full DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. Of the EMDR studies that compared outcomes of those with full- versus partial-PTSD, the only effect seems to be for diagnosis. Although both groups improved, participants with full-PTSD were more symptomatic than those with partial-PTSD, both before and after treatment (Wilson et al., 1997). There is no evidence for differential improvement as a function of diagnosis (Scheck et al., 1998; Wilson et al., 1997). Therefore, I have chosen to not risk losing potentially valuable information by arbitrarily limiting myself to studies that utilized full-PTSD samples. Instead, I will use the more general term posttraumatic stress reactions (PTSR) when referring to studies that included both full- and partial-PTSD patients, while the term PTSD will be reserved for all studies in which participants met full criteria for PTSD.
Comparative Efficacy

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatments

There is growing evidence for the effectiveness of three types of (non-EMDR) CBT interventions in the treatment of PTSD. The best-researched is prolonged exposure (PE) (Boudewyns and Hyer, 1990; Foa et al., 1999; Foa et al., 1991).

In PE, clients repeatedly confront thoughts and reminders of the traumatic event until their anxiety decreases, along with their symptoms of PTSD. The treatment is similar to that for other anxiety disorders (Barlow, 1988): intensive, prolonged and repeated imaginal exposure and, in more comprehensive programs, in vivo exposure. For example, the PE protocol developed and evaluated by Foa and colleagues ( Foa et al., 1999; Foa and Rothbaum, 1998; Foa et al., 1991) comprises client education, instruction in controlled breathing and seven weekly sessions of imaginal exposure. Daily homework consists of imaginal exposure and gradual in vivo exposure to situations that cause anxiety or avoidance but are objectively safe.

An alternative approach, based on Meichenbaum's work (1977), is stress-inoculation training (SIT) (Foa et al., 1999; Foa et al., 1991). Clients learn a variety of anxiety management skills (e.g., breathing retraining, relaxation, thought stopping, cognitive restructuring and guided self-dialogue) through instruction, role-playing and covert modeling that they then apply in their daily life.

Finally, recent research suggests that variants of cognitive restructuring (Marks et al., 1998; Tarrier et al., 1999) may have promise in the treatment of PTSD. Cognitive restructuring for PTSD helps people identify trauma-related automatic thoughts, evaluate them for accuracy and replace them with more accurate beliefs. Contrary to expectations, combining elements of these different protocols, such as PE with either SIT (Foa et al., 1999) or cognitive restructuring (Marks et al., 1998), has not yielded better outcomes than individual treatments. If anything, adding SIT or cognitive restructuring to PE slightly reduced the short-term efficacy of PE.

Comparisons With Other Treatments

EMDR has been compared with several other treatments utilizing PTSD and PTSR samples, such as relaxation (e.g., Carlson et al., 1998; Vaughan et al., 1994), active listening (Scheck et al., 1998) and "treatment as usual" (Edmond et al., 1999; Marcus et al., 1997). None of these interventions, however, have been independently established to be effective in treating traumatized populations. No published studies have directly compared EMDR with SIT or cognitive restructuring, and only Devilly and Spence (1999) and Vaughan et al. (1994) have directly compared EMDR to a non-EMDR exposure protocol (Cahill et al., 1999). Further, both of these studies suffer from significant limitations and have yielded contradictory results.

Vaughan et al. (1994) compared EMDR with a treatment called image habituation training (IHT) (Vaughan and Tarrier, 1992). IHT is an imaginal exposure treatment in which clients create six brief tape-recorded descriptions of recurrent intrusive trauma-related images. Each description is followed on the tape by 30 seconds of silence, during which clients imagine the described event as vividly as possible. Clients are instructed to listen to their tape for 60 minutes each day, while recording cognitions and anxiety as homework.

Overall, EMDR and IHT produced comparable results. Shapiro (1996), however, suggested that EMDR was more efficient because IHT required one hour of homework per day in addition to the three to five therapy sessions provided in the study, whereas EMDR did not require homework. Unfortunately, Vaughan et al. (1994) did not report on homework compliance.

Scott and Stradling (1997) raised this concern. In their study, only one of the 14 participants provided with IHT training completed homework as prescribed. Four additional participants completed daily homework of significantly shorter duration, from three to 30 minutes. In the absence of evidence that IHT participants in the Vaughan et al. (1994) study did the prescribed homework, it would be premature to conclude that EMDR was more efficient than IHT because of the homework requirement.

A further limitation of the Vaughan et al. (1994) study is that IHT differs in many ways from the exposure protocols used in other studies of PTSD. Compared to Foa's exposure protocols (Foa et al., 1999; Foa et al., 1991; Marks et al., 1998), IHT utilizes repeated brief exposures to multiple images in rapid sequence, rather than prolonged exposure to a single complete memory followed by focused work on "hot spots." Nor does IHT incorporate in vivo exposure. In addition, there are no independent studies validating the efficacy of IHT for PTSD or comparing it with the more intensive exposure protocols. The only other published outcome study of IHT (Vaughan and Tarrier, 1992) utilized an uncontrolled pretest/posttest design. Scott and Stradling (1997) did not report outcome in their study. Therefore, although participants in the Vaughan and Tarrier (1992) study reported improvement in their symptoms of anxiety and PTSD, the lack of a no-treatment control group precludes attributing improvements to the specific procedures of the intervention.

Devilly and Spence (1999) compared EMDR with a cognitive-behavioral package called Trauma Treatment Protocol (TTP), consisting of prolonged imaginal and in vivo exposure, elements of SIT and additional cognitive therapy interventions. Both protocols called for an initial clinical assessment followed by up to eight treatment sessions. Participants in both groups displayed improvement over the course of treatment, but TTP yielded significantly better outcome than EMDR immediately after treatment and at the three-month follow-up assessment. These authors also devised a self-report mea-sure to assess distress levels and intrusiveness produced by the treatments and found them to be equivalent on these variables.

Although these results suggest that this comprehensive cognitive-behavioral intervention is superior to EMDR, they need to be interpreted with caution. The study's primary methodological weakness is that participants were not randomly assigned to conditions. Instead, the first 20 participants were treated in two groups of 10, with the first 10 referrals treated with one intervention and the second 10 treated with the other intervention, although it had been determined by chance that TTP would be administered first. Additional participants were randomly assigned to treatment conditions. The final participant who was supposed to be assigned to EMDR received TTP instead, because preliminary analyses already indicated better outcomes with TTP. The authors, therefore, felt ethically obliged to provide this participant with TTP.

Unfortunately, re-assigning participants on the basis of preliminary analyses assumes the very outcome the study was designed to evaluate, possibly biasing results in favor of the nominally superior treatment. A second limitation of this study is that the senior author, who synthesized the TTP intervention, served as the primary therapist in both treatment conditions. This raises the possibility of differential alliance to or familiarity with the two treatments as another alternative explanation for the findings.

In summary, neither the study by Vaughan et al. (1994) nor the one by Devilly and Spence (1999) provides an adequate basis for determining the relative efficacy, efficiency or acceptability of EMDR and CBT. Given the absence of any published, methodologically sound studies that directly compare EMDR and CBT, there is presently no adequate empirical basis for drawing conclusions about the relative merits of EMDR and CBT.
Mechanisms of EMDR

Dismantling studies identify important elements of a treatment package by comparing the full treatment with variations in which one or more components have been removed. These studies of EMDR focus mainly on eye movements or other laterally alternating stimuli. A recent narrative review (Cahill et al., 1999) identified six studies utilizing PTSR populations that compared EMDR with a no-eye-movement condition. Four of the six studies in Cahill et al.'s review (1999) found no differences between the two conditions. The two remaining studies found EMDR superior to the no-eye-movement condition on assessment measures taken during treatment sessions, but not on posttreatment outcome measures.

For example, both studies found EMDR produced greater reductions in subjective units of distress (SUD) ratings obtained during treatment sessions. Boudewyns et al. (1993) also rated more participants in the EMDR condition as treatment responders than in the no-eye-movement condition. Analysis of skin conductance levels during the first and last treatment sets in the Wilson et al. study (1996) showed within-set reduction for the EMDR group, in contrast to no within-set changes for the control group. However, no group differences were found on any outcome measure in the Boudewyns et al. (1993) study, not even posttreatment SUDs.

Neither group improved significantly, nor were they any different from a third standard care control group. Wilson et al. (1996) did not assess treatment outcome before administering EMDR to all but one of the control participants. Thus, while there is some evidence from studies with PTSD (Boudewyns et al., 1993) and PTSR (Wilson et al., 1996) samples that eye movements may have some effect on within-session measures of anxiety, there is no evidence that eye movements improve treatment outcome.

Some proponents of EMDR have questioned the validity of conclusions drawn from many of the group dismantling studies cited above. This has been for reasons related to inadequate treatment fidelity, such as too few sessions for the population. For example, Boudewyns et al. (1993) and Devilly et al. (1998) both treated veterans utilizing only two sessions. A discussion of treatment fidelity by proponents of EMDR can be found in Greenwald (1996), Lipke (1999) and Shapiro (1996). Rosen (1999) offers another alternative perspective. It should be noted, however, that simply identifying limitations of existing research does not justify assuming the results would necessarily have been different, had the researchers just "done it right."

Montgomery and Ayllon (1994) conducted a dismantling study utilizing a complex multiple-baseline design across three pairs of individuals diagnosed with PTSD. The study consisted of four phases in which an initial baseline phase (phase A) was followed by a treatment phase (phase B) that included all EMDR components except the eye movements. The third phase (phase BC) consisted of adding eye movements to the intervention, after which there was a follow-up period that was procedurally identical to the baseline phase. The dependent variables in this study were the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), obtained at the beginning and end of the study; weekly reports of the number of days with intrusive thoughts and disturbing dreams, averaged across each phase; mean heart-rate and systolic blood pressure obtained during each session, averaged across phases; and mean SUD ratings obtained during sessions.

Before discussing the results of this study, it may be useful to review the criteria by which multiple-baseline studies across participants are evaluated. More is required to make causal inferences than just showing a change on the dependent variable following the phase shift that is replicated in multiple individuals (Barlow and Hersen, 1984). The multiple-baseline design across participants begins with obtaining concurrent baselines on multiple individuals. Once stable baselines are obtained for all participants, the experimental treatment is introduced to one participant while the baseline conditions are maintained for the remaining participant(s). When the target individual's response during the experimental phase has stabilized, the experimental manipulation is then introduced to the next individual assuming that concurrent response to the baseline condition has remained stable for the other participant(s). This process is repeated until all participants have received the intervention. The intervention's effectiveness is demonstrated when the dependent variable changes with the phase shift for the treated participant, but not the untreated participant(s). This pattern is subsequently replicated across participants.

A logical prerequisite to meeting these conditions is that, for each person, multiple data points within each phase must be available for visual inspection. Unfortunately, this requirement is not met for the majority of measures in the Montgomery and Ayllon (1994) paper. In fact, it is only met for SUD levels. Casual inspection of the relevant graphs suggests that substantial decreases in SUD ratings occurred during the B (no-eye-movement) phase for only one of the six participants (subject 4, and then only in the first B session). By contrast, substantial decreases in SUD scores occurred during the BC (full EMDR) phase for five of the six participants (all but subject 5). These observations may appear to support the hypothesis that eye movements enhanced fear reduction. A more careful inspection of some of the participant pairs, however, cautions against concluding that eye movements were responsible for the decline in SUD ratings during the BC phase.

In the first pair of participants, subject 1 was shifted from the B to BC phase between session 7 and session 8, with little difference between SUD levels on these two days. Although subject 1's SUD ratings subsequently declined over the course of the BC phase, the decline also continued throughout the follow-up phase. In other words, this subject's SUD levels never become stable in the BC phase. Nevertheless, subject 2 was shifted from the B to BC phase between session 8 and session 9. This shift of subject 2 only one session after shifting subject 1 precludes comparing the decline observed in the BC phase for subject 1 with an ongoing B phase for subject 2. Thus, we cannot confidently attribute the decline in SUD ratings for both individuals from session 9 to session 13 to the eye movements, as there is no concurrent no-eye-movement condition against which to compare the eye-movement condition.

With regard to the third pair of subjects, the interpretive problem here is that SUD ratings for one of the two individuals (subject 5) did not show much decline during the BC phase, while the other one (subject 6) did. This lack of consistency across the two participants raises questions as to whether the decline in subject 6's SUDs can actually be attributed to the eye movements.

Thus, there is no solid evidence in the Montgomery and Ayllon (1994) study that meets the criteria for drawing causal inferences from multiple-baseline designs to support conclusions about the importance of eye movements in EMDR. Further, the unavailability of correspondingly fine-grained data for the BDI scores, weekly symptom reports and psychophysiological measures prevents conclusions about whether the observed changes in symptom measures over time can be attributed to any specific component of the intervention.

A recent study by Cusack and Spates (1999) is the only one to investigate the role of "installation" trials-the cognitive restructuring component of EMDR-for PTSR. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either standard EMDR or a condition in which the installation trials were replaced by additional desensitization trials. Both groups improved during the study and retained their improvements at two-month follow-up. There were no differences between groups on any measure. Thus, as with the eye movements, there is no evidence that the other major non-exposure element of EMDR-its unique form of cognitive restructuring-improves treatment outcome.
Discussion

I have attempted to illustrate that the primary literature on EMDR does not justify claims about its relative efficacy, efficiency and acceptability in comparison to CBT. Nor is there any strong evidence that EMDR achieves its therapeutic effects through different or additional mechanisms than exposure therapy. If the primary literature does not support such claims, then where are they from?

Many are based on authors making informal comparisons across studies (Lipke, 1999; Montgomery and Ayllon, 1994; Pitman et al., 1996). Given the often substantial differences across various studies of EMDR and CBT (e.g., different samples, different measures, single versus multiple therapists, differing duration and number of sessions, different control groups, and so on), such comparisons are fraught with difficulties (Cahill and Frueh, 1997) and do not provide an adequate basis for drawing conclusions about comparisons between treatments.

A second basis for such assertions is the use of meta-analysis, a procedure intended to provide a quantitative method for reviewing and synthesizing the results of research studies. One recent comprehensive meta-analysis of treatments for PTSD concluded:

    Behaviour therapy and EMDR were the most effective psychological therapies, and both were as effective as SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors]. Effect sizes were large across all PTSD symptom domains for these treatments in relation to controls, and treatments were generally statistically comparable in efficacy (Van Etten and Taylor, 1998).

The authors further suggested that EMDR is more efficient than other treatments, and that EMDR achieves its therapeutic effect through some mechanism other than exposure.

The studies included in their meta-analysis, however, did not include a single study in which EMDR was directly compared with behavior therapy which, as they defined it, combined studies of PE, SIT and IHT. The Vaughan et al. study (1994) was not included because only 80% of participants met criteria for PTSD (S. Taylor, personal communication, January 1999) and the Devilly and Spence (1999) study had not yet been published. Nor is there a single study in their meta-analysis in which any form of psychotherapy was directly compared with medication.

Conclusions drawn from meta-analysis are heavily dependent on the methods used to identify and select studies, compute the effect sizes, and group the various studies. In order to increase the number of studies included in their meta-analysis and create comparisons across studies that do not exist in the primary literature, Van Etten and Taylor (1998) did not use the standard method for computing effect sizes.

The standard method is to compute a between-group effect size by subtracting the posttreatment mean of the comparison group-of-interest from the corresponding mean of the target treatment group, and then dividing this group difference by the pooled standard deviation (Cohen, 1988). This is done for all comparisons-of-interest in each study to be included in the meta-analysis. The resulting effect sizes from the different studies are then combined according to the types of comparisons of interest.

In contrast, Van Etten and Taylor (1998) computed within-group effect sizes. For each group-of-interest in a study, the posttreatment mean was subtracted from the pretreatment mean and divided by the pooled within-group standard deviation. Their rationale was that this allowed inclusion of uncontrolled studies in their meta-analysis, as a control group is not necessary for computing within-group effect sizes, thereby "increasing the number of trials and statistical power to detect differences between treatments." They subsequently categorized the within-group effect sizes in terms of the type of intervention and compared average effect sizes across categories. It is important to understand that there was no overlap in studies between the 13 effect sizes for behavior therapy and the 11 effect sizes for EMDR in the Van Etten and Taylor (1998) meta-analysis.

There is a serious concern with using within-group effect sizes to create comparisons across groups of studies that do not exist in the primary literature. It ignores that study populations are necessarily nested within their studies and that, in the absence of direct comparisons between therapy types, the different studies are themselves nested within their type of treatment. This confounds study samples with type of treatment, precluding meaningful conclusions about the comparative efficacy of the different treatments.

Consider the comparison of average effect sizes on total self-reported PTSD severity between behavior therapy and EMDR (1.27 and 1.24, respectively). These mean values tell us that, within each set of studies, the average within-group effect sizes for the different treatments were quite similar. They do not say, however, what the average effect size of EMDR would have been in the populations represented in the behavior therapy studies, nor do they specify what the average effect size of behavior therapy would have been in the populations represented in the EMDR studies. Furthermore, there is no basis for assuming that, just because all of the studies in the meta-analysis utilized full PTSD samples, that there would be no differences across the various study samples in such variables as severity, chronicity or motivation for (and responsiveness to) treatment.

The danger of this strategy in Van Etten and Taylor's (1998) meta-analysis may be further illustrated by considering an example in which it yields a conclusion different from the one drawn from the relevant primary literature. The meta-analysis included only one effect size for an EMDR group without eye movements.

They noted, "When all eye movement conditions in the meta-analysis were compared with this one fixed-eye condition, EMDR was more effective˘_However, when the fixed-eye control was compared to the EMDR condition within the same study [i.e., Devilly and Spence, 1996], the fixed-eye condition was comparable to the EMDR condition." (The Devilly and Spence study cited by Van Etten and Taylor was an unpublished manuscript at that time. It was later published as Devilly et al., 1998.)

Furthermore, I have already mentioned numerous dismantling studies not included in Van Etten and Taylor's meta-analysis that concluded that eye movements did not contribute to treatment outcome (Cahill et al., 1999).

In the absence of any convincing evidence from dismantling studies that any of the unique features of EMDR contribute to treatment outcome, the remaining basis for claims that EMDR operates through mechanisms other than (or in addition to) exposure is a logical argument (Shapiro, 1999, 1996; Van Etten and Taylor, 1998). Proponents argue that the amount of exposure in the EMDR protocol is less than in exposure-therapy protocols and is implemented in ways that are less than optimal for exposure therapy (e.g., brief interrupted exposures in EMDR versus long, uninterrupted exposures in PE). Since EMDR achieves the same or better outcome as PE in the same or fewer sessions, exposure alone cannot be the operative mechanism. One hopes it can be seen that this argument rests on an unsubstantiated assumption about the relative efficacy/efficiency of EMDR and PE. As such, the conclusion is uncertain.

Questions remain as to the crucial components of effective treatments and their relative merits. Narrative reviews and meta-analyses are useful means of summarizing accumulated knowledge and generating hypotheses. Logical analyses are also helpful in generating new hypotheses and for guiding new studies. None of these methods, however, replace sound empirical research as the primary basis for the growth of scientific knowledge.

Dr. Cahill is an instructor at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He gratefully acknowledges Steven Taylor, Ph.D., for providing information regarding studies excluded from the Van Etten and Taylor (1998) meta-analysis.

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« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2007, 01:58:03 PM »

Excerpt
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. 




'some' should probably be changed to 'many.' 

It is not empirically supported.  The likely impactful factor is exposure. . . a classic cognitive/behavioral technique.  Be that as it may, if it works for you, by all means do it. 
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« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2007, 11:02:21 AM »



. . . to elaborate. . . By "not empirically supported," I mean the following:  When evaluating treatments in psychology/psychiatry or medicine in general, there are levels of research that are performed in order to say that a particular treatment is valid/effective.  The eye movement component of EMDR is unsubtantiated and the underlying theory is far fetched.  However, the trappings of EMDR, namely systematic exposure is a long accepted approach to treating anxiety/trauma. There is something to be said for structure and the eye movement component does provide a constant. EMDR in general is controversial because of the claimed underlying theory for how it is supposed to work.  Because of this, it tends to be looked at with skepticism by the more research/academic oriented professionals. That said, it is not likely to be harmful.   
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« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2007, 12:15:56 PM »

It worked for me...that's the only endorsement I need!  I have no idea how it worked since I don't understand the technical medical jargon...but it worked and that's all I need to know.  I was very skeptical and during my first session I remember thinking to myself "how is THIS going to change anything?" but was pleasantly shocked to realize just how MUCH it changed!  On the spot.

Granted just because it worked for me doesn't mean it will work for everyone -

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« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2007, 02:51:27 PM »

EMDR, as I understand it, bases as one of it's foundations that the reactions a person has to a trauma can get patterned.  So, someone with PTSD, has a patterned physiological and emotional reaction.  EMDR, as a technique focuses on both the thoughts and body signals subjectively related to the thoughts about the truama.  The idea is that in PTSD reactivity, neural pathways in the brain become patterned or rigid.  So, EMDR attempts to go beyond traditional talk therapy of CBT, including a component of sensorimotor therapy.

Here are some thoughts to consider - the idea that neural pathways become rigid - is a theory. There is no proof of this to date, because knowledge of the brain is limited. The evidence people use to hold this hypothesis is the phenomena of patterned behaviors and emotional reactivity - after the fact, and the ability to change those patterns. It is kind of like saying "we think this is what happens in the brain, and, that explains patterned behavior and emotions, and the relative ability to change it.  BUT, we really can't prove it because we don't know squat about the brain." That neural pathways become patterned into an anxiety reaction is widely held theory, and not particularly controversial, imo, - but again, true brain knowledge is limited.

That said, EMDR, and DBT (even CBT) interventions draw from this belief - that behaviors and emotions become automated in some way. How to intervene in a patterned behavior or emotion is the work of those types of therapies.

EMDR hypothesizes that people have more ability to interrupt the patterned neural pathways - and create new pathways by - activating both sides of brain function (right and left brain activities) while attempting to re-process the oldest, most hurtful past traumas. So - EMDR folks have found it useful to activate sight (through eye movement) or hearing stimili (noise stimuli alternately cued into each ear) or touch stimuli (alternate tapping on different sides of the body) - while doing thought processing work related to how we feel about ourselves (CBT stuff). Some people find this hogwash - personally, I've seen it work. I don't know why it works, but, it has so - good enough for me.

CBT/DBT uses relaxation, some detachment from emotional reactivity, and thought checking, as a way to check the validity of thought and cost-benefit analyses. For most people - emotions are very related to how they think - so correcting distorted thoughts has the positive result of reducing emotional distress.

Thoughts that are inflexible sometimes have underlying thoughts or attitudes associated with them - core thoughts. It is hard to correct core negative thoughts without help, imo. I believe that most people (with the exception of people who have severe personality disorders) are capable of actively correcting their thoughts. We do have the power to choose to ruminate on untrue, non-beneficial thoughts or to practice thinking thoughts that are true, impeccable, beneficial. The result of focusing on true, beneficial thoughts are related emotions and actions.

In my life experience, I have found that traditional CBT stuff works well, and so does EMDR.

Always, just my opinion.

Molly
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« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2007, 03:00:37 PM »

Excerpt
EMDR hypothesizes that people have more ability to interrupt the patterned neural pathways - and create new pathways by - activating both sides of brain function (right and left brain activities) while attempting to re-process the oldest, most hurtful past traumas. So - EMDR folks have found it useful to activate sight (through eye movement) or hearing stimili (noise stimuli alternately cued into each ear) or touch stimuli (alternate tapping on different sides of the body) - while doing thought processing work related to how we feel about ourselves (CBT stuff). Some people find this hogwash - personally, I've seen it work. I don't know why it works, but, it has so - good enough for me.

Yup, that would be the completely unproven, unsupported part of this whole equation.  It's almost insulting in its leaps and in its marketing. . . given that it's completely unproven.  It may work, but, unlikely, for that reason and, more likely, due to more substantiated reasons (i.e., exposure).
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« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2007, 03:35:37 PM »

Unreal,

Though I don't have a particularly strong opinion regarding EMDR, I find a couple of your comments strong in opinion, not necessarily in fact.  You've said that instead of some professionals questioning EMDR - that actually many do.  You've also said the hypothesis behind EMDR is completely unproven and unsupported.  I think it would be good to offer referencing to your thoughts, otherwise they just come off as a strong opinion, which btw, I respect, but don't necessarily agree with.

Here's the link regarding efficacy from the EMDR training site that I found interesting.

www.emdr.com/efficacy.htm

Molly
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« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2007, 03:46:23 PM »

Here, a recent meta-analysis. . .

Psychol Med. 2006 Nov;36(11):1515-22. Epub 2006 Jun 2.Click here to read Links

    Comparing the efficacy of EMDR and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of PTSD: a meta-analytic study.

    Seidler GH, Wagner FE.

    Department of Psychotraumatology, Psychosomatic Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Germany. guenter_seidler@med.uni-heidelberg.de

    BACKGROUND: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are both widely used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There has, however, been debate regarding the advantages of one approach over the other. This study sought to determine whether there was any evidence that one treatment was superior to the other. METHOD: We performed a systematic review of the literature dating from 1989 to 2005 and identified eight publications describing treatment outcomes of EMDR and CBT in active-active comparisons. Seven of these studies were investigated meta-analytically. RESULTS: The superiority of one treatment over the other could not be demonstrated. Trauma-focused CBT and EMDR tend to be equally efficacious. Differences between the two forms of treatment are probably not of clinical significance. While the data indicate that moderator variables influence treatment efficacy, we argue that because of the small number of original studies, little benefit is to be gained from a closer examination of these variables. Further research is needed within the framework of randomized controlled trials. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that in the treatment of PTSD, both therapy methods tend to be equally efficacious. We suggest that future research should not restrict its focus to the efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency of these therapy methods but should also attempt to establish which trauma patients are more likely to benefit from one method or the other. What remains unclear is the contribution of the eye movement component in EMDR to treatment outcome.



The issue isn't whether EMDR is effective, but why. 
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« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2007, 08:46:54 PM »

Excerpt
So - EMDR folks have found it useful to activate sight (through eye movement) or hearing stimili (noise stimuli alternately cued into each ear) or touch stimuli (alternate tapping on different sides of the body) -



Skip, Mollyd and Unreal, I'm finding your exchange and info very interesting and wanted to submit this, as an EMDR patient.  Having friends that did it with actual eye movement I was surprised when my therapist offered me a choice...and I've yet to read about this (the method I use) anywhere else, but again I say - it works!

I chose to hold 2 paddle-like doohickies - one in each hand and they vibrate alternately.  When I tried following her finger I got dizzy, sore eye sockets and there was no way I could concentrate on anything except keeping up with her finger.  Also too much *visual noise* so to speak - I have to close my eyes to concentrate on those disturbing images from my past.  I did notice in the middle of the first session that my eyes, even though they were closed, underneath my lids they were involuntarily moving back and forth in sync with the vibrations in my hands.  Obviously there's a connection.

Just wanted to share that since you both seem to have a more professional and scientific grasp on it than I do - I'm just a patient in awe of results.  Are you both doctors? 

I'm still in phase 3-6 according to the list Skip posted...and wasn't even aware of the eight phases until that post, but as I posted before, I got instant relief from the first traumatic event I attempted to reprocess within the first session, but the second one is taking longer to get to a complete "0" disturbance level.  Tonight was the third session in which that was addressed, however the original image I was addressing has linked itself (in my mind this is what is happening) to many others in my life, I'm seeing how they are all connected and it has really opened my eyes, (no pun intended!).
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« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2007, 12:12:45 PM »

BMS,

I think it is your perspective, in these workshops, that is the most valuable.  In my time on this site, there are many non's who seem to have some degree of reaction to the traumas they've endured.  While the clinical and academic conversations are valuable, so are the real experiences of those doing the work.

I, too, have never heard of the method of EMDR you are doing - though it does fit with the alternating stimuli on each side of the body - directed toward one of the senses (sight, touch, hearing) that is part of the technique.  There's a bit of a technology boom linking with EMDR - so there are all kinds of gadgets being developed alternative to eye movement, as many people described aversive reactions to the eye movements, like you.

FWIW, I do think there is a felt experience that is different between having a core thought move through the process of CBT and the seeming end of distress through EMDR from people actually working on their symptoms. 

There is another type of therapy that has some peripherial connections to EMDR called sensorimotor psychotherapy.  I think, in many ways, it is similar - however, instead of focusing on core throughts, sensorimotor interventions focus on body sensation and trying to move the sensation of distress - with the thought being the corresponding thoughts that relate to the distress move - as the distress through the body moves.   For folks with "stubborn" PTSD, it is something else out there that perhaps they haven't tried.  

The question of these interventions is - what to go after.  For example, traditionally, in DBT, behaviors and emotional dysregulation are targeted (rather than thoughts or insights - as with PD'ed clients, it's not as effective).  Conversely in CBT, the thoughts/insights behind the behaviors and emotions are targeted.  Sensorimotor psychotherapy targets something most clinicians don't consider as a viable target -  - the sensation of subjective distress in the body. 

Well, thanks for starting the thread BMS - and I'm truly glad for you that you have found an intervention to create relief for you.

Warmly,

M. 
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« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2007, 06:28:23 PM »

I too have done EMDR - you all have posted ALOT about the facts.  All I can say is it truly helped me to unwind some baggage I carried for a long time.  Its not magic beans but I will tell you- it worked for me.
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« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2008, 11:50:10 PM »

I did it twice.  Once was to get over the trauma of when my boss sexually assaulted me.  It worked.  I healed lightening fast!  Now I see him and have absolutely no sick feeling in my stomach.  It's been nearly 12 years now.  It really helped since we live in the same town and he's in the same medical community as I am. 

The second time I did this was to stop the fear and stomach problems I kept having when I thought of my SD's momster.  SD moved in with us and momster flipped.  I kept imagining that she would come here and kill our family, set our house on fire... the thoughts were endless.  Her rage was huge and so was my fear.  Guess what?  it worked again.  Stomach problems gone, I sleep like a baby!  I'm a huge fan of it.  My T has the board with the vibrating hand things, lights and sound.  Cool.

I hope it works for you too!

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« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2008, 04:51:45 AM »

I first had EMDR last year, in relation to a bank hold-up I experienced over 20 years ago. I have since had several other sessions in relation to various other things.

I swear by it. It can be a very emotional experience, but it isn't necessarily so. I have had some sessions where my body seemed taken right back to the incident of the past, and my heartbeat would race, breathing change etc.

I feel very tired afterwards, and like to sleep for a few hours. For the few days immediately after an EMDR session I am aware that my dreams are continuing the therapeutic process, and in my sleep I can feel bits of my psyche reconfiguring.

My first session, about the bank hold-up, involved a sequence similar to that BehindMeSatan described -- I started off more-or-less collapsed powerlessly on the floor in the face of the armed man in front of me, then stood up, grew in height and ended up banging the gunman on the head with a saucepan and concertina-ing him into the ground! Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) It seemed to release a lot of anger I hadn't previously realised was there. If you had asked me, beforehand, whether I held anger towards this guy I'd have told you "No. These things happen. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. It wasn't anything personal." 

It was like watching a movie. The sequence unfolded in front of my eyes. Other sessions have been completely different in the ways in which I experienced them, and how they unfolded. My therapist describes it as engaging the psyche's methods for self-healing. The unconscious knows what is needed, and offers it up. She also says she has worked with a range of other techniques over many years, and wasn't all that attracted to the notion of EMDR, but studied it when she needed to acquire further education to maintain her professional accreditation, and has since become a convert.

I haven't found that it magically fixed all my problems, but I have experienced very significant changes in a short period of time.

I strongly recommend trying it.

Soar
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« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2008, 07:08:46 PM »

I did it twice myself. I truly believe that if I hadn't done EMDR, it would have taken me many, many more years to reach a place of peace. The first EMDR session was re: two events that were tied in my mind. One was a home invasion robbery when I was three. I had a gun put to my head and I saw my dad beat up. The second event was my dad's death when I was six, including the pain of not being allowed to grieve by the adults around me. I was able to accept those events and heal much of the pain. It was incredible. I'd held so much anger over so many years about those two events.

Give it a shot! There's really not much to lose by trying. It is emotionally and physically exhausting, so if you can get time to yourself after the session, do so. I went to work and it was... just too much.
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« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2008, 11:59:52 AM »

Fascinating. My brother is having issues with PTSD - particularly nightmares.

Would this therapy work with someone who was legally blind? He has optic nerve atrophy - his left eye has almost zero vision and his right is 20/200.
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« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2008, 12:22:18 PM »

Could someone please explain to me what EMDR is and give examples of the process? I've heard mention of it here but have no idea what it is and what it does differently than regular therapy - but I'm somewhat new to therapy, in general. Thanks.

Yes, the therapist can use other means such as tapping or sounds to produce the same results as eye movements. This work has been very successful in treating trauma.

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« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2008, 12:29:54 PM »

I used EMDR for PTSD from the war.

The explosions, and watching someone die, the sounds of the helocopters etc all had emotional triggers for me.  I was able to relive those experiences and verbalize what I had supressed so deep.  The sound of gravel under my feel doesnt make me shake anymore.  When you live in a constant state of fear and panic and alertness your body supresses as does your mind.  It comes out when you least expect it as something triggers.  EMDR lets you relive all those things deeply into your subconscience - things you didnt want to ever think about again but from a safe place where you know you are safe the whole time and will be ok.

BPD- if you lived with someone who is BPD, you will be jumpy as well and watch everything you say so carefully.  You too will have triggers when you get out.  When I first left my lovely BPD, I was trained to mop the floor at 3pm daily so it was clean- at 3pm like a pavlov dog I would mop even though I didnt live with her anymore.  A friend of mine held me one day and said SHAY, you dont have to mop anymore and I broke down crying...what had I become?  So afraid, terror of her being mad.

I did EMDR to relive her coming home and being mad about the floors and from the outside I could see if it wasnt the floors it was always something else.  I was cleaning to stop an explosion- keep the peace- and maybe she would be happy?  

SHAY
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« Reply #48 on: May 31, 2008, 01:05:08 PM »

Here's what "Sometimes I Act Crazy" says about EMDR.

"Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique developed for the treatment of post-traumatic, anxiety, panic, substance abuse and other disorders.  This approach requires the patient to rapidly move his eyes while discussing or thinking of disturbing past experiences.  Many borderlines have a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drug abuse and therefore could be considered candidates for this therapy.  However, its efficacy remains unsubstantiated by large, controlled studies."

So, not a whole lot, IMO.
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« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2008, 04:28:50 PM »

Actually, CBT is the most researched psychotherapeutic method because it is the most easily manualized, controlled and studied. Therefore, when evaluating psychotherapy methods for any issue you will almost always find the most evidence based support for CBT.  When you are looking at individual therapeutic factors, the factor with the most evidence support is the therapeutic relationship.

I have had great success with EMDR for a wide variety of issues. However, if a client is skeptical or not comfortable with it, I believe there are always many roads from A to B and a different therapeutic method is available.

Debye
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« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2008, 08:02:47 PM »

Hi all,

EMDR is an empirically supported treatment for PTSD- it has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in randomized controlled trials. It performs about at well as exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD. The issue that many professionals have with EMDR (myself included) is not with whether or not it works, the data clearly support that it does. The issue is how it works, (i.e., what are the mechanisms of change)? Most psychologists take issue with the fact that the person who developed EMDR did not have a strong theoretical argument for the inclusion of the eye movements, and that the mechanism of change appears to be the exposure(or "reliving" element of the treatment, which was already an established part of CBT. Despite this, practitioners who want to practice EMDR are required to do trainings that are very expensive. All this to learn to do eye movements that don't seem to improve the outcome of the treatment-- that is, the treatment is just as good just with the exposure part.

That said, EMDR does work. I would rather that people get a treatment that has empirical support than one without any!

Best,

Kristalyn

K. Salters-Pedneault, Ph.D.

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www.BPD.about.com
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« Reply #51 on: August 02, 2008, 08:43:15 AM »

Hi all,

EMDR is an empirically supported treatment for PTSD- it has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in randomized controlled trials. It performs about at well as exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD. The issue that many professionals have with EMDR (myself included) is not with whether or not it works, the data clearly support that it does. The issue is how it works, (i.e., what are the mechanisms of change)? Most psychologists take issue with the fact that the person who developed EMDR did not have a strong theoretical argument for the inclusion of the eye movements, and that the mechanism of change appears to be the exposure(or "reliving" element of the treatment, which was already an established part of CBT. Despite this, practitioners who want to practice EMDR are required to do trainings that are very expensive. All this to learn to do eye movements that don't seem to improve the outcome of the treatment-- that is, the treatment is just as good just with the exposure part.

That said, EMDR does work. I would rather that people get a treatment that has empirical support than one without any!

Best,

Kristalyn

K. Salters-Pedneault, Ph.D.

About.com Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder

www.BPD.about.com

I just got an interesting article about this the other day for school.  It said that EMDR has been proven to work, but there was a debate as to why it worked.  It said basically exactly what you are saying about the mechanism of they eye movements etc.  The gist at the end was that there would be much more concrete emprical support in the next two years.  We had an interesting discussion on it in my class.

It also emphasized the importance of specialized training for anyone wanting to practice EMDR. 

Have you ever heard of the therapist doing rhytmic tapping sounds instead of the eye movements?  My teacher said that this is also a way that some people are doing it.
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« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2009, 10:55:37 PM »

 I underwent EDMR for PTSD, and it was pretty cool. When all was said and done, I walked away knowing that I could pull up the images and feelings I experienced during EDMR any time I chose. It helped me to consciously choose to replace certain negative and anxiety-provoking thoughts with more positive ones, and this has helped to calm me tremendously. You hold a little device in your hand and close your eyes. Your T walks you through certain events in your life that caused you great stress. Once you are there in your mind, he sends a little electric current (a ticklish vibration) through the device and guides you to another event/image/person where you felt safe. I tried to picture the electric currents obliterating my bad experiences so that I could make room for wonderful experiences to replace them. It helped, and I am sure it will help you, too. No worries. I believe you will appreciate the experience. Keep us posted, and good luck.   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #53 on: June 02, 2009, 12:09:17 AM »

I have done EMDR sessions a few different times with my T. Some sessions have turned out better than others, depending on the focus of my thoughts.

Don't be scared. It's worth the try.   
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« Reply #54 on: June 02, 2009, 12:25:07 PM »

Yes, my T used EMDR to help me through PTSD. It helped me very much to calm down and focus. I still had to do quite a bit of "work" around the issues and memories that I had not dealt with until the PTSD features began to keep me from being able to work.

The good news is that it cannot hurt! It will only help and it is a good tool to use. You begin to see that YOU CAN manage seemingly uncontrollable symptoms. Good luck---it is well worth the time and expense.
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« Reply #55 on: June 04, 2009, 09:11:31 PM »

So this stuff actually works?

Isn't EMDR some new experimental therapy where you move your eyes back and forth really fast?  How can this possibly help?

How does it work?  Does anyone know?

With my anxiety and probable PTSD, I'm willing to seek out a therapist who knows about this stuff. 

How does it help?  Are you able to function better?  Do things stop bothering you so much?  Please shed some light on this.  I think flanola posted on one of my threads that it "rewires your brain."  Gosh... I could use some rewiring if it is done correctly!   
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« Reply #56 on: June 04, 2009, 09:20:37 PM »

I've only just begun the process but I definitely feel a decline in the anxiety and better able to manage it. I hope others will post and share there experiences (since I'm not far enough in to share much).

I hope it can help you too Waybird. My therapist is very skilled and has a lot of EMDR training. She isn't cheap, but she's worth every penny. She's an adlerian psychologist. From what I understand EMDR is much more lasting and effective than talk/cognitive therapy because of the actual effect on the brain.

Here's a link to some info.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing

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« Reply #57 on: June 04, 2009, 09:58:23 PM »

Yup. If you check, EMDR beats meds for long term relief.

I actually went to a conference on ptsd - and learned a lot.  It convinced me that I should try the emdr, no matter how goofy it seemed.  (Non clinicians are allowed at some conferences)

Meds work, too.  I've finally come to the realization that I need the meds and that I'm not weak, or stupid or inadequate.  It's just my brain made way too much stress chemical for too long and it needs help.  Someday I'm hoping that I'll be on fewer and less meds. (2 different ones, one 2 different ways ir/xr)

Talk therapy is good, too.   And yoga - because you're moving your body.  Meditation isn't all that good for me, because I have to be quiet -and sometimes the icky stuff surfaces.

It's just not fair.  I've got ptsd because I was in a war.  It just wasn't one that you read about in a country far far away.  It was in my foo's house.  And I lived there.  In fear.  And I SURVIVED!

And I'm going to have fun, now.  Maybe even go camping.  But I don't like bugs...

js

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« Reply #58 on: July 07, 2009, 09:18:24 PM »

Okay, I for some reason feel really blue tonight... I had my first EMDR session with my T this afternoon and I feel like it went badly.

Not completely bad, I just don't understand. I did my first "happy memory" with EMDR and my mind bounced all over the place (like it is supposed to.. for those of you who have not tried it.) She asked me what did I think and I say that the EMDR machine was very distracting, my mind was racing all over the place. She said, perfect, that is exactly what is supposed to happen. So we talked about some of the other (happy) memories that came up.

Then we went on to think about a "painful" memory.  Nothing... blank! Seriously, it was just like a memory I'd describe to my husband- when I stop talking, (or thinking about it in this case) the memory stops. No bouncing around or other random thoughts or memories like EMDR is supposed to do to help you desensitize the emotions, etc. So we tried another, nothing! Then one memory popped up and we talked about that, but all the while I discussed it I was focused and not distracted by the EMDR machine. 

So we ended the session by her saying statements like "You are a good mother"  "Your husband loves you" and I'm supposed to think about those while she says them one at a time, slowly. Sure enough, my mind lights up like a lightbulb. All sorts of thoughts, all positive, then as soon as she mentions something potentially negative, like "You can learn from your mistakes and move on." NOTHING! my mind is totally blank again!

What the heck? Now I just feel "blue" tonight. She said that she thinks its because I'm afraid of facing my fears and memories locked away, so I'm just stopping myself. (sort of like why I had my panic attack and didn't know "why," in another post)

Any thoughts? Did any of you who've tried EMDR experience some of the same things? I just feel like as much as I want to heal my mind is refusing to cooperate! AH!
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« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2009, 12:17:14 AM »

Dissociation is a protective mechanism.  It is not something you choose to do, it's something your mind does.  I've done some EMDR, well, one, where I managed to remember what happened between A and C, because logically, something happened to get from inside the car to outside the car.  It was hard to remember, and that was just a couple of seconds that was missing.

Mostly, though, I have not done that much.  The first time we did a session, I ended up sobbing like a child.  This was not supposed to happen.  So much for positive cognitions at the end.  Although in a way, no one had witnessed me get like that before, so maybe it was a good thing.  But it was a long time before we did another, and not until my T had worked with me a lot more on the dissociation, learning to recognize it, recognize different modes, etc.  Overall, we've used more of other techniques and not so much of EMDR.

The way they say EMDR works, I've heard it does work pretty much that way for simple PTSD.  But not always for complex PTSD (from ongoing childhood abuse or neglect), and not for dissociative disorders.

By the way, I always felt kind of raw afterwards.  I think that's typical.  I would usually just not think too much about it and wait until the next session to process it with my T.  Processing the EMDR session is part of the process, I believe.
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« Reply #60 on: July 08, 2009, 02:26:58 AM »

I'm sorry you feel like it didn't go well. Hugs.  I always, always, always felt worse after therapy with 9/10 of my therapists.  As such, I only gave most a few sessions before I quit.  The one I saw for a while, it was just a narrative therapy style, and it worked so well.  I don't know if I was just in a healthier place emotionally or if she was just that great... but it felt comfortable even when it wasn't...

As for EMDR, I'm still not convinced I want to try it.  I know people who swear by it...  Even worked at a school where a therapist who practiced EMDR with kids said it was the BEST thing she'd ever tried.  I'm not against it, just not sure it's for me right now.  I almost saw someone who did neurofeedback with an expensive machine thing... considered that...  It's just easier for me to wrap my mind around physiological responses than emotional ones right now.  So, that's how I cope for the moment.  It might change in time.  Reading about everyone's experiences, positive and negative, helps though... so thank yuo for sharing.

Hope you are feeling better by the time you revisit this thread.
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« Reply #61 on: July 08, 2009, 04:21:46 AM »

I am clueless from any personal experience, but as a person who's dealt with huge medical issues over last two years, you have to hurt before you heal.   I don't know how much you can apply that to EMDR therapy, but you are full of toxins that have to ooze out, I'd imagine, if you're anything like me with the complex PTSD.  It's all down in there. You have a wound that's gotten deeply infected and nectrotizing tissue, you have to re-open it, maybe even cut out some healthy tissue to get the thing on its way again.  xoxox  Surgery, like I had, hurts like a mother, but you have to have it to live and survive and improve and thrive.  xoxox

Maybe you ran low on the serotonin, too, that keeps you buoyed, after this experience. I have a friend who used to take Ecstasy in a therapeutic setting and it wipes you out, totally, like that, hence the danger of it being used recreationally.

All this to say, give yourself some time to heal from this T session and think if you want to go through it again. I face potential relapses, like I had last year, from my cardiac situation - gotta just suck up the hurt to land in a healthier place at a later date.   I know that's apples vs oranges, but the best help I could give you. You sound very down and hurting. Hopefully you slept and are better today.
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« Reply #62 on: July 08, 2009, 10:22:32 AM »

I still feel crappy today. I'm a little concerned about the disassociation because I cannot remember 90% of my childhood, it used to be a big joke, how horrible my memory was. Not so funny anymore, now that I know why I have had a memory problem my entire life.  The little bit of memory that has been returning over the last couple months hasn't been very enjoyable and am a little nervous about what might be uncovered.

I haven't had depression issues for almost 6 years and now I feel like I'm walking through mud! If I feel this way after discussing a memory that wasn't even "recovered" how am I going to deal with the stuff my mind has buried?  How did you guys deal with recovery from your sessions? What did you do to help cheer yourself up?

I feel like its a lose-lose situation, if I don't deal with this stuff I'll continue to have dreams, nightmares, etc. and if I DO deal with this stuff I am depressed and find it difficult to do my everyday tasks!
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« Reply #63 on: July 08, 2009, 04:10:07 PM »

Hi Jsthiel,

I'm feeling pretty low today too after my therapy appointment. I came home afterward and curled up in a ball on the couch. Sometimes it just sucks. I didn't do EMDR today, but I have in the past. The first time I did it, I had no idea what to expect. I was kind of afraid of what I might uncover and my mind went blank - completely blank. Like you, I have very little recollection of many years of my childhood. During EMDR, I expected something to happen, but instead I couldn't think of anything. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. My T. didn't push it for several months and then we tried again. Then we did it several weeks in a row and I ended up feeling pretty good about things, stronger, more confident, more in control. However, the major issue that we were going to explore with EMDR, I've still been avoiding. I still don't remember anymore about it. And I still don't think I want to. My T. goes very slowly with me for which I'm grateful.

Just go slowly, get some rest, allow yourself some downtime, do something nice for yourself. It's a lot to take on, and adding stress or expectations to your appointments as to what's supposed to happen or what you're supposed to remember will make it that much harder on you. Especially when you're afraid of what's buried. Just talk to your T. next time about what you're experiencing this time. And good luck! Hang in there. Go easy.     
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« Reply #64 on: July 08, 2009, 08:43:45 PM »

I have been doing EMDR with my therapist for about 1 1/2 years and it has been extremely helpful to me.  The sessions are often extremely draining and emotional, but have helped me more than anything else I've tried through the years.  I remember my first sessions being especially difficult, and I did feel depressed afterward.  But, the rewards of sticking with it have been very worth it.  I am able to process things very quickly, according to my therapist, and do have a decent number of childhood memories.  I have gotten to the point where I can use the EMDR on my own to make connections to the past that I don't think I would have made before.  I think it's inevitable to go through a difficult time when dealing with such painful memories and I have found that I have been grieving the past and what I will never get from my family.  But, the EMDR has enabled me to see the power I have as an adult, which has been life changing.  It has also helped me set much better boundaries with my mother which has been incredibly positive as well.  I wish you all the best and encourage you to stick with it.
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« Reply #65 on: July 10, 2009, 06:14:23 PM »

Speaking of nightmares, I used to wake up in the night, sometimes a lot.  Sometimes really hot, which definitely attracted my cats.  Only rarely would I remember anything from a dream, but from the few times I did, and the pattern of when in the night it would happen, I eventually decided I was probably having nightmares.

After my P put me on a beta blocker (Tenex, one of the less popular ones, but I'm sure he had good reasons), I realized I was sleeping better.  Much better.  Hardly waking up.  Of course, my bp was 130/85 when he put me on it, which is borderline, and some doctors treat even borderline hypertension.  My normal had been 115/70.  I know it went up because of the stress of therapy and maybe one of my other meds, and my bp was definitely stress-reactive.  With the beta blocker my bp went down and so did my pulse.  Both are now lower than my previous normal.

Anyway, I mention that because it might be helpful.  It doesn't cure PTSD, but it does help make it easier to deal with therapy.  And it is probably also good for my physical health.
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« Reply #66 on: October 20, 2009, 11:14:43 PM »

My therapist suggested that we start EMDR after I told her about a series of traumatic experiences. She described it, walking me through the process, and I've read a fair bit about it. Still, it seems kind of mysterious. Any advice, experiences to share? I trust the therapist and she's very in tune with me; I don't think she'd push me beyond where I'm ready to go. Yet last night I had the first mother nightmare that I've had in a long time...perhaps some anxiety about this?

B&W
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« Reply #67 on: October 21, 2009, 03:14:07 PM »

Hi blackandwhite,

I haven't ever tried EMDR but I have a few close friends who have used this therapy before and I can share with you what I've learned through them.  For whatever reason (if there is any physiological basis for this therapy I am unaware of it) this therapy helps triggers feelings that are associated with old (and possibly suppressed) traumas.  This is supposed to be a good thing because suppressed feelings or as I see it, unresolved feelings from the past, can get in the way of appropriate feelings in the present.  And those feelings that are associated with traumas can be so overwhelming that a person might unconsciously choose to suppress them.

That said, expect to go through the motions of someone who might (re) endure those early traumas.  I think of it as a "do-over."  That you are feeling triggered just by the anticipation of this therapy tells me that some part of you is perhaps "on the verge" or "eager" to face these feelings.  You might expect some less restful sleep, or even sleepless nights, and other body responses (ie, raised blood pressure, hyperactive nervous system) to these feelings; prepare for that.

I know what it is like to feel as if you have tsunami of pain and angst to face.  Sometimes it is as if you are an recently hatched bird looking down from your nest on your first flight, about to jump into an abyss.  And you just don't want to jump.  Each time you look down, it only shrinks your resolve.

Trust that you are no longer the younger and less experienced person who had to endure those early traumas;  you are now a capable and strong adult who can weather these storms.  You have learned much on your journey thus far, and you are now given the opportunity to put these new skills to task.  Even better, you have a trusted guide, your therapist, who will be with you when it gets more difficult, though you alone must walk through the fire.  It is best to simply jump through, because sometimes the suffering from just the fear or anticipation of the pain, can be worse than the pain itself.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes, Schwing
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« Reply #68 on: October 21, 2009, 04:28:21 PM »

Thanks so much, guys. Schwing, I think you're right that I'm in some anxiety and fear about the unknown in this. I have a big memory block, about three years in which I have spotty memories at best. I don't actually think there's much in there that's beyond what I already know, but what's missing is the sort of day-to-day experience of all that misery. And that's okay with me! I'm not expecting the EMDR to dredge up repressed memories, but I do wonder what doors it might open. Coral, I also really appreciated that line of Schwing's. Trax, glad to hear it worked for you.  And I'll take the luck!

It does seem a bit mysterious. Nobody had any clear data on why it might work, as far as I can tell, but I'm willing to give it a try.

B&W
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« Reply #69 on: October 21, 2009, 09:15:57 PM »

I have been in therapy for two years now and I have experienced EMDR. You are reprocessing the bad experience with your therapist at your side...hopefully this will help you deal with the trauma or traumas from an objective point-of-view. I've done EMDR a few times, and it has helped a lot.
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« Reply #70 on: October 24, 2009, 04:11:51 PM »

Blackandwhite,

   I did EMDR for over 3 years, and it was worth every penny and every tear shed.  I don't know how your therapist is explaining it, but for me it was like desensitization. 

First, you have to have an emotional safe place to escape to if/when the memories become too intense.

Then, you focus on a particular old feeling or memory while your therapist stimulates opposite sides of your brain, (with light taps on your body, or lights or sounds).  You do that for a few minutes, then stop and free-associate what thoughts, memories or feelings that triggered for you.

If one memory triggers another, you move on and focus on the next, (with the alternating brain stimulation).

   In brief, that's how it works.  If it's successful, you find that the bad feelings become less intense over time.  You become emotionally stronger, and more capable of caring for yourself emotionally.

   EMDR is being used around the world for people who have experienced devastating emotional trauma, like wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, total loss of families and homes, etc.  It was used for survivors of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing.

   My therapist, who travels around the world teaching therapists in other countries how to do EMDR, told me that victims of child abuse are much harder to treat than people who have had one-time devastating traumas.  He likens it to being a prisoner of war, where the trauma occurred over a long period of time, with many memories and triggers. 

Good luck.  It WILL be painful, but the pain WILL subside.  Each painful memory that you can soothe or discard is one less that you have to carry around the rest of your life.  Even if you can't get rid of them all, some is better than nothing.
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« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2009, 04:58:34 PM »

Thank you tedles and tigerlily09 for sharing your experiences. It helps a lot to know others have been through it and found it useful.

An update: I had my first session and it was a very much as you described, tedles. The hour went by extremely quickly; I free associated about some things I generally try not to think about, and made some unexpected connections. So even if nothing magical is going on in there from the light and the sounds, it was worthwhile as a new format that is less logical and more spontaneous. I did feel pretty head-achy for a day afterwards. The next night had another mother nightmare, which I have to figure might be connected.

The desensitization part makes sense to me. I've felt that just telling my story in therapy and here as well, but it's hard to get at the stuff that's not even at the level of a story, if you know what I mean...feelings and sensations or memories that are just flashes and don't make a lot of sense.

I look forward to continuing. Thanks again to all who have commented!

B&W

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« Reply #72 on: February 11, 2010, 04:35:59 PM »

I'm on my fourth session of it. It was odd at first but I believe its helping.

My t works with ptsd patients. I was referred to her specifically for emdr by the. Psychiatrist.
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« Reply #73 on: February 11, 2010, 09:35:16 PM »

I went through 6 months of EMDR and it was great.  It got rid of nightmares and anxiety that I had for years. 
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« Reply #74 on: February 12, 2010, 12:51:52 PM »

I am currently in therapy for PTSD, and EMDR is used. It has helped so much. I don't do it all the time. The abuse I suffered was so severe that I have been in therapy for over two years now. You do need a T who know what they are doing. 
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« Reply #75 on: February 12, 2010, 05:50:40 PM »

Me.  And I say, if you can only do one thing make it EMDR.  It has helped me immensely. 
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« Reply #76 on: February 15, 2010, 01:50:21 PM »

Thank you guys. I have my first appointment in the middle of march to get started. I'm nervous, but looking forward to it as well.

I had called my T for a referral for hypnosis, since I have been suspecting for some time that I might have some repressed memories and the triggers for flashbacks have been getting ridiculously unexpected and embarassing. For the longest time I said if I didnt remember maybe I was better off, but its getting frustrating and confusing. My T recommended the EMDR and hooked me up with a T that is trained to do it.

Wish me luck!
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« Reply #77 on: February 16, 2010, 09:47:19 AM »

My girlfriend suffered a traumatic experience years ago and has spoken highly of EMDR Therapy, where the therapist uses eye movements to access the patient's sub-conscious, while the patient is conscious. This draws suppressed emotions out to be dealt with consiously. It is used often for rape and assault victims who suffer PTSD. I am certain that I have been feeling the effects of PTSD over the past 7-8 months. i am 2.5 yrs out of marriage with BPDxw, and it seems like no matter what I understand and accept consiously, that these memories are keeping me from sleeping well, and I feel "spacey" most of the time when I am in social situations, as memories of events with BPDxw continue to replay in my mind, many times per hour, all day long. I have done kinesiology with my holistic chiro, which has helped a lot, but not enough. read my other recent post, for more details: How long before you have HOPE and feel normal again?

My girlfriend also recently visited a Reiki healer who she claims was amazing. Apparently the woman was able to tell her about many of her experiences just by feeling where the energy from those memories is stored in her body. As I understand it, Reiki healers are able to find the the emotional energy that is stored in your body from traumatic experiences, and move that energy into channels where they "take it on" their selves, and expell by things like coughing, crying, etc. In other words they find the emotion, help you confront it and dissipate much of the pain in your body by taking it on them selves and expelling it out. I know to many people this may seem impossible, but after having tried many alternative methods of healing, and doing things like yoga and zen meditation, I believe strongly that we are all energy beings and these methods may hold some very valid and helpful healing for many of us who have realized how in-effective traditional therapies can be with certain types of people/situations. I think there are many methods of healing out there that work, but each not one works for everything. Am i making sense?

So, have any of you tried either EMDR or Reiki to address your PTSD or just general depression, anxiety, stress or to "cleanse" or defuse the memories and feelings of your past experiences with your BPD's?

I feel like I need something besides traditional "talk it out" therapy, as I've done it before, and one hour a week at $100/hr with someone who isn't as schooled in BPD as I am just doesn't add up. Suggestions? Stories? Please share! Thanks!

-Rcoaster
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« Reply #78 on: February 16, 2010, 11:21:37 AM »

Im no pro on this stuff but I think it really comes down to the whole body, spirit and mind approach. After all, Holistic healing is capturing our every essence of your being..  What makes you, "you".  That not only includes modalities such as these and different therapies to help you restructure your thinking to a more positive level but also our environment and what is around us and how toxic it may or may not be and our physical nature and what we put into our body has a huge affect on our thinking process, obviously as you probably know but also our social experience and of course our spiritual development and how connected we are to our higher power.. for me that would be God i.e. our Creator...So to really get beyond things at times and to be a healthy living being, free in the moment, we really have to address the entire process of the total holistic approach which includes body, mind, spirit and all that influence any of these factors.. and we make the needed changes on a continuous basis.. and that is no small task.. let me tell ya..

Its on ongoing effort to channel the negative forces out of your life and keep filling yourself up with good things and focusing on the positive things..   the old adage.. as a man thinkith  is so true.. not only as he thinkith but as a man eatith and you are as good as your friends..  and all that good stuff.. your as healthy as the air around you...Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  you get the picture..    lots of work id say.. How many times go you go out in the wilderness or explore Gods green earth?  Get near any waterfalls?  go to the beach.  One important thing is connecting with Nature and all that it gives us in return. so therapeutic indeed! Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  

But you are definately doing what needs to be done here.. you are seeking for answers and help to combat these painful issues and that is soo comendable rcoaster!  I am soo happy that you are doing this and looking beyond the basics and willing to explore PTSD Therapy.

I dont know about your area, i know you said there are few Drs in your neck of the woods that can help, but they do have PTSD courses that you can take that address specifically the issues in a way that has had proven success in helping one overcome the flashbacks and the paralyzing feelings that can still hit us at times.. I am starting one next month and was told that the statistics are very high for regaining control in your life after a traumatic event or events such as us..   

I hope you can find ones in your area that offer something like that that specifically encompasses dealing with PTSD thru group therapy.  I heard that is the best.. and you dont talk about the past per se..  more focus on what you do want..   

Here is a clip I found on EMDR..   the Reiki got a little weird with the practices..   dunno.. ?   buyer beware...

EMDR INFORMATION...

The therapist ensures that the client 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. The client is then able to use stress reducing techniques whenever necessary, during or between sessions. However, one goal is not to need these techniques once therapy is complete.

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

After this, the client is 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, depending upon the need of the client. Athough eye movements are the most commonly used external stimulus, therapists often use auditory tones, tapping, or other types of tactile stimulation. The kind of dual attention and the length of each set is customized to the need of the client. The client 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 client-directed association process is encouraged. This is repeated numerous times throughout the session. If the client becomes distressed or has difficulty with the process, the therapist follows established procedures to help the client resume processing. When the client reports no distress related to the targeted memory, the clinician asks him/her to think of the preferred positive belief that was identified at the beginning of the session, or a better one if it has emerged, and to focus on the incident, while simultaneously engaging in the eye movements. After several sets, clients generally report increased confidence in this positive belief. The therapist checks with the client regarding body sensations. If there are negative sensations, these are processed as above. If there are positive sensations, they are further enhanced.

In phase seven, closure, the therapist asks the client 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.

The next session begins with phase eight, re-evaluation of the previous work, and of progress since the previous session. EMDR treatment ensures processing of all related historical events, current incidents that elicit distress, and future scenarios that will require different responses. The overall goal is produce the most comprehensive and profound treatment effects in the shortest period of time, while simultaneously maintaining a stable client within a balanced system.

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.

Hi rcoaster.. it almost sounds like how the therapy program for ptsd was discribed but without the eye movement..   let me know what you decide..  you're in my thoughts..   1bg   best wishes on the Holistic Approach..    and eat organic!   Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #79 on: February 19, 2010, 06:15:25 AM »



FYI. . .


Depress Anxiety. 2009;26(12):1086-109.

Empirically supported psychological treatments for adult acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder: a review.

Ponniah K, Hollon SD.

New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA. kathrynbetts@hotmail.com

BACKGROUND: Acute stress disorder (ASD) predicts the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which in some sufferers can persist for years and lead to significant disability. We carried out a review of randomized controlled trials to give an update on which psychological treatments are empirically supported for these disorders, and used the criteria set out by Chambless and Hollon [1998: J Consult Clin Psychol 66:7-18] to draw conclusions about efficacy, first irrespective of trauma type and second with regard to particular populations. METHODS: The PsycINFO and PubMed databases were searched electronically to identify suitable articles published up to the end of 2008. Fifty-seven studies satisfied our inclusion criteria. RESULTS: Looking at the literature undifferentiated by trauma type, there was evidence that trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are efficacious and specific for PTSD, stress inoculation training, hypnotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and psychodynamic therapy are possibly efficacious for PTSD and trauma-focused CBT is possibly efficacious for ASD. Not one of these treatments has been tested with the full range of trauma groups, though there is evidence that trauma-focused CBT is established in efficacy for assault- and road traffic accident-related PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: Trauma-focused CBT and to a lesser extent EMDR (due to fewer studies having been conducted and many having had a mixed trauma sample) are the psychological treatments of choice for PTSD, but further research of these and other therapies with different populations is needed.

PMID: 19957280 [PubMed - in process]


Publication Types, Grant SupportPublication Types: Research Support, N.I.H., ExtramuralResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tGrant Support:MH01697/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States

LinkOut - more resources
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« Reply #80 on: February 19, 2010, 06:17:38 AM »

. . .and not worrying about claims of mechanism,

J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Nov;15(11):1157-69.

A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki.

vanderVaart S, Gijsen VM, de Wildt SN, Koren G.

Department of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

INTRODUCTION: Reiki is an ancient form of Japanese healing. While this healing method is widely used for a variety of psychologic and physical symptoms, evidence of its effectiveness is scarce and conflicting. The purpose of this systematic review was to try to evaluate whether Reiki produces a significant treatment effect. METHODS: Studies were identified using an electronic search of Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar. Quality of reporting was evaluated using a modified CONSORT Criteria for Herbal Interventions, while methodological quality was assessed using the Jadad Quality score. DATA EXTRACTION: Two (2) researchers selected articles based on the following features: placebo or other adequate control, clinical investigation on humans, intervention using a Reiki practitioner, and published in English. They independently extracted data on study design, inclusion criteria, type of control, sample size, result, and nature of outcome measures. RESULTS: The modified CONSORT Criteria indicated that all 12 trials meeting the inclusion criteria were lacking in at least one of the three key areas of randomization, blinding, and accountability of all patients, indicating a low quality of reporting. Nine (9) of the 12 trials detected a significant therapeutic effect of the Reiki intervention; however, using the Jadad Quality score, 11 of the 12 studies ranked "poor." CONCLUSIONS: The serious methodological and reporting limitations of limited existing Reiki studies preclude a definitive conclusion on its effectiveness. High-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to address the effectiveness of Reiki over placebo.

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« Reply #81 on: February 25, 2010, 06:12:27 PM »

I did it and it gave me the strenght to leave a 15 year marriage to an uBPDw...absolutely incredible-got rid of the fear and the anxiety and put me in a place where her rages and FOG had zero effect on me...can't explain it but as I said, it worked.
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« Reply #82 on: February 27, 2010, 09:50:28 AM »

Excerpt
I did it and it gave me the strenght to leave a 15 year marriage to an uBPDw...absolutely incredible-got rid of the fear and the anxiety and put me in a place where her rages and FOG had zero effect on me...can't explain it but as I said, it worked.

Wow! Good for you man. I think it may worth a try then. For me, I feel like I am spinning in a vicious cycle-something triggers the memories of the trauma, I go back therein my mind, then it creates physical maladies such as sore tight neck muscles, then I start worrying about my health and how the stress has affected me, then I go back to the memories trying to pull out whatever I think I am missing, and it spins and spins until I am so focused on relieving the stress that it creates more stress. I really am trying to just exist in the moment these days. Used to be so easy, but now I just worry constantly. Its like the trauma is stuck in my cells at such a deep level that my concious mind can't get rid of it.

I am not an advocate of synthetics or meds to "bandage" up root causes of issues, so I have avoided that option and will continue to do so, so I am hoping Reiki or EMDR will help me.
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Do. Or do not. There is no try.


« Reply #83 on: April 12, 2010, 06:16:02 PM »

I did my first EMDR session last week.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I wanted to recommend that you check out this workshop: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=65302.0

Along with this article: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=65383.0

The bi-lateral stimulation can be visual (a pointer, the therapist's fingers or a specially constructed light bar), auditory (tones projected through ear phones back and forth, from one ear to another) or tactile (the therapist alternates taps on your hands or you can hold two small paddles, through which a slight buzz is transmitted, from one hand to the other).

I didn't use the visual technique where you watch your therapist's finger go back and forth. I preferred to close my eyes but could feel them going back and forth after we began.  I also didn't use the technique with the therapist tapping on each side of your arms or hands (my memories include sexual trauma and thought it best I not be touched). I used the two small paddles which felt the most comfortable to me.  

I can't really offer up more than that since I've only just begun.   Being relaxed enough to begin was probably one of the more difficult tasks for me. Smiling (click to insert in post)

And I just wanted to offer up a big ol  .

~DreamGirl
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« Reply #84 on: April 13, 2010, 12:19:09 AM »

As background:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy that is thought to help people process traumatic experience. Essentially, you go into a traumatic experience while doing something that activates one of your senses across the brain, like watching a light travel back and forth or listening to sounds in alternate ears. (See www.emdria.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=56 and the workshop DreamGirl linked to.) There's good evidence that it works--it does help people get over trauma. There's not a lot of understanding of exactly HOW it works. From emdria.com:

Excerpt
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

Druyan, in answer to your question, EMDR didn't bring up additional memories for me. It did exactly what the quote says--gave me the ability to cope with the memories I had in a less distressing way. It also helped me connect things that I hadn't connected before. I have a lot of traumatic memory loss, so I have fragments, feelings, sensations, associations, and some actual memories. EMDR made it all more coherent.

How are you doing?  xoxox

B&W
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« Reply #85 on: April 13, 2010, 06:20:49 AM »

Hi D,

My primary T isn't trained in EMDR, so I needed to add another T.  It took me two tries to find the right T, but it has made a difference.  She did the auditory tones - I wore a headset and the 'beep' went from one ear to the other.  From my understanding, it 'balances' the brain. 

The most important thing is to have a T that you trust.  During the session, I would start out with one memory-and sometimes, one thing would lead to another, or we'd stay on the same memory. During the session, she would 'check in' with me to find out what was happening.  And I always had the option of stopping...

Does that help?

js

It's made a difference - even though it does sound a little 'new age'. 
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« Reply #86 on: April 13, 2010, 10:35:39 AM »

Druyan, in answer to your question, EMDR didn't bring up additional memories for me. It did exactly what the quote says--gave me the ability to cope with the memories I had in a less distressing way. It also helped me connect things that I hadn't connected before. I have a lot of traumatic memory loss, so I have fragments, feelings, sensations, associations, and some actual memories. EMDR made it all more coherent.

How are you doing?  xoxox

B&W

Doing OK. I spoke with a T locally that does EMDR but she doesn't take any insurance so it's too pricey for me at the moment. She is the only one I found in the area so far that does EMDR.

Mom called early this morning while DH was still out (he has our cell in the mornings) and he didn't answer. Again she didn't leave a message. I am just trying to figure out what to do next. My last T didn't really work out for me as I only was allowed 6 sessions. Just wondering what comes next I guess.

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« Reply #87 on: June 05, 2010, 08:30:20 PM »

Thanks Skip for the bump. I had not seen this workshop.

I have experienced EMDR. I have found myself very jumpy and emotional for about a week following a session but I believe EMDR was a great contributer to my "escape" from the abusive relationship I was caught in with the BPD. I feel I was able to cut through the fog and see what really was, not what he told me it was. He frequently used my past trauma and the PTSD as "proof" that I was the one with the problem, that I was seeing in him all the horrible things that someone else had done, that I was mentally ill and no one else would want me so I should stick with him if I did not want to be alone for the rest of my life...

I hope it is okay for me to mention another form of bodywork that has a great deal of use in treating trauma. I will include a "disclaimer" of sorts that I am trained in this method. Jin Shin Do Acupressure sessions have helped me access a lot of of my feelings about the events of my life and perhaps even allowed me a glimpse into possible reasons why these things have occurred. Much of this knowledge comes in metaphor, based on archetypes and other symbolic form. My belief is that looking at trauma and oneself in this manner depersonalizes it in a sense, making the information a little easier to "take". I have found myself in a sensitive emotional state for a short time after Jin Shin Do treatment but the discomfort was shorter lived than after EMDR.

Here is an article:www.jinshindo.org/healingaftertrauma.htm

Practitioners are listed on another page on the website. I wish there were more of them around.
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« Reply #88 on: June 07, 2010, 10:10:19 AM »

I have been doing EMDR with my therapist for a while now.  The installments that we've done have helped me.  There are other traumatic experiences with my uBPDh that I need to work on that we have not gotten to yet.  I'm amazed at the outcome for those that we have worked on, though.  The end result is practically a complete 180 from where I begin in the session.  I realize that's the point, but it still amazes me.  In fact, one particular traumatic episode we worked on -- I tried to focus on the episode days/weeks later and my brain would not let me feel scared of it.  I actually chuckled as I wasn't able to produce a fearful response...not even a tear.  I think that's cool.

I use small disks - one in each hand - that vibrate alternately while you're remembering the experience.  I keep my eyes closed throughout an installment because it feels safer to me.

For the most part, my brain will not let me go back to those traumatic experiences.  I have blocked them out.  I instead remember good times or not-bad times with my H.  But in many circumstances in daily life since I left him, I have a panic attack or anxiety attack from what seems like an ordinary happening.  It is something ordinary, actually, but it was generally an ordinary occurrence that my H caused to be a traumatic event -- taking a shower, going to the bathroom, preparing dinner, washing clothes, sleeping, talking on the phone, driving a car, etc.  The EMDR is helping me to reprocess those traumatic events so that I can have full realization that they happened, but not feel panic, anxiety or fear from them.  Again, it's cool.
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« Reply #89 on: June 10, 2010, 04:16:57 PM »

Quack Watch has had EMDR on their radar of less then scientific approaches to he world for a while...

www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/emdr.html
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« Reply #90 on: June 11, 2010, 09:58:44 AM »

Quack Watch has had EMDR on their radar of less then scientific approaches to he world for a while...

www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/emdr.html

Stephen Barrett, MD, writer/ringleader at Quackwatch, was trained in psychiatry but was unable to attain board certification and therefore could not build a viable practice. He frequently attacks nutritional issues but is not trained in nutritional science. He assaults various forms of therapeutic bodywork in which he has received no training. He meets the definition of someone who is attempting to pass himself off as something he is not. I think that could be one of the many definitions of the word "Quack".

What Dr. Barrett does not do is question the effects or safety of prescription drugs and allopathic medicine. Being trained in psychiatry might make him qualified to comment on EMDR but I have found enough falsehood and bias in his "reports" to doubt anything he has to say. 

I for one do not care if it is a "scientific approach" or not. I am intelligent enough to do my own research and give it a try if I feel it is safe for me to do so. So I did and I am just fine, thank you very much.

Sorry for the diversion. I am going to go do my yoga now. I'm gonna guess the quack has something to say about that as well...
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« Reply #91 on: February 08, 2011, 05:50:08 AM »

It has been some time since all the trauma of this R/S .  At times i have felt stuck in my grieving process.

Its like the paid is always below the surface.. Not totally understading why, or where or how its still lingering..  Other than the fact that I will have to find peace and closure within myself and highly not likely to talk,with her to make peace with the past or get my closure..

Not talking with her not for my closure, or get things off my chest. or hell just do cure "the moments when i feel inner rage myself" by reading this forum , the results would be likely to backfire in my face or me just feleing worse... Like there is no winning withthese people.

Also just a gut feeeling that I will not be respected or herd. and probably hung up on! 

So, i hear of this EMDR, Therapy?   I wanted t try it.. its really wierd because i herd of my XUBPW looking into it... so i was investigating and was like wow,,  this could be good for me.


any thoughts?   


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« Reply #92 on: February 08, 2011, 07:08:02 AM »

Just read about that on google...umm sounds very interesting, i think i might mention it to my T on thursday...nice find CVA Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #93 on: February 08, 2011, 07:19:28 AM »

I had a number of sessions for PTSD after some violent incidents with my exH. 

I found it helpful.  Kind of dumbed down the intensity of past memories.

I don't think it's necessarily curative, but it's basically like turning down the volume. 

Helpful, yes. 
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« Reply #94 on: February 08, 2011, 07:56:28 AM »

CVA:

I had two sessions, yes.  The irony about it is that this particular T is one that I identified on behalf of my ex when she revealed to me (as excuse/rationalization for her multiple cyber/phone affairs) that her brother had sexually and physically abused her when she was a young girl.  After my ex cancelled the appointment, began painting me black for getting too close to her real identity (or lack thereof), I went to the T myself.  This very gifted T is the one who helped me to understand that my ex is likely BPD.

In the meantime, my T, in helping me through the shock of betrayal, grief, etc., helped me to focus on me, and as a result, she suggested a session of EMDR.  What resulted were exploration of traumatic events I went through as a young child, almost all of which either had to do with my witnessing or empathizing for women in crisis or pain, and in one case, my unresolved survivor guilt for the loss by death in a car accident (I was also in the car) of my "little girlfriend" when I was about six years old.

EMDR was a helpful tool in allowing me to understand my attachment to a BPD and my underlying need to be a heroic rescuer, one obviously capable of ignoring all of the warning signs and Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) associated with a love relationship with a BPD.
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« Reply #95 on: February 08, 2011, 09:49:20 AM »

Quack Watch has had EMDR on their radar of less then scientific approaches to he world for a while...

www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/emdr.html

Stephen Barrett, MD, writer/ringleader at Quackwatch, was trained in psychiatry but was unable to attain board certification and therefore could not build a viable practice. He frequently attacks nutritional issues but is not trained in nutritional science. He assaults various forms of therapeutic bodywork in which he has received no training. He meets the definition of someone who is attempting to pass himself off as something he is not. I think that could be one of the many definitions of the word "Quack".

The Author wasn't Bartlett. 
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« Reply #96 on: March 01, 2011, 02:46:31 AM »

I have PTSD and have undergone EMDR for the last year. It works. I have been doing a lot of reading about EMDR because honestly I wasn't sure if it would work on me.

My T explained it like this to me. People with PTSD have active memories that feel *real* - Normally a memory after an even goes into an inactive *folder* if you will. EMDR helps to put an active memory into the inactive *folder* (Paraphrasing) So far so good.

Some memories are very hard to deal with and can take several attempts to put them in their place, and memories that have been active for a long time are sometimes hard to EMDR.  I remember there were a couple of rough sessions where after the session I felt more anxiety but over the next few days the *memory* seemed to be pulled out of active and placed into inactive. My T said that it was okay if that happened.

M T said that EMDR should only be done when there is a comprehensive history done and that could take multiple sessions, she also states that there needs to be a trust built between T and patient.

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« Reply #97 on: August 09, 2012, 11:24:41 AM »

Hi

I just want to share this

I started EMDR therapy years ago to heal some past stuff: a sexual assault, and childhood stuff. At that time I was focusing on those events, and it was VERY helpful. Then I took years off from therapy and among other things got involved in the long term unhealthy relationship that led me here.

I recently started to do the therapy again, and this time I am focusing on the original wounds that led me to be the codependent person I have been, and a person with a radar for abusive, unavailable relationships, etc.

It is a very easy therapy to do, and my experience is that the more you go in prepared the better the results. I have spent the last several months clarifying and writing down and poring over journals and self reflections to get to some "core tapes" or statements that repeat in my head. These are the statements that are my core wound acting out.

The EmDR therapist has you say the statements, think about the event, or try to connect with a trauma or feeling or thought form. Then they do the therapy. WHile you are being guided with the eye movement, the issue kind of unravels and you speak out lousd what you feel, see or remember.

I then write it all out, and formulate counter statements or beliefs to the detrimental ones.

It has been so helpful for me. WHat we have been uncovering is not what I really CONSCIOUSLY thought I was playing out.

So, I am really getting alot of feedback confirming that EMDR is working on the more unconscious tapes at play that are very difficult to undo with conventional therapy or just realizations of them.

Conventional therapy is good, but I am findiing that this unconscious tapping into and defusing is so much what I need to move on and out of MY PART in my unhealthy relationships.

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« Reply #98 on: August 09, 2012, 01:41:28 PM »

I'd love to look into EMDR, but I kind of live in the country. If I went, I'd need to drive at least 50 miles away. How many sessions does a person usually go?
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« Reply #99 on: August 09, 2012, 03:37:26 PM »

I go weekly, usually do the EMDR work one week then examining and processing what Ive learned the next.

Lat time I did it for a few months, covering a lot of stuff.

I think it just depends on what you want to clear out.
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« Reply #100 on: August 09, 2012, 05:28:18 PM »

I've been doing it too---just started three months ago---and it's incredibly potent.  Life-changing
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« Reply #101 on: August 09, 2012, 08:56:50 PM »

My T specializes in EMDR. He never applied it on me. He says that I respond well to talk therapy although he is open to try it on me at some point. He uses it more for PTSD.

He told me about one client that was involved in a horrific accident where a family member next to her was killed by another large vehicle smashing at their car from the opposite direction runnng over the family member.  The client was unable to drive after that due to PTSD. After that one and only session of EMDR the client never came back. However, the letter from the client came after few months  in which she said that the session was "weird" but after that one session she was able to drive again and pass the place where the accident happened without being triggered!

My T said that it is hard to predict how someone will react to EMDR and sometimes reaction to EMDR is so amazing. He uses hypnosis too but he did not use it on me although I am curious about it as well.

My first wife is a T and she too uses EMDR and hypnosis successfuly for different issues as an addition to talk therapy.

Here is a rather technical yet interesting paper (link to a PDF file is at the bottom) about integrated use of talk therapy, EMDR and hypnosis:

www.hypnosisandsuggestion.org/hypnosis-and-emdr.html

Does it work for BPD? You would think it could be helpful.
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« Reply #102 on: August 09, 2012, 09:01:11 PM »

My T suggested it because she thought PTSD from my childhood made me more susceptible to my xBPDbf and also made detaching more difficult.  She said it's used a lot with veterans or people who experience single traumatic events, but it's also useful for chronic trauma, like you might experience in a chaotic family growing up, or even with a pwBPD.
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« Reply #103 on: August 09, 2012, 09:45:28 PM »

I dont know why it is not used for BPD, although, I imagine hell would freeze over before my exH BPD/N would even be able to admit to himself the traumas, behaviors, etc, that are necessary to be aware of.

I know it is addressing single events, and long term chronic behavior in my FOO. But, I did have to do the prep work, which my T says a lot of her clients do not do, and they end up having to work longer.

Identifying the core tapes that play in your mind is fantastic to do regardless..An example: just one of mine has to do with "appearing pretty at all costs" This was something I was completely unaware of. We go into the work, and that statement unravels into the events that actually shaped the thoughts into being: Sexual abuse, being painted black by my mother if I spoke up about what was wrong.

"Appearing pretty at all cost" is a horrifying anxiety generating feeling wound. It was one of the main things that kept me where I was in my awful marriage for 10 years. I was desperate not to relive the trauma that occurred when I was deemed to be exhibiting "unpretty" behavior or lets say the opposite, pretty behavior would be ;WALKING ON EGGSHELLS.

So much. I cannot even say.

I have used several tools for this unravelling down to the core wound tapes.

One thing is radical forgiveness sheets. by colin tipping. They are free online, but an incredible tool. you can just google radical forgiveness. they have one for forgiving others, and one for SELF forgiveness. Either way, it really boils it down, (However cheezy it may be) in a concise way to a few statements.

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« Reply #104 on: August 11, 2012, 01:35:56 PM »

Hope this helps

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!

Skip


-   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -  

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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« Reply #105 on: August 17, 2012, 05:01:08 PM »

Hi,

I've been doing EMDR for PTSD for about a year. Since people with PTSD have traumatic memories only partially processed, they are not "filed" as past, no-longer-harmful memories. EMDR accesses those memories (the bilateral stimulation allows for that), and then through the process led by the T, the person with PTSD is able to reprocess the memory in a way that takes the "trauma charge" out of it.

Depending on the severity of the trauma(s), the process may have to be repeated many times. I have found it very helpful.
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« Reply #106 on: August 17, 2012, 05:36:23 PM »

Thank you GreenMango and numenal, very helpful.

I've discussed with my T and we both see EMDR as being potentially very helpful for me in the future. I'm in the thick of a breakthrough crisis and so the focus for now is on learning to ground myself as my emotions are rather overwhelming at this point. 

With respect to my childhood bullying, I have a handful of visual memories disconnected from much emotion. And where the abuse by uBPDm is the concerned, it seems that I have nothing but huge grief and abandonment panic, but all memories (other than very vague ones), are blanked.

So, I am very interested to experience EMDR and see how all this (hopefully) comes together. One day...
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« Reply #107 on: August 17, 2012, 05:49:13 PM »

Once you do a few sessions, you might find deeper memories accessed. EMDR can go layer by layer, providing you trust your T and relax into it.
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« Reply #108 on: September 17, 2012, 12:00:53 PM »

I did EMDR a couple of years ago after a car accident triggered PTSD from earlier trauma. Because my traumatic events were

Acute rather than chronic my therapy was quite focused and took only a few sessions. I was amazed by how effective it was for me, tho my regular therapist (not my EMDR t) cautioned me that it doesn't work for everyone. However, for those it does work for it can be amazing. Good luck!
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« Reply #109 on: November 22, 2012, 04:54:52 AM »

I'm going to start EMDR therapy this month. Eye Movement Desensitization Response is a treatment for PTSD. Thoughts?
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« Reply #110 on: November 22, 2012, 05:22:34 AM »

Yes, I have.  I didn't even know my therapist was doing it, but he did ask me before starting if I was willing to try something different.  It was pretty intense, and definitely had a lasting impact, one that I can draw upon today.

It started with him having me close my eyes and think of being in a dark movie theater, by myself, looking up at a blank white screen.  He then asked me to think about the situation that I was having issues with, and walk through it with him.  He told me to open my eyes and started moving his fingers slowly back and forth in front of my eyes, side to side, continuing to have me walk through the situation.  He would bring me back to the blank movie screen every so often, and then intensified his finger movement, having me think about the trauma, and finally stopped, had me think of the movie screen one more time, and then sat in silence.  I cried.

Now, if I think of sitting in a dark theater, looking at that movie screen, it brings a feeling of calm over me.  Very interesting.
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« Reply #111 on: November 22, 2012, 06:27:48 AM »

Thanks, want2know! I've been trying to break through a blocked memory for some time now, and my T thinks this will help. The saNPDlay is helpful, but not with this particular chunk. It feels like my memory time-codes are scrambled surrounding the event.  Nervous but hopeful. Will write after.
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« Reply #112 on: November 22, 2012, 06:38:46 AM »

Definitely let us know how it goes.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Be prepared for some feelings that you may not have tapped into yet - but that is a good thing.  Just go with it, and don't think too much about the process.  Focus on his fingers and your thoughts and emotions.  Let it flow. 
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« Reply #113 on: November 27, 2012, 12:02:12 AM »

I've been seeing an EMDR therapist since 2006 through my ex-BPDw's ups and downs. The therapy really helped me work through 'old stuff' that I hadn't been addressing.  This really helped me become a stronger person, and ultimately I had the power to divorce my ex in 2010.

I don't know where I would be today without EMDR.  My sessions were often very powerful...life changing experience. 

Give it a try!

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« Reply #114 on: December 07, 2012, 05:36:57 AM »

Had my 1st EMDR session this week. I was impressed with the effects I noticed during and after. We picked a target memory and did about 5 iterations of the eye movement and recall. I was able to retrieve more detail from the fog and it was strangely not painful. A day or two later, I tuned out during a long conversation and my mind drifted to the memory. I calmly recalled even more previously blocked details and a glimmer of insight into what it meant. Pretty cool.
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« Reply #115 on: January 28, 2013, 02:41:51 PM »

My husband has been going to his Therapist for around 7 months now and she is wanting him to start doing EMDR for half of his sessions with her for PTSD. I know sort of what it is but I was just wondering if anyone had expeirience with their SO getting this type of Therapy along with DBT.

It seems like a silly therpy with the tapping but I am hopeful for anything to help him. I find that he seems to get sort of raw after his sessions because he's opening up old wounds. It's not uncommon for him to come home after therapy and be in a bad mood. Not really something I look forward to. Just wondering if this Therapy will have the same effect. Has anyone delt with something like this before?
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« Reply #116 on: March 16, 2013, 06:48:50 PM »

It's true, sometimes in any kind of psychotherapy people feel worse before they feel better. But EMDR is really the most gentle way I've ever known to treat trauma. I hope his therapist has done a lot of preparation work!

I'm a therapist who uses EMDR as my primary treatment psychotherapy and I've also personally had EMDR therapy for anxiety, panic, grief, and “small t” trauma. As a client, EMDR worked extremely well and also really fast. As an EMDR therapist, and in my role as a facilitator who trains other therapists in EMDR (certified by the EMDR International Assoc. and trained by the EMDR Inst, both of which I strongly recommend in an EMDR therapist) I have used EMDR successfully with panic disorders, trauma and PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, body image, phobias, distressing memories, bad dreams and more...  

It's really crucial that the therapist spends enough time in one of the initial phases (Phase 2) in EMDR that involves preparing for memory processing or desensitization (memory processing or desensitization - phases 3-6 - is often referred to as "EMDR" which is actually an 8-phase psychotherapy). In this phase resources are "front-loaded" so that he has "floor" or "container" to help with processing the really hard stuff. In Phase 2 one learns a lot of great coping strategies and self-soothing techniques which can be used during EMDR processing or anytime one feels the need.

Grounding exercises are indispensable in everyday life, and really essential in stressful times. Anyone can use some of the techniques in Dr. Shapiro's new book "Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR." Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). Anyway, the book is terrific. It's an easy read, helps you understand what's "pushing" your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life. Also teaches readers lots of helpful techniques that can be used immediately and that are also used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings. This book would be helpful for you, for yourself and to help your husband through this difficult but incredibly important time.

As I’ve mentioned about Phase 2, during EMDR therapy one learns how to access a “Safe or Calm Place” which can be used at ANY TIME during EMDR processing (or on one's own) if it feels scary, or too emotional, too intense. One of the key assets of EMDR is that  the client is in control NOW, even though not during past events. Your husband NEVER need re-live an experience or go into great detail, ever! He NEVER needs to go through the entire memory. HE can decide to keep the lights (or the alternating sounds and/or tactile pulsars, or the waving hand) going, or stop them, whichever helps titrate – measure and adjust the balance or “dose“ of the processing. During EMDR processing there are regular “breaks” and one can control when and how many but the therapist should be stopping the bilateral stimulation every 25-50 passes of the lights to ask him to take a deep breath and ask him to say just a bit of what he's noticing. (The stimulation should not be kept on continuously, because there are specific procedures that need to be followed to process the memory). The breaks help keep a “foot in the present” while processing the past. Again, and I can’t say this enough, The CLIENT is IN CHARGE and has the power to make the process tolerable. And the therapist should be experienced in the EMDR techniques that help make it the gentlest and safest way to neutralize bad life experiences and build resources.

Pacing and dosing are critically important. So if you think his therapy is too intense  (and of course, if he agrees!) then it might be time to ask his therapist to go back over all the resources that should be used both IN session and BETWEEN sessions. The therapist should be using a variety of techniques to make painful processing less painful, like suggesting he turns the scene in his mind to black and white, lower the volume, or, erect a bullet-proof glass wall between him and the painful scene, or, imagine the abuser(s) speaking in a Donald Duck voice...   and so forth. There are a lot of these kinds of "interventions" that ease the processing. They are called "cognitive interweaves" that the therapist can use, and that also can help bring one's adult self's perspective into the work (or even an imaginary Adult Perspective). Such interweaves are based around issues of Safety, Responsibility, and Choice. So therapist questions like "are you safe now?" or "who was responsible? and "do you have more choices now?" are all very helpful in moving the processing along.

In addition to my therapy practice, I roam the web looking for EMDR discussions, try to answer questions about it posted by clients/patients, and respond to the critics out there. It's not a cure-all therapy. However, it really is an extraordinary psychotherapy and its results last. In the hands of a really experienced EMDR therapist, it's the most gentle way of working through disturbing experiences.

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« Reply #117 on: November 25, 2013, 08:06:08 PM »

Does anyone have first hand knowledge of a BPD being treated with EMDR? My ex (not certain if diagnosed or not) is beginning this, and I have done a little reading up on it. It sounds interesting.
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« Reply #118 on: November 25, 2013, 11:33:34 PM »

I did some search and I found a study from Germany from 2006. Yes, this sounds interesting.

Results of psychodynamically oriented trauma–focused inpatient treatment for women with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Ulrich Sachsse, Christina Vogel, Falk Leichsenring,

University of Kassel and Psychiatric State Hospital of Lower Saxony Goettingen, Germany

Goettingen and Northeim, Germany

Psychotherapy at the University of Goettingen and Clinic of Tiefenbrunn, Goettingen, Germany



"In a naturalistic outcome study, the authors evaluated the results of a specific psychodynamically oriented trauma–focused inpatient treatment for women with complex posttraumatic stress disorder and concomitant borderline personality disorder, self–mutilating behavior, and depression. At admission, the frequency of self–mutilating behavior and the amount of inpatient treatment (an average of 68 days annually) of the sample was high, characterizing this patient group as “previously therapy resistant.” Treatment outcome was assessed both at the end of treatment and in a 1–year follow–up. In comparison with a treatment–as-usual control group, the treatment program brought about significant and stable improvements both in trauma–specific symptoms (e.g. dissociation, intrusion, avoidance) and in general psychiatric symptoms (e.g., general symptom distress, frequency of self–mutilating behavior, number of hospitalizations). The frequency of inpatient treatments (hospitalizations) decreased dramatically (< 10 days annually; effect size: d = 2.88)."

Read More: www.guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/bumc.2006.70.2.125
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« Reply #119 on: October 09, 2014, 12:20:47 AM »

Since my break up with my exBPDgf back in March I've been in therapy. Most of what I have been doing so far has been I guess considered cbt. But today I start working a little bit with emdr (eye moment desensitizing and reprocessing). It's something I've wanted to try for years but haven't been able to find a therapist who offers it until now. As a child I suffered abuse from an older brother and I feel it was a contributing factor to why Ive always had such low confidence and self esteem and ultimately turn me into the codependent I am today. I'm also hoping to use it for the trauma I faced with my. Have any of you guys done any emdr stuff?. If so, what are your expirences?
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« Reply #120 on: October 09, 2014, 06:16:27 AM »

In EMDR therapy, it’s really crucial that a professionally trained therapist spends enough time in one of the initial phases (Phase 2) that involves preparing for memory processing or desensitization (memory processing or desensitization – phases 3-6 – is often referred to as “EMDR” which is actually an 8-phase psychotherapy). In this phase resources are “front-loaded” so that you have a “floor” or “container” to help with processing the really hard stuff. In Phase 2 you learn a lot of great coping strategies and self-soothing techniques which you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need. So if you start feeling overwhelmed or that it’s too intense, you can ground yourself (with your therapist’s help in session, and on your own between sessions) and feel safe enough to continue the work. While EMDR therapy (any any efficacious treatment for trauma) does not go “digging” for buried memories, sometimes memory does become more clear, and related memories emerge which can then become targets of their own for EMDR processing.

Grounding exercises are indispensable in everyday life, and really essential in stressful times. Anyone can use some of the techniques in Dr. Shapiro’s new book “Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR.” Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). Anyway, the book is terrific. It’s an easy read, helps you understand what’s “pushing” your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life. Also teaches readers lots of helpful techniques that can be used immediately and that are also used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings.

As I’ve mentioned about Phase 2, during EMDR therapy you learn coping strategies and self-soothing techniques that you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need. You learn how to access a “Safe or Calm Place” which you can use at ANY TIME during EMDR processing (or on your own) if it feels scary, or too emotional, too intense. It can also be a place of comfort, or courage, or strength, if it's hard to imagine a safe or calm place. One of the key assets of EMDR is that YOU, the client, are in control NOW, even though you likely were not during past events. You NEVER need re-live an experience or go into great detail, ever! You NEVER need to go through the entire memory. YOU can decide to keep the lights (or the alternating sounds and/or tactile pulsars, or the waving hand) going, or stop them, whichever helps titrate – measure and adjust the balance or “dose“ of the processing. During EMDR processing there are regular “breaks” and you can control when and how many but the therapist should be stopping the bilateral stimulation every 25-50 passes of the lights to ask you to take a deep breath and ask you to say just a bit of what you’re noticing. (The stimulation should not be kept on continuously, because there are specific procedures that need to be followed to process the memory). The breaks help keep a “foot in the present” while you’re processing the past. Again, and I can’t say this enough, YOU ARE IN CHARGE so YOU can make the process tolerable. And your therapist should be experienced in the EMDR techniques that help make it the gentlest and safest way to neutralize bad life experiences and build resources.

Pacing and dosing are critically important. So if you ever feel that EMDR processing is too intense then it might be time to go back over all the resources that should be used both IN session and BETWEEN sessions. Your therapist should be using a variety of techniques to make painful processing less painful, like suggesting you turn the scene in your mind to black and white, lower the volume, or, erect a bullet-proof glass wall between you and the painful scene, or, imagine the abuser speaking in a Donald Duck voice… and so forth. There are a lot of these kinds of “interventions” that ease the processing. They are called “cognitive interweaves” that your therapist can use, and that also can help bring your adult self’s perspective into the work (or even an imaginary Adult Perspective). Such interweaves are based around issues of Safety, Responsibility, and Choice. So therapist questions like “are you safe now?” or “who was responsible? and “do you have more choices now?” are all very helpful in moving the processing along.

DBT is considered the best treatment for BPD. However, that said, EMDR is also excellent for BPD so if I were you, I'd do both. They work well together.

I’m a therapist who uses EMDR as my primary treatment psychotherapy and I’ve also personally had EMDR therapy for anxiety, panic, grief, and “small t” trauma. As a client, EMDR worked extremely well and also really fast. As an EMDR therapist, and in my role as a facilitator who trains other therapists in EMDR (certified by the EMDR International Assoc. and trained by the EMDR Institute, both of which I strongly recommend in an EMDR therapist) I have used EMDR successfully with panic disorders, single incident trauma and complex/chronic PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, body image, phobias, distressing memories, birth trauma, bad dreams and more…In addition to my therapy practice, I roam the web looking for EMDR discussions, try to answer questions about it posted by clients/patients, and respond to the critics out there. It’s not a cure-all therapy. However, it really is an extraordinary psychotherapy and its results last. In the hands of a really experienced EMDR therapist, it’s the most gentle way of working through disturbing experiences.

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« Reply #121 on: October 09, 2014, 10:41:30 AM »

I'm a very skeptic person. Especially when it comes to this kind of therapy.

However, it worked. It changed me in a positive way. Alot more confidence and closed off bad situations ( Like having a relationship with someone who suffers from BPD )

I recommend it to everyone.
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« Reply #122 on: December 14, 2015, 05:17:27 PM »

Does anyone know about this technique as a self-help option? This is for me, not him.

www.emdr.com/product/getting-past-your-past-cd/

Thanks!

JS
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« Reply #123 on: August 08, 2016, 05:32:50 AM »

Ok. This morning I had my first appointment.
He is fat, short, no hair, big smile.

As soon as I sit down, he watches me...and fetches his box of paper tissues and gives it to me. The floods started :-)

He agrees with me. EMDR is the right approach. But he thinks it will be necessary to add other strategies too.
He told me to cry. To cry for a big fat month. Then I will get tired of it. Before I can get angry I must cry, mourn my project with him.
Then he promised me I will be in another place in ten weeks.
And I believe him.

I promised to write him a letter anytime I feel overwhelmed and oppressed. And to bring my letters to him. We will tear them up together.
He asked me to stop trying to understand, as difficult as it is. "Ambiguity has no answers to any question" he said.

I want to get stronger for the moment he comes back. All I want is spitting my ex in the face. "This is a good plan" My therapist smiled.

We have not started EMDR we will when he has enough information.

Knowing my therapist is with me is empowering. I think I found the right one.

Hope it helps someone.

By the way. I asked him":)id my ex really want me to go with another man?"
He answered"Yes. In that moment."
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« Reply #124 on: August 08, 2016, 05:37:47 AM »

well done this is great  , have been reading this is a therapy used in CPTSD.

be interested to find out how it goes.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) 
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« Reply #125 on: August 08, 2016, 05:39:27 AM »


By the way. I asked him":)id my ex really want me to go with another man?"
He answered"Yes. In that moment."

he is right, in that moment he probably did but the moments change as quick as the blink of an eye  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

he is good Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #126 on: August 08, 2016, 05:59:49 AM »

Unforgiven,

His approach seems unorthodox but also quite insightful and intuitive.

He shows good understanding of the BPD mindset when he says " In that moment..."

Please post about EMDR and let us know how it proceeds
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« Reply #127 on: August 08, 2016, 12:55:46 PM »

Yes, please do let us know the progress of the EMDR. My therapist mentioned starting that with me soon for my CPTSD. I find it very exciting and encouraging!

I'm glad that you found someone that you feel is on your side and is empowering to you. That certainly is a bonus!

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #128 on: August 10, 2016, 12:28:36 AM »

Very interested to hear how this goes. EMDR is something I'm considering as well. I actually do think the topic is relevant to those of us having a really hard time detaching, so I'm sorry it was moved from that board, but I will enable notifications in hopes that the OP checks in again.
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« Reply #129 on: August 24, 2016, 05:45:09 AM »

Hi all,

In the span of 30 minutes, EMDR changed my life for the better. Nothing else has ever come close to the emotional and obsessive thinking relief it provided. Sounds like a good therapist. Good luck!

 
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« Reply #130 on: August 24, 2016, 08:26:26 AM »

How does it work boatman?
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« Reply #131 on: August 24, 2016, 09:33:16 AM »

Hi Moselle,

After a few sessions of my therapist getting to know me and helping me identify painful memories and feelings to target, we did about 30 minutes of EMDR. I had my choice of looking at two alternating flashing lights, listening to two alternating tones or holding onto two small alternately vibrating paddles. I chose the paddles, they aren't very big, they fit between my thumb and fingers. Once we had identified a target memory and accompanying feeling, and I had it in my mind, she would turn on the vibrating paddles, usually for 15 - 45 seconds. After each time, she would ask me the last image in my mind, then we would go again. During the vibration, I just watched the movie of thoughts roll through my mind. At the end, she would check back in with me to see if the same feeling was attached to the memory. The first time I did it, the fight or flight/ anxious response I was having in response to an obsessive memory was eliminated. Also, the memory no longer chronically comes up for me.

I hope my explanation makes sense. If not I'd be happy to explain further. 
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« Reply #132 on: August 24, 2016, 09:54:59 AM »

This is fascinating stuff. I know it's based on the emotional healing we get from REM sleep every night. If you have any more details I would be very interested.

So this exercise separates the physical sensation from the thought/memory or trigger?

So just to use a recent example. My ex sent me an abusive email 2 hours ago. Promising legal action, arrest, threats, shaming me. I was shocked or triggered for about an hour. Because she often follows through with her threats and I just want peace. I would love to separate the memory from the feeling.

Was your memory and response similar to this type of thing? Please don't feel like you have to share your memory, but is this a typical type of memory and response for EMDR?
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« Reply #133 on: August 24, 2016, 04:23:51 PM »

Hi again Moselle,

EMDR is mainly used to treat PTSD. Oversimplifying PTSD, it's the process of the emotional/lower part of our brain responding as though an event is happening in the moment. In other words the memory of the event is in our implicit memory. EMDR helps to process the memory and move it to our narrative memory so it is just a memory and our lower brain no longer thinks it's happening in the moment. Most of the memories I processed were from some time ago, but if a current event is triggering your emotional brain into feeling something that is still implicitly connected to another painful event, then EMDR could help you to process the original emotions/event. I hope all this makes sense. I did quite a bit of reading on it before I tried it. "EMDR" by Shapiro and Forrest is a good resource.

 
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« Reply #134 on: August 24, 2016, 07:29:12 PM »

Thanks so much. Yes this does make alot of sense. Also thanks for the book reference.

I have some stuff from my childhood which I would like to address as well, though most of the actual memory is suppressed/ hidden. I shall get the book.
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« Reply #135 on: August 31, 2016, 04:22:54 AM »

I will start Emdr on Monday as until now I was too depressed to start. I will let you know how it goes.
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« Reply #136 on: August 31, 2016, 11:22:10 AM »

I'm curious about whether EMDR works for complex PTSD. I'm not sure how you would apply the technique to an emotional flashback, since there usually isn't much in the way of a concrete, specific memory involved. But maybe it does?

www.pete-walker.com/flashbackManagement.htm
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« Reply #137 on: August 31, 2016, 11:25:43 AM »

EMDR is supposed to work with cPTSD also. My T has talked using it in my situation.
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« Reply #138 on: September 06, 2016, 03:11:02 AM »

I started yesterday. It was amazing. After 30 minutes I felt much better. I had to imagine a "safe place" and I had to go "in" and "out" and when I was out I had to follow the movement of my therapist's fingers or he tapped on my hands. Anyway I felt much better. I am looking forward to continue.
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« Reply #139 on: October 01, 2016, 08:16:13 PM »

Hi all,

I am about a year out of a breakup with an uBPDxgf. Like many on here, the loss was absolutely devastating for me. I am in a much better place now but still am nowhere near where I would like to be or where I was before I met my ex. I have been in therapy for the past year. Therapy has helped and I really trust and connect with my therapist. He has recently suggested that he would like to begin EMDR in my therapy. i am not familiar with this therapy and I'm definitely uneducated on all the types of therapy out there. My question for the board and the more experienced members is do you believe EMDR is a efficient form of therapy when detaching from a realtionship with a borderline?

I'm doing research on it but I figured I'd ask those who may have experience with this specific therapy. For those who don't know EMDR is "eye movement desensitization reprocessing". It is used to facilitate processing of trama and traumatic memories.

Stay strong all! FF
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« Reply #140 on: October 02, 2016, 05:24:34 AM »

From what I recall in my research years ago, research was favorable that EMDR is quite effective.
(On phone, c an't look up links and such)

I started EMDR myself several months ago.  I have been in therapy throughout my life because of my FOO being abusive and having repeated those dynamics in relationships.

I have to say though that I had never worked with anyone who specifically worked many tools with trauma.  Just him being very well trauma trained has been huge and completely different than regular more "talk" type therapies.

The EMDR has been quite helpful too, however, we have yet to get to working on issues re the ex as other stuff keeps coming up. 

Feel free to ask specifics, just hard for me to ramble atm on this phone.
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« Reply #141 on: October 02, 2016, 12:10:36 PM »

Hello Flyfish,

I'm happy to help answer this question for you as I do have personal experience with EMDR. I'm sorry that you've had to come to the boards & how much your exBPDgf has affected you, it happens to all of us as you've come to learn.  You've taken a huge step in the right direction with therapy since most of us will tell you that it's one of the key's to getting over the hump during your BPD journey. You're certainly on a good path  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

In reference to your question & my personal experience with EMDR. Sunflower is correct in that this type of therapy is VERY affective / successful in helping the person deal with the traumatic moment or moments in their life. The military uses it for those suffering from PTSD ... not just from combat experience but rape of a service member, or other types of trauma experience. The numbers I was told by my military physiatrist was it's about 96% effective for those who complete the therapy. I also have a very personal buddy who has completed the therapy to a successful conclusion.

As for the therapy itself ... when I was told how the procedure / therapy would work I was rather skeptical of it all. My physiatrist "Ph.d" told me that she had treated Special Forces team members to individuals who wear stars on their shoulders who have to deal with the death of service members on their orders.  In my career I had to learn to compartmentalize everything from family to career events.

Before the EMDR therapy I couldn't think about much less talk about a 19 yr old who bled out all over me as I tried to save them without loosing it emtionally. I was actually ordered to go to therapy for a separate issue after I blew up at my C.O. When this event came up I again lost it in the therapist office. They sent me to the specialist Ph.D who conducted EMDR therapy.  I noticed a difference after my first session. I continued once a week with the Ph.d for the next 6 months until I was released from their care. No career ending issues ever came up & in fact it is encourage to seek out this type of treatment to learn to accept those events & move forward in life. To get back to becoming part of the team. After my treatment I was able to talk about the event to those who wanted to listen without loosing it. I certainly believe without this type of therapy I would still be in a bad place with that event in my past. My experience helped another PTSD sufferer seek out the same treatment with positive results as well. I know a woman who was rape & she conducted EMDR treatment & is in a much better place for this therapy.

How it works? I told my doc it was voodoo magic with them waving their finger & me responding in a positive manner. As you have read, EMDR desensitizes you to the event or events & helps you move forward in your life. I would almost guarantee that you will have successful results in a very short period of time starting with the very first session. And I would encourage you after your positive results to come back to the group & encourage others to seek out a certified & experienced "doc" in EMDR to help them.

Both my doc & my buddies doc told us that it would be a VERY stressful time for us during the therapy & to limit other stressful events in our lives in as much as is possible. You will relive the entire relationship with events, discussions, arguments, etc. but the doc will help you through it start waving their finger in front of your eyes to "realign & desensitize" your thoughts in the process. It's amazing how it works ... I am truly a believer in the therapy. If it can help us who have experience some of the worse things that a human being can experience I have NO DOUBT that it will help you & others with their experience with a BPD ex or family member. and for the record I did seek out a qualified EMDR specialist to help me move forward with my NOW exBPDgf.  From my previous experience it was a quicker process for me to get to a better place and leave her AND her flying monkey's on the crazy train that left the station as I waved good bye!

If you have questions feel free to send me a personal note.

J
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« Reply #142 on: October 02, 2016, 06:57:56 PM »

EMDR was life changing for me. I did more healing during 30 minutes of EMDR than I did in 4 years of therapy prior to that.
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« Reply #143 on: October 03, 2016, 07:20:19 AM »

Flyfish,

I'll jump in for a quick blurb.  I had read about EMDR a couple of months ago and asked my therapist about it.  She doesn't have any fancy equipment for EMDR so instead we opted for a lo-fi approach based on how she's administered it before.  Having complete trust in the therapist is a must.  Instead of using any lights, etc., I was relaxed in a couch and we focused on extremely painful memories from my marriage.  While moving my eyes back and forth and talking me through feeling the emotions of those painful moments (with me expressing them verbally), she tapped the tops of my hands alternately.  Both times I've done it, it was an extreme release of emotion for me...it felt like I could have cried for much longer had we not started focusing on positive cognitions at the end of the session.  I left feeling good both times and will definitely be open to trying it again.

bi
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