Part 1: Starting EMDR Therapy

Last week, I started my first session of EMDR therapy.

We’re going at a slower pace since my trauma was on-going when I was younger and because sometimes people end up trapped in the harsh memories. So, my sessions go back and forth between talk therapy and EMDR.

I decided to share my journey with EMDR in this blog because I know some of you have been through it, some of you are contemplating it, and some of you are just curious.

I’m curious too. And I’m ready to do the work to get better. I’m ready to heal.

What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) is a type of therapy that uses rapid and rhythmic eye movement to retrain your memories. It sounds unusual but has been highly effective.

You follow your therapist’s hand movement with your eyes while you recall a traumatic memory. Since you’re partially distracted by the movement, the memory doesn’t hurt as much.

After several sessions, the memory will stop eating at you. So, it lessens your PTSD and reactive behavior when a situation triggers you.

EMDR was created in 1987 by psychologist Francine Shapiro. It started to treat PTSD but it’s now practiced by therapists to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and many more mental disorders.

Session #1 June 23rd, 2019

We practiced me following her hand movements while I recalled a moment when I felt the safest and at peace. This memory is called my “resource”.

I described my safest memory in detail and remembered all that I could about that moment.

The point of this exercise is to train your mind to bring this resource out whenever you’re feeling too uncomfortable or a traumatic memory is too much for you.

My resource is a memory with Ricky. A feeling of complete safety, complete bliss. It’s a memory where I believed nothing bad could happen to me.

I’ve been given an assignment for next week. I have to create a “confinement”. This is a way for me to lock up my traumatic memories.

It can be an image of a safe in your head or anything you want it to be.

For me, it’s a door in the middle of my brain. A door I can shut and lock up my traumatic memories.

My other piece of homework is to train my brain to bring up my resource during little annoyances or small moments that trigger my emotional flashbacks.

Emotional flashbacks are less about traumatic imaged memories that get triggered but more about the emotions of the traumatic memory being triggered.

I have mostly emotional flashbacks.

That way, when something big does happen that triggers my PTSD, it will be replaced with my resource.

 

I’ll keep you updated on my sessions. Fingers crossed.

 

22 thoughts on “Part 1: Starting EMDR Therapy”

  1. I studied psychology but I’m new to this. It sounds fascinating. I especially like how the body and mind are connected in this holistic form of therapy. Here’s hoping you find it fruitful. Keep us posted Casey.

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  2. Wow, this is pretty interesting, Casey. I like the aspect of breaking the traumatic memories into segments. Compartmentalize the events in case of triggers.
    I intially started therapy with one therapist in the beginning. I really didn’t care for her too much, but he was assigned my case.
    Just when I was to begin EMDR therapy, I was approved for a “new and Improved ” therapist. At that that point, we concentrated more on the here and now triggers, not so much on EMDR therapy.
    I think I’ll bring this up to her based on a current situation I’m in with speasking to someone in my past.
    Thank you, Casey. This really is quite interesting and informative. I hope it helps you more so as time moves forward. xoxo!!!!

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  3. I’ve been trying to live by this book called self coaching to control my anxiety and depressive issues. It teaches me something similar when I start to lose control. I have to recognize my anxious thoughts and then imagine pulling a lever like you would on a train to engage the brakes. Then just stop that anxiety and not allow itself to take hold. Imagery really helps me…

    I hope it’s all helping you.

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