EMDR as insurance
Friday, May 17, 2013
There is research that suggests that there are certain spots during weight loss for the morbidly obese that may be easily sabotaged. Generally those spots are at the weight when something difficult may have happened, according to what I have researched. One of the ways to move through a traumatic event that is "stuck" in the limbic, or primitive, brain is to use EMDR, which helps to neurologically process it so that it becomes unstuck and can recede into the past. I have several of those potentially "stuck" spots and did some EMDR yesterday with a trusted person. It was extremely helpful, if tiring. But I can say without a doubt that I am doing all I can to ensure that I can be successful at regaining and maintaining health!
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It's great that you've already found EMDR therapy helpful! I'm a therapist who uses EMDR as my primary method and I've also personally had EMDR therapy for anxiety and grief, so I'd like to say more about this psychotherapy! As a client, EMDR worked extremely well and also really fast (just a few sessions) on my problems. I just want to add that in my experience as an EMDR therapist and in my role as a facilitator who trains other therapists in EMDR (certified by the EMDR International Association and trained by the EMDR Institute, both of which I strongly recommend you look for in an EMDR Level II therapist) I have used EMDR successfully with PTSD, anxiety issues, depression, grief, body image (weight etc.), phobias, panic attacks, distressing memories, and bad dreams. And probably more stuff that I can't remember at the moment. Other EMDR therapists are more proficient in using it for eating disorders, OCD, dissociative disorders, addictions, etc. It's a very gentle method with no "down-side" so that in the hands of a professional EMDR therapist, there should be no freak-outs or worsening of day-to-day functioning.
Your experience with EMDR as you describe it sounds significantly "less than" the true method even though you had benefit from what you did. While EMDR may sound simple, it's definitely more complex than your description.
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, and it sounds like you "jumped right into" the memory processing without any Phase 2 preparation, but please forgive me if I've made an incorrect assumption!). 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.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. One of the key assets of EMDR is that YOU, the client, are in control NOW, even though you probably weren’t in the past or during the bad 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 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 detoxify bad life experiences.
On your own, you 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 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 gives lots of really helpful ways that are used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings. I recommend the book to all my clients, and to all my friends and relatives!
I can't say enough good things about EMDR. It's changed my life both as a person/consumer, and as a therapist. It's so satisfying to have someone come in for help and then to witness them get through their issues and finish therapy relatively quickly (compared to regular talk therapy, it's like night and day). I am both humbled by and grateful for this wonderful method that heals suffering.
1140 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.