EMDR

EMDR: A Powerful New Therapy for Healing Emotional Pain

EMDR was developed over 20 years ago…


It was used and tested mostly on Vietnam Veterans who were suffering from intrusive memories from the War. Since then, it has become increasingly popular, due to its ability to move the process of psychotherapy along at a swift pace. Not only does EMDR take the emotional charge off a traumatic event from the past: also, the meaning of that earlier event changes, leading to new self concepts and behaviors.

As the process evolved and became more widely used, therapists realized that they could use it on any troubling event or memoryfrom the past. in my private practice, I work with many “everyday traumas” that cause people to have limiting beliefs about themselves. A child is so vulnerable to its environment in the first 5 or 6 years, that it often gets messages from events about itself; for example…I’m too big/small, lazy, stupid, the “wrong sex”, and deficient in some way, don’t deserve love, am powerless, am a disappointment.

All of these beliefs make sense to the child’s mind, and they need to be explored and understood in that perspective before they can be released to make room for more realistic perspectives and beliefs about the self.

Why is EMDR Psychotherapy so effective in unearthing trauma, and the resulting self-limiting beliefs?

Bessel van der Kolk in discussing the research of Martin Teicher (Teicher etal, 1997) points out that with the new brain imaging technology, we have found that trauma, and the recalling of traumatic experiences occurs in the right hemisphere of the brain and to the exclusion of the left hemisphere. Regular “talking therapy”, without EMDR uses language to process memories. Given that the left hemisphere becomes inactive when a traumatic memory is recalled, it is understandable that verbal therapies have not been able to resolve many issues. Part of what EMDR does is to provide a non-verbal body focus, which seems to stimulate inter-hemispheric activity.

What Is EMDR Therapy?


The client is directed to hold a troubling image in awareness, with its accompanying sensory experiences, and the distorted negative belief (i.e. I am bad, it was my fault, I’m powerless, and I don’t deserve love). Along with this is used alternate bilateral brain stimulation (by eye movements, sound moving from ear to ear or tapping). As the client follows this process, observing his feelings, he experiences a letting go of the feelings and the symptoms that developed as a result of this event. He then is free to live in the present, and feel safe again.

How EMDR Can Be Used With Pain And Healing?


I was using EMDR with a patient who had Multiple Sclerosis. To help her regulate her pain and emotional state. We began by focusing on the pain, along with a picture that represents the pain (from 1 to 10), 10 being the worst it could be. The patient hold all this in awareness, along with the belief about the self they feel as they look at this scene.

EMDR

She focused on the pain she felt in her ankle, and rated it at a level of disturbance of a 7. The picture was her collapsing onto the floor, when her ankle was too weak to hold her up. The belief she had about herself was “I can’t take care of myself”.

What do you experience with the EMDR Technique?


As we did the EMDR processing while she closed her eyes and tried to hold all these things in her awareness, she saw her self as a child being blamed in an angry way by her mother for not taking care of her younger sister when she was just age 6. Her sister fell out of her high chair and injured her face badly. As we stayed with all these parts of that experience, she had many new thoughts and awarenesses about what the appropriate responsibility roles of her parents and herself at that young age of 6 had been. Shethen began to release the feelings of her own “Badness” and the shame that she had felt from this. This shifted her feeling of unworthiness of having anything good happen to her.

We now needed to work on the pain again in her ankle. As she focused on it, using the EMDR stimulation it came down from a 9 to a 4, in intensity. As I would ask her the level of intesity of her pain, she would report what thoughts were gong through her mind. She pictured many scenes from growing up where she would stop herself from expressing what she wanted or felt, in order to please others. I asked her to step into the scene she was picturing as the grown up adult of today and to help that child (her younger self) by asking the child what would she have needed to make that painful situation a little easier. The chilld’s answer was to know that she was valued. This adult part of my patient was able to re-parent that chld part ofher in exactly the way the child needed it. The amazing thing I have found from working in this way for 18 years, is that when we simply ask ( in a sincere, caring way) those parts of us that are so needy, what is is that they needed then, they will tell us and then we can give it to them, energetically, through our intention.

As we kept reprocessing and desensitizing other incidents she reported a level of pain that varied from 3 to 7. She was much more aware of the pain levels she had, and we built in ways for her to reduce her level of pain with imagery that she could use at any time she wanted.

The other thing that can be done to reduce pain with EMDR is just to focus on the pain using the alternate bi-lateral simulation. This changes a person’s experience in their body.

There is much research to be found on EMDR on the web. Start with www.emdr.com .
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Relieve Emotional and Physical Pain Quickly with (EFT) Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT is a Simple Technique to Deal with Trauma


Recent years have seen the development of a family of therapies that offer clinically effective alternatives to traditional, long-term treatments. These Power Therapies only require one to three sessions, but the results are usually permanent. Each of them provides noticeable relief from negative emotions, pain, and trauma by “rewiring neural pathways” in the brain.

It doesn’t matter whether the pain suffered is physical or emotional. These methods bring relief from fears and traumas such as: phobias, depression, grief, rape, natural disasters, crime, childhood sexual abuse, and post traumatic stress. Although their methods differ from each other in emphasis and approach, Power Therapies all work by interrupting old habits and reflexes that were established around the painful incidents.

Painful reactions are replaced with non-distressful ones. These methods work by triggering brain activity below the level of conscious control. Emotional intensity also goes down. Relieving lifelong problems in moments seem to defy logic. But a body of documented scientific studies prove the benefits are real. Fortunately, a person doesn’t have to believe in these techniques for them to work.

How does EFT work?


EFT is Easy Enough for a Person to Learn to Do in Minutes

It doesn’t matter whether their pain results from something recent or from long ago. Or whether or not the cause is known. EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy) works on both the emotional level and the physical level. The mind focuses on the pain or problem at the same time that another response is introduced, whereby a neutral response replaces a painful one.

Everyone suffers from self-limiting fears to some extent. But some people are paralyzed by them. From my experience, the most powerful fears are the unconscious ones. During the tapping sequence with my clients, after one fear gets cleared, another one comes up to be healed.

Once people learn how the tapping is done, it’s simple enough for them to use on themselves whenever they sense fear or pain. Find more information at my website, or at Gary Craig’s extensive EFT website, http://www.emofree.com He offers a free, downloadable instruction manual on that site, with tons of how-to and case studies.

EFT is Easy Enough for a Person to Learn to Do in Minutes

EFT Always Taps Exactly the Right Place.


It was developed by Gary Craig, who simplified Roger Callahan’s revolutionary Thought Field Therapy (TFT). TFT therapists follow complex tapping sequences (protocols) for numerous symptom categories. By contrast, EFT taps on the same meridian points on the face and body for every problem.

Rather than focusing on the traumatic memories (as with most talk-it-out therapies), EFT addresses the true cause, the disruption of the body’s energy system. It’s unnecessary for a person to relive the painful memories.

EFT Tapping works directly on the energy points (meridian system) of the body. Like acupuncture, relief comes (in part) from stimulating the meridians. Only, instead of needles, the person’s meridians are tapped with the fingers. Whether EFT is performed by a therapist or self-applied, over 80 percent of people achieve noticeable improvement or complete cessation of the problem, through EFT Tapping Points.

EFT Applies the Same Steps to Any Negative Emotion


Craig’s system is based on the concept, “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.” He reasons, since every negative emotion has the same cause (an electrical disruption – a “zzzzzt”) they can all be relieved in a similar manner. It’s unnecessary to focus on diagnosis (or delve into the old wounds) to be successful with EFT.

EFT Simplified Sequence:


1. Identify the problem
2. Apply the Basic Recipe
3. Relief – Complete; Partial; None
4. Test and re-apply if necessary
5. Apply Adjusted Basic Recipe

Each element must be performed precisely as described, and in the proper order. Every  round of tapping takes about one minute. Tapping can be done by either hand, on either side of the body. Tap solidly with the index and middle finger on the each tapping point about seven times.

The Basic Recipe Starts with the Setup

The person starts by identifying their fear, negative emotion, or trauma.

The Setup Sentence

“Even though I have this __________, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Fill in the blank with a short phrase about the problem being addressed, for example: “anger toward my father” or “nightmares.” Sometimes a person can’t “accept themselves,” so we might tap on just that at first – as in, “Even though I can’t accept myself for this and I hate myself right now, I am willing to be willing to accept myself.”

Repeat the statement out loud three times, while simultaneously tapping the “karate chop” point on the side of the hand (or two specific points on the chest). The “karate chop” point (abbreviated KC) is located at the side of the hand about an inch below the baby finger. Vigorously tap the point with the fingertips of the index finger and middle finger of the other hand. While either hand will work, it’s usually most convenient to tap the KC of the non-dominant hand with the fingers of the dominant hand.

This is followed by the Sequence of tapping again. Modify the Setup statement, based on the new issue(s) that might present itself. Then tap another round. Do as many rounds as necessary until the problem is gone. That may require several sessions.

EFT

EFT

Example of a Client Session


For my clients, I combine EFT with hypnosis and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – another Power Therapy). Treatments are custom tailored to each person’s particular needs. My success rate is over 80% of clients reporting 60% to 100% reduction of symptoms after treatment.

PROBLEM:  A woman in her 30’s is afraid to have some mandatory surgery. She’s terrified of them putting the anesthetic tube down her throat, as in a previous surgery.

FEELING or BELIEF:” I will choke to death” (the belief). FEAR is the feeling. On a scale of one to ten, she rated the fear a ten, as she recalled the last operation (when she thought she was choking from the tube).

First, EMDR (another Power Therapy) lowered the fear. She said after processing with the Eye Movements that the fear went down to a level seven. The belief was, I will be alone (and die that way).

EFT Tapping Points:


When we started EFT Tapping, I had her tap the set-up point on the hand and say with me three times: “Even though I am afraid I  will be left alone to die, and that I am helpless, and I judge myself for having this fear, I completely accept myself right now.”

We did one round of tapping on “This FEAR.” Then she reported feeling cold and alone. She remembered a skiing accident when she was lost in the snow for a few hours (where she felt she was surely going to die alone).

We tapped on different aspects of this incident for several rounds. Then she recalled other fears she’s had in her life, which we tapped on. Then we tapped on the humiliation she’s felt for having certain fears. Events that are attached to the same feeling (this type of fear) all come up, one after another.

After we had tapped on each one until it was gone, she measured her level of disturbance around that issue. It was now down to a two. We tapped on “this remaining fear” and it came down to a zero.

Then she made a deep sigh, and her face registered a sense of relief and peace. The new belief: “I am strong and have survived many things that would kill most people.” We tapped this belief in with several rounds. This strengthens the belief even more.

EFT

What was the process?


We  went back to the memory of the FIRST operation, where she got her tube phobia. She focused on this memory (and checked inside her body for the feeling that went with it). She reported she felt no fear at all.

I had her “run a movie” in her mind of this first operation, from beginning to end; and at the same time, she was to monitor her body for any feeling of fear. I asked her to tell me if she felt any sense of fear as she recounted the experience in detail. At one place in her story, she felt fear of about six. After several rounds of tapping on this, the fear went to zero. We then repeated this process with her “running a movie” of the original experience in her mind. This time she got all the way through the story with no feelings of fear. At the next session the fears were at zero as well.

Two later sessions Future Paced how she’d deal with the surgery with her family and office mates. Future Pacing is a way to create the behavior we want to have in a future situation, through imagery enhanced with EMDR and EFT.

What happened after the session?


She called me several months later to report that she’d gone through the surgery with very little fear. When she felt some fear, she tapped on it using EFT. And it went away. She was grateful for the work we did, because she was also able to ride the train to San Diego with her husband (something she’d never been able to do).

Eliminate Everyday Fear and Frustrations as they Arise

The most amazing thing about EFT – clearing these fears removes scary and self-limiting beliefs that have been driving a person their whole life. The beliefs that have the most power are unconscious, so they have to be carefully teased out. EFT can even be used with relationship issues.

I teach these simple-to-learn EFT techniques to all my clients, including children (who are very good at this) because I think it’s a wonderful tool for managing their anxiety and other negative emotions. People who learn to discharge their fears right away are pleased to discover they don’t have to be afraid of them any more.

Read More about EFT

Borderline Personality Disorder,Blog, Controlling Relationships with a BPD partner

How do I stop obsessing about a woman I love with Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD Relationships


Borderline Personality Disorder

“How do I  stop obsessing over a BPD lover?” is a question I get over and over again.

The reason that this is such a common question and concern is that BPD’s have an amazing ability to  reach into your psyche and resonate with what you desire.

They have a deep connection with the unconscious which gives them an uncanny ability to almost read your mind much of the time.

This causes in their partner a sense of being “seen and heard” which can be very intoxicating…especially  if you have never truly felt “seen and heard”.

Actually I have found that most of us have far too little experiences of feeling “seen and heard”  But this feeling is what causes deep bonding.  It’s what we needed to get from the mother as a baby and when it has been in short supply the person is always  yearning for it  without realizing it consciously.

I have worked with many men who get hopelessly hooked on theses types of women, some of them who have suffered for years after the BPD left “unexpectedly” with not  a trace of how to ever find them.

BPD Symptoms.


You can tell if you are in a relationship with a BPD if you:

Are afraid to be honest because you get humiliated when you express an opinion.

Have been cut off from your friends and family so that you no longer have any place to “go” besides being with your partner.

When you try to have a life outside of the BPD you get punished.

Your partner doesn’t listen to you and makes you wrong when you express an opinion or preference to the pojnt where you have stopped expressing any of your “self ‘ since it brings up a huge conflict.

BPD Support


It is so important to get support if you are in a relationship with a BPD partner.  Either good therapy or a group that is knowledgeable about this disorder can guide you and get you out of danger.

 What can you do about this attraction to a BPD partner?


If you are a partner of a BPD, the only way to move through this pain is to understand what the BPD is triggering in you.  It is usually something you haven’t wanted to look at, because it is what we deny or disown that has power over us.  When we acknowledge our denied or repressed aspects and can hold them with compassion, we can begin to heal them …finally.

For more about how to understand the dynamics of this kind of relationship, click here.

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Emotional Affairs in the work place

Emotional Affairs in the Workplace


I am having a large increase of couples coming into couples therapy to deal with an emotional affair.  I am seeing quite a few middle aged couples in which one of the spouses ends up starting emotional affairs in the workplace.

Secret Emotional Affair


The way an emotional affair can develop is that the two people start emailing more and more often.  When their conversation gets personal and they start talking about their marriage and complaining about their spouse, this is the beginning of an emotional affair.  Soon this develops into a  place to share greivances and get validation.

Emotional Affair Signs


Often when this happens the couple want to go farther and often will start meeting even though they may live thousands of miles apart.  When this happens the emotional affair usually develops into a full-blown affair.

If you are having an emotional affair or know someone who is, please warn them that this is dangerous if they want to keep their marriage.

An emotional affair is even more seductive than a sexual affair because of the freedom that most people feel compelled to communicate on the internet.  Conversing back and forth has a sense of immediacy and intimacy when it is done continually for a period of time.  Texting is intimate and immediate.  This causes connection.  A relationship is built on connection, interest and validaton.  Emailing and texting provide the context for a relationship to develop with a special kind of intimacy.

Surviving  An Emotional Affair


Don’t take an  emotional affair casually because this kind of communication provides the basis for a strong attraction to develop.  If you are doing this know that you are cheating even though sex is not envolved.   Cheating is simply a sign something is missing in the relationship.  Most people who cheat don’t want their marriage to end, they just want the excitement of  something new.  The truth is that you can create something new in your marriage if you use the threat of an emotional affair to  start to explore and find out what is missing in your own marriage and create a new closeness and intimacy there with the help of a good therapist.

EMDR is effective for healing pain from a breakup.

IS EMDR BETTER THAN TALK THERAPY?


In a bid to zap her inner demons and reset her brain, Alix Strauss decided to try a radical form of treatment: EMDR therapy.

This article displays a youthful account of a persons attempt to get over a breakup by using EMDR.

Her therapist utilized EMDR therapy to help release the pain of the breakup and free herself from the negative feelings associated with it.
The biggest difference between EMDR and conventional talk therapy is that:
With EMDR you don’t have to examine the cause of problems in depth—like if you habitually date the wrong people.

March 16, 2012

BETTER THAN THERAPY?


In a bid to zap her inner demons and reset her brain, Alix Strauss decided to try a radical form of treatment: EMDR therapy.

By ALIX STRAUSS

I’m in the Hamptons doing a book signing, when my ex—who I had a horrific breakup with and who I haven’t seen in more than two years—appears in front of me. He doesn’t want an autograph, and I know he already owns my novel; he is clearly here to see me. But as soon as our eyes meet, he loses his nerve and leaves. Instead of going numb as I usually do in traumatic situations, I feel calm and matter-of-fact—in control. A year ago, I would have been a heartbroken basket case, obsessively reviewing in my head other ways the encounter might have gone.When we broke up, I found myself fixating on painful memories of our relationship and unable to move forward with my life. I tried every conventional remedy you can think of: talk therapy (which I’d been doing weekly for three years at that point), endless spewing to friends, allotting crying time each day, burning his photos, and even going on an array of blind dates. Nothing worked. I remained weepy and depressed, stuck in the past.Finally, my therapist suggested that I try a form of psychotherapy called EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. A bilateral stimulation therapy designed to unlock negative memories, feelings, and emotions, EMDR is a controversial technique involving lights, sounds, and tapping that purportedly helps the brain process traumatic experiences. This sounded like mumbo jumbo to me but I was desperate. I would have stripped naked and run down Fifth Avenue if you had told me it would help.

A few weeks later, I found myself sitting on a beige carpet in an Upper East Side office, leaning against a couch, with the lights dimmed. I had headphones on, a Walkman-like device in my lap. In front of me stood a two-and-a-half-foot-long eye scanner on a tiny tripod. Mini green lights blinked and moved rhythmically from left to right, working in tandem with the tapping sound that came through the headphones. Rosemary Masters, my EMDR therapist, is founding director of the Trauma Studies Center of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York. A reserved, kind woman who looks like she stepped out of an L.L.Bean catalogue, Rosemary began our session by asking me to recall a specifically distressing memory. I chose the moment when I received a voice mail from my ex’s paramour. The woman’s voice, with its crisp British accent, sounded merciless: “Your relationship is doomed and dysfunctional because he’s been intimate with me behind your back.” I visualized the pathetic conversation that my ex and I’d had afterward in my apartment as he lied about the situation, insisting she’d made it all up. As I sat in the office, I once again felt my heart pound, felt the pain and resentment well up inside. Rosemary’s voice hung in the air as I tried to answer her questions: What do you see? How would you rate your level of anxiety? What are you feeling?

I followed the lights. I listened to the tones. I answered her questions. I told her my level was a 4 or 5 out of 10. To my surprise, tears rolled down my cheeks. But as I tapped into raw emotions, I felt oddly calm and clinical—I was very aware that this was therapy, not a meltdown. When she asked how I felt, the words that came out were: It’s too much loss. I hurt all the time.

EMDR was developed by California psychologist Francine Shapiro, who, while walking in a park one day in 1987, noted that eye movements appeared to reduce anxiety and the intensity of disturbing thoughts. During the past two decades, this therapy has become extremely popular among those who suffer from anxiety attacks, physical abuse, and post-traumatic stress. I think of it this way: If talk therapy is a cross-country road trip, then EMDR is a crosstown bus ride. Some refer to it as “shortcut therapy,” since positive results can happen within three to eight sessions. Those working on single trauma issues can be helped within three sessions.

The biggest difference between EMDR and conventional talk therapy is that, during EMDR you don’t have to examine the cause of problems in depth—like if you habitually date the wrong people. Instead you focus on allowing your brain to release a specific event that you’re fixated on. New York’s high-octane pace makes it a logical choice. We all want impressive results in little time. To me, EMDR is like an in-office face-lift for your brain without hospitalization. Today, more than 70,000 clinicians are specially trained and certified in the treatment, and millions of people claim to have been fixed from it.

“EMDR is about adaptive integration,” Rosemary explains. “The lights, tones, and tapping stimulate the information-processing system of the brain in a similar way to REM sleep, where the brain extracts what’s important and useful and lets go of the rest.” Like other EMDR specialists, she looks for shifts where the patient’s feelings of worthlessness or dejection are replaced by positive thoughts. In my case, the mantra I often uttered, “I’ll never get over this,” was eventually substituted by “I’ll move past this.”

After the session, I went home and literally could not keep my eyes open. My brain felt depleted. Eventually I surrendered to the druglike exhaustion and napped—something I never do. I shared this with Rosemary on my next visit. “Some people experience exhaustion,” she said. “Some have vivid dreams; others feel relief.”

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for the treatment. For those with an addiction or a physical condition like epilepsy, EMDR could revisit trauma that the brain may not be able to process without additional preparation. And there are those in the medical community who don’t buy into EMDR’s quick results. “It gives people temporary relief and helps them connect emotionally, but the effect isn’t lasting,” says Eric Braverman, a clinical assistant professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center’s department of neurosurgery. “EMDR reminds me of the days when doctors used to give people cocaine for depression.”

I disagree. For someone like me, who was mentally and emotionally fixated on a single trauma, the effects have been radically and lastingly positive. Cheryl Brinker, who was part of the Red Cross’s September 11th Recovery Program team, had a similar experience. After Brinker saw several different specialists for her post-traumatic stress disorder, a therapist suggested EMDR in 2008. “It was like my brain was frozen, and all that would play was this loop of horrific images,” she says. After five sessions she felt healed. “My mind had started making new thought patterns, like ‘What am I having for dinner?’ The old images are still there, but they’re not traumatic anymore. They don’t prevent me from living my life.”

For me, the biggest shift happened after my fourth EMDR session. As I walked home, a floating, out-of-body sensation washed over me. For the next two days, I was exhausted and napped for several hours each day. And then something happened. The next day, as I stood in the shower, I realized that I didn’t hurt as I had before. I can’t explain how or why, but it felt as if my brain had been rebalanced. As if a fever had broken.

These days, the memory and pain I associate with my breakup still seem far off. It’s an Alice in Wonderland sensation—like I swallowed a magic pill without knowing what it was or how it would affect me. I’m afraid to ask what the ingredients were because I don’t want to inspect the potion too closely. I just know I feel better. Fixed. And the past feels far away, where it should stay.

Credit: EMDR Psychotherapy – Alternative Trauma Therapy – Harper’s BAZAAR

With EMDR it is possible to get Relief from longing for the person who has left.


This process of desensitizing the desire releases a person from the past and gives them an immediate feeling of relief.