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Author Topic: TREATMENT: EMDR Therapy  (Read 7064 times)
Patti Jane Levin PsyD
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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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UnforgivenII
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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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Moselle
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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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Meili
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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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steelwork
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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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boatman
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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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Moselle
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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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boatman
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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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Moselle
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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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UnforgivenII
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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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Meili
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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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UnforgivenII
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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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boatman
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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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