Anyone?

Anyone?

Postby Namu » September 8th, 2017, 2:26 pm

Hello. I recently listened to the episode with Dr. Dansiger, in which he talked a lot about EMDR. My therapist has mentioned it as a thing we might try someday, but so far, she says, I'm too easily triggered into dissociation, and too lacking in skills for undoing the dissociation, to even begin. Very frustrating.

After listening to the podcast, I found Getting Past the Past (self-help EMDR-based book by Shapiro, EMDR originator). Just finished listening to that. Shapiro offers techniques for personal use, but says not to try it at home if you're already in therapy for a complex problem, or if you think you might have a complex problem.

I would like to try the initial self-calming techniques she suggests; maybe if I develop those skills, then I too will be one of the lucky people who gets better through EMDR.

Given how enthusiastic Dansiger and Shapiro are about its effectiveness, I'm surprised to find this forum empty. If it's as good as they say, we should be getting seriously better in droves! I used the search box, and see lots of scattered posts that include the term EMDR, but I bog down fast when I go fifty different directions, so I'm hoping to stimulate some input here.

If you have experience with EMDR (as a patient/subject, not a practitioner), please let us know how it went. Specifically, is it as fantastically effective from the perspective of beneficiary as it is from the perspective of practitioner? I'd have a lot more motivation to work toward it if I could hear from people it's helped.

If you've tried it and been disappointed with the results, then I really, really want to hear from you. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing how nearly universally effective a treatment is, only to find that I'm the only one I know of who fails to be helped by it.

Thanks, everybody!

Namu
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Re: Anyone?

Postby LifeSurvivor » October 13th, 2017, 2:33 am

I found this article in Scientific American. Might be helpful

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... oser-look/
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Re: Anyone?

Postby manuel_moe_g » October 13th, 2017, 6:15 pm

I have a therapist that used EMDR. I am not easily triggered, so my results may differ from yours. EMDR helped in seeing key moments in my past in a more neutral light.
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Re: Anyone?

Postby Namu » October 14th, 2017, 7:35 am

Thanks for y'all's replies.

I've finally found a local practitioner, and have met with her once. I’m not bursting with hope. She doesn’t take my insurance, but is offering the first ten sessions at no charge. Turns out some pro bono work is required as part of her arrangement, either with her EMDR trainers or with the charity-minded providers of her office space. Turns out she's not “certified,” only “trained” (and it seems to me that her training is far from complete), and she's very unpolished — uncertainty, about many things, spouted from her like a fountain. There were many things about the session that were unsettling, including a great deal of unpreparedness, a fundamental miscommunication with my primary therapist about what I’m seeking from this new person, and a whole lot of chatter about many, many authorizations for communication, some of which I signed, though I didn’t really understand them, just to make the words stop coming at me. Even she didn’t really seem to understand what authorizations I should be giving her; she just had a vague sense that things might be harder for her at some point, especially if she ever ended up in court (!), if I didn’t sign them. I prefer to understand what I’m signing, but sometimes I just give in. I gave in.

I had been told — on the phone and throughout the preliminary paperwork — that the first meeting would include our initial EMDR work, but it didn’t. Next session is to begin with yet another preliminary step, a “dissociation assessment,” a list of experiences I’m to rate on how often they happen. I don’t know why this wasn’t part of the initial pile of forms.

The practitioner spent a lot of time talking about the classes she's taken, the classes she hasn’t, some “hand-outs” she needs to get from her mentor in order to get started with me. These handouts seem to be introductory material describing two of the four grounding (“resourcing”) techniques she told me were essential to the method.

Part of my homework is to come up with a technique for intervening when I dissociate during treatment. My regular therapist and I have been trying for years to come up with a way to successfully bring me back when I dissociate. This woman's teacher told her to throw pillows at clients if they dissociate during an EMDR session. I told her, promptly and clearly, that having a pillow thrown at me would escalate, not de-escalate, a trauma flashback. This seemed to be an entirely new notion; she had not been told any alternatives to pillow-throwing — thus my homework to devise a trauma-flashback-dissociation-intervention technique on my own.

God, I could go on and on trying to relate the details of this situation that results from what feels like a magnificent initial failure to communicate plus a rather extreme lack of practitioner experience and skill.

Clearly, I feel overwhelmed. It seems that I don’t feel like I’m in safe hands with this practitioner. There were plenty of other mildly troubling aspects of the encounter; after a couple of days to let it all settle, I’m left with more than mild misgivings. But it's free, and I have no money for it, and at this point the prospect of EMDR is the thing I use to keep me going.

Sometimes even free things aren’t worth what they cost me; seeking help from particularly unhelpful sources leaves me less willing and able to seek help. The effort to make use of self-proclaimed resources, and to figure out whether each dubious resource is actually costly or destructive rather than helpful, has taken too much from me over the years.

I don’t know whether it’s reasonable to hope that, with enough effort and attempts to clarify what I need, and to ascertain whether what I need is something this woman can give, I might benefit from continuing with her. I don’t feel like I can afford the effort it seems will be required. I have too much internal chaos already; I can’t bear to be around chaotic people, and trying to twist someone else's chaos into a healing tool for myself — it has never worked well for me.

I feel weary and despondent. Thanks for listening.

Namu
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Re: Anyone?

Postby brownblob » October 14th, 2017, 7:02 pm

Sorry to hear about this situation. It sounds scary to be the guinea pig for this woman. She doesn't sound like she knows what she is doing yet. You deserve better than this pillow throwing student.
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Re: Anyone?

Postby rivergirl » October 21st, 2017, 4:20 pm

Hi Namu,
I'm so sorry that you had this discouraging experience. It's clear that you are trying to heal and you deserve better help than this. Please let us know how you're doing now. Did you decide to try working with this practitioner?

Take care,

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Re: Anyone?

Postby Namu » October 21st, 2017, 6:41 pm

Thanks, bb and rg.

I canceled the appointment this last week — I had a cold and used that as a lever for self-care of the “I just can’t face it right now” sort. Now I’m gearing up for dread and indecision about next week's reschedule, and/or whether to just call the whole thing off.

Ugh.

Fortunately, there’s a hint of a shift in my work with my regular therapist; I’ve felt stuck, mostly, for years with her, but have stayed with her for various reasons, positive and negative. This past week (despite my cold) we had what may have been a quiet and subtle but significant breakthrough, in my understanding of the work that's ahead of me and of the distinction between present triggers and past formative experience. I think it’s finally getting through to me that her triggering me (inadvertently) does not equal her being untrustworthy. It’s still very unfamiliar and slippery. Fingers crossed it's real.

So I’m keeping my gaze mostly on that for a bit, to ease the sting of this EMDR mess. I’m glad to have y'all's support to keep me company while I try to find my way forward, with the pillow-thrower or with someone else. Thanks again.

Namu
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