Monday, March 30, 2009

EMDR for Rape and PTSD

Today I had a very exhausting EMDR Session.

For a little review EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. Here is a nutshell of what EMDR is according to the EMDR Institute:

"EMDR is an information reprocessing therapy
and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health."

More information can be found here http://www.emdr.com/index.html

As I was saying, the session I had today was tiring. We started by picking a traumatic event in my life. This is an interesting part for me because, the traumatic event does not have to do with the rape.

I picked an event that had to do with a family member while I was in my teens. I was told to pick a negative statement that this event made me feel and then a positive statement about how I would like to feel.

I was then asked to rate the event to how bothersome the event was to me and how true the negative statement was.

My counselor uses sets of movements of fingers going back and forth. I am told to have my eyes follow the fingers, and think of the event.

I have done this before but with this particular situation it was much different. My counselor had told me in the past that memories, thoughts etc, may go into my head, much like a train moving fast. That is a very correct explanation but for this session the train must have been going a million miles an hour.

From this little event with my family member, came more family related events, and then led to the rape. Memories of the rape, words said during the rape, and the feelings of abandonment and fear after the rape.

During this session, my eyes would well up in tears and then, calm. I would have sensations of anxiety and panic, I was angry, scared, and heartbroken, all in one session.

After what seemed to be many sets of back and forth eye movements, I had experienced so many emotions, I was exhausted.

I was asked to reevaluate the beginning memory about the family member. Upon, doing that it was very different, the memory was not negative or emotionally charged but humorous. It is almost as if I was brought to today, the way I think about it now.

Remembering that memory hurt, but today after the session, it did not. It was refreshing, however I got home and had to sleep a bit. The emotional rollarcoaster, although healing, was draining.

So far EMDR seems to help, but there is always something new I find.


Victoria Placeo




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