Sunday, February 27, 2011

EMDR - part two

I started this as a reply to a comment on my last post and decided I may as well convert it to a post.

At this point, I am not going to include many details at this point, although I may in the future. At this point, I am still processing the sessions. The actual process for me is not what I imagined. I thought it would be more of an extended time of "free association" where you start with a target and stay with that for awhile. With this therapist, each "target" is for a minute. After the minute, you relate your images, feelings, body feelings, etc. and from that she picks a target for the next minute. That goes on 10-12 times. For example, after one interval I said something like "I don't want to go to bed" and that was my next target. After that it might have been "my body is so tense" and that would be the next target. And so on. Periodically, you go back to the initial scene/target to judge the intensity.

I'm not sure I have completely relaxed into it. I have not been able to use the eye tracking bar because my eyes are so dry that I have to blink a lot. I am using sound instead - the earphones are loose so I hear extraneous noises.

It is interesting that the continued shift of targets does lessen the intensity of the initial target during the session. Although, in my case, the intensity has gotten greater with the other associations.

There is a "grounding" exercise at the end of each session. It's funny - I am not into "woo woo" and tend to be a huge cynic about visualizing things and calming exercises. I realize this has probably been part of my hard protective shell. The grounding exercises are relaxing. Yesterday's session was intense and near the end when she asked where I went, I replied "I need my white light".

It's been an interesting experience. I haven't had new memories except perhaps sensations of something happening. It's also been interesting experiencing a second therapist. The EMDR T is much more direct and challenges what I say (outside of the EMDR part). My regular T is more reserved and less directly challenging. I'm realizing there is a place for both techniques.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quick follow up to EMDR/Bill Zeller

So I have been off the internet for a few weeks and had missed the story and posts about Bill Zeller. How how sad. I read his note in its entirety yesterday, and was struck that some of the phrases are nearly identical to some I've spoken to my T. I am struck by how similar the effects of early childhood abuse are across the board. The responses are different though and I also wonder about that. I have never considered self injury - what makes us different in that respect? Perhaps because my memories are few and the visions are fleeting? So so sad. It does make me hope that someday I can be an advocate for kids speaking out earlier. Without the feelings locked inside for 23 or 40 years.

EMDR - had the first session. It was disappointing. I felt like a failure. I'm not sure I was able to relax into it. The therapist wasn't disappointed though - she found my response "interesting" - something she has seen a few times, but not often. My present day response to EMDR was apparently paralleling my past. We will have another go at it at the end of the week. And I see my T between. I've been resisting the urge to call her to confess my failure.

One last thing - sometimes it is amazing to me how the littlest of comments can set off a tidal wave of thoughts. I was out last night with a friend and two of her friends. One was talking about the movie Blue Valentine. She made the comment - "She had an abusive childhood and wasn't really able to have a real relationship. You know - she couldn't get close to someone." Wow... when you're least expecting it, out of the blue it comes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So - my T and I came to an agreement about this and she gave me the go ahead to call another T last week. Of course, I know I could have done this on my own without the blessing of my T. I mentioned this once and got a very defensive reaction from my T.

At any rate, I met with the EMDR doc last night for the first session. This was basically a session where I told her part of my story (not many details at this point). We talked about where I was in my talk therapy at this point. We talked a bit about what I wanted to accomplish with EMDR. This was easier to talk about than I thought it might be. The goals seem so broad - not like checklist items, but she seemed to think they were good ones.

So - I liked her. As we talked and as I processed things afterwards, I thought about why I liked her and compared some things to my current T. For one, she had more facial expressions - seemed less reserved. Second, she voiced some opinions or at least validations in a way I hadn't heard before. And she asked questions.

Now - I know this might not have been a "usual" therapy session. It was our first one and it was in preparation for use of a specific tool. She is the consultant not the primary T. I may ask her if she thinks her approach is different in this setting than in her "routine" therapy.

I think this will be tricky for me. I met with my T tonight - she didn't know about the appt because it came up unexpectantly due to a cancellation. I'm sure I was projecting some of my feelings on her, but there definitely seemed to be a change in her demeanor. I wonder if she will find it difficult to share my care. And it will be hard for me not to compare them - I just hope I don't say anything that my T finds insulting.

I also need to make a decision as to whether I want my T there for the actual EMDR sessions. At first I thought it would be important for her to be there and comforting for me. Now, I'm not so sure.