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Old April 13th, 2007, 01:29 AM
stillsearching stillsearching is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 11
Question afraid to try emdr again

I realize that alot of my questions have been answered in the archives that I have read but I feel like i need more information. I tried a session of EMDR quite awhile ago and have been afraid to try again. I have DD but am aware of my ego states and what they are doing, (although it feels like it isn't me sometimes and my memory is foggy). I was diagnosed with DD nos.

When I tried EMDR I was afraid through most of it and had trouble concentrating and staying in my "adult". Like another writer, i also had trouble staying with what i was supposed to be focusing on. I do have ADD though and your comments on that may be something I need to bring up with my therapist. Anyway, after my session I thought I might be okay but i was stuck in a young ego state and felt terrible.. I couldn't function and had to call off sick the next day from work. My therapist says sometimes this happens but i really don't want to have to feel worse than I already do.

I don't say anything when i am trying to get through it but my ego states have lots to say in my head.. My 15 year old is totally resistant and really angry at my therapist It makes it hard or me to "just go with it' when she is saying rude things in my head!! Do I tell my therapist that my adolesent is calling him names or do I just try to get through it?? Do i tell him that my 4 year old is terrifed of him?? These feelings aren't there all the time, (they come and go) but i find it hard to control with EMDR, Well hard to control at other times in therapy too, really. I think maybe i have answered most of my questions myself.. I think that maybe i might just not be ready but i want to do something so badly to start to get better.. I have been in therapy for a long. long time.. I have made a huge amount of progress but I want to speed things up so I can feel better someday.

I like my therapist and trust him.. He is certified in emdr and an authorized faciltator so he must know what he is doing..

I would appreciate if you could give me some feedback on this..

Last edited by stillsearching; April 13th, 2007 at 01:46 AM..
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Old April 13th, 2007, 08:28 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Posts: 207
Default Re: afraid to try emdr again

I think your post explains perfectly why EMDR should not be done on anyone with a dissociative disorder unless that therapist is trained to work with dissociative disorders. These are the kinds of snarls that typically happen.

Having said that, I'm going to make some general comments that generally apply to anyone with a dissociative disorder -- but may not specifically apply to you, since I don't know your whole story.

What you are describing is exactly the problem -- or one illustration of it --- namely that parts of the self react and are not on board with the treatment. Therefore, the EMDR cannot complete normally, and it can be anywhere from disturbing afterwards to extremely destabilizing.

When EMDR goes well with non-DD people it is because the various parts of the self (which aren't as distinct, mind you) all chime in in their turns and process their piece. When it goes badly with DD people it is because parts get mad or upset and don't let the work continue. Very often it is because a protector part doesn't want a little part to go through pain. Good judgment on their part. Sometimes the protector has the therapist confused with the perpetrator. Yikes.

There are ways to strengthen littles, engage angry protectors, get blocking perp introjects (internal holographic likenesses of perpetrators) to be oriented to the fact they are in the same body as the littles and the front parts, and its now 2007, and one is in THIS city instead of where it happened (if that's true). There are other ways to give a voice to the various internal concerns and get the team to function like a team, BEFORE doing EMDR.

In short, the therapist has to be trained to do the necessary preparation and debug any blockages that come up, using ego state therapy.

Yes, those experiences need to be articulated outloud. The instructions say to tell the therapist as accurately as possible what is going on inside, without judgment of whether it should be happening. It's a good instruction.

There are lots of great and experienced EMDR practitioners, consultants and even facilitators who are NOT trained and experienced with dissociative disorders, or who have had one or two encouraging experiences but haven't learned the protocol for how to do EMDR with a DD client. No client of any therapy has to do anything they don't want to do in their therapy. Trauma clients have typically had more than enough of that, I mean, feeling coerced to comply in silence.

Lots of times clients think they can't speak up because their therapist is an expert and is an authority and they want them to like them. But therapists can't do their job if they don't know what's going on. Unlike with childhood trauma, where one had to keep secrets or no one wanted to hear, therapists typically do want to hear, and so it is helpful when adult parts remember its a different time and one can now speak their truth.

So I don't know if any of the above applies in your case, though it applies in many cases. I don't know your therapist either or whether he is trained (I mean TRAINED) in dissociative disorders or not, but it is always a fair question for a client to ask these things. And remember also, even consulting EMDR practitioners need to get consultation at times on things. I have a consultant -- two really -- I work with on specific matters. We can't all know everything, can we?

So as I often encourage people here, if you print this off and take it to your therapist, who no doubts wants the best for you, it may help open up discussion both within you and between you and your therapist.

Sandra Paulsen PhD
EMDR Institute facilitator
EMDRIA approved consultant and
advanced specialty workshop instructor on DD
Bainbridge Island WA
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Old April 13th, 2007, 08:43 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: afraid to try emdr again

PS. I just realized one important fact I'd like to point out because it illustrates to all readers the exact, exact problem. Again, it may not apply in your case, because I don't know your system or your parts, so please just dismiss this if it doesn't apply in your case.

In many DD persons, one part of the self can feel trust and say they trust and believe that "I trust," and the therapist, working only with the porch of the house, can then believe the necessary rapport and trust is in place. The part of self reporting and trusting may experience themselves as quite separate, maybe with their own body, and they consider the other mad mistrusting one over there to be somebody else.

However, that mad part and those littles and those introjects are actually part of the self (which fact is part of the preparation, ideally), and they may not trust. They feel separate, they are behind locked doors in the client's "house" of the self. That's how dissociation works.

There is the ANP/s (Apparently Normal Personality/ies) and the EP/s (Emotional Personality's). The whole self needs to be brought into the work and needs to function as a team with collaboration and communication within before ever doing EMDR. The ANPs often "do life." They face forward, facing life and the world, like a porch, but the price of acting normal and apparently trusting is to be out of touch with the internal condition of the house. The attic and basement may hold secrets or pain.

So those parts that DON'T trust need a chance to voice their concerns, which are there for good reason no doubt, and reasons that can be understood. Often those reasons are related to past needs for protection to survive. If they have never been voiced or heard -- even by the front or ANP part of the self -- the air back there gets pretty stagnant!! Kind of like King Tut's tomb, which hadn't been opened in 5000 years. EP's can often be disoriented in time, and not know it is 2007, and not 1978 or whatever.

Ego State Therapy gives a voice to those concerns, and enables solutions to be negotiated that are relevant to PRESENT time and situations, and that take into consideration the entire self with its many rooms, not just the porch!
Porches are important too, by the way, because facing forward, doing life and not knowing was very important.

In fact, the tactical integrationist approach of Catherine Fine enables that to continue while the work behind any amnesia barrier detoxifies the trauma, but that's another story for another day. Somebody remind me sometime when I have time I'll describe that. It only applies to DID, not DDNOS.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 12:47 PM
stillsearching stillsearching is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 11
Default Re: afraid to try emdr again

Thank you for your reply Sandra.. I had a general idea of what I thought was happening but needed some feedback and support. Your answers did apply and were helpful for me.. EMDR was frankly, traumatizing for me. It helps to know that there are reasons for this happening and that is wasn't just failure on my part.. It was hard on my self esteem to feel that I was so flawed that I couldn't handle it. I will discuss this further with my therapist. thanks Sandra
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