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My EMDR Therapy Sessions

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Back in December I had a 30 minute free appointment with my new therapist. She described EMDR and we discussed a few bits briefly.

On 10th January we had our first hour long appointment. She charges £100 an hour, so I was a little wary how long this would be financially viable. But supposedly the average duration for EMDR therapy is around 10-12 sessions. We'll be doing them once a week. I'd debated doing it once every 2 weeks. But I'd rather get this done in a timely fashion.

The first session was a chronological overview of my life, with me focusing on earliest memory and then working forwards. Discussing key memories, events, traumas, relationships with family, friends, partners. Along with discussing my mental health and lack thereof.

Yesterday was our first EMDR session. Instead of eye movements, she uses little hand held devices that vibrate. It alternates between left hand then right, which activates the different sides of the brain. She first asked me to focus on the trauma, and the picture of that past event which felt most traumatic. Then the feeling and belief I attached to it - which was that I was unworthy. Then she asked me to "stay with that" then started the vibrating devices and asked me to focus on what I felt internally - which for me was a lot of visual images and a story began. Then she stopped the devices, asked me to verbalise what I was feeling, sensing or seeing. Then what I verbalised she told me to "stay with that" again, and began the devices. This process alternated for 45 mins or so.

The trauma was my earliest memory of a traumatic event. I was about 4 years old. We were at a friends how and I suddenly panicked and fouled myself. I was quite mortified and went to the living room at this friend's house where my mum and her friend were. I told my mum that I'd done a number 2 in my pants and she looked angry and embarrassed. She scorned me and told me told me to go sort myself out. She didn't even get up to see if I was ok or needed help. She just wanted to carry on talking with her friend.

This hit home quite hard. I went to her expecting help and love, and what I got was anger. That glare she gave me... ach. It's one I've seen many a time.

We began the session and I was taken on a vivid visual journey. At one point I visualised a sea gull flying along a cliff side with rough seas below and I burst into tears. In fact, thinking about it now is making me feel tearful. The visualisation and break from vibrating devices continued. Then after 5 or 10 minutes she asked me to go back to the traumatic memory - that was not me going to my mum to ask for help. But me having to unload my pants in the toilet and attempt to clean myself up as best as I could. I felt a lot of shame and unworthiness in that moment.

Each time we went back to that image it became more and more distant. It was harder to visualise in my mind's eye and each time we returned the emotions weren't as intense. By the end of the session my visual journey was becoming one of feeling free, and when we returned one last time to the traumatic memory - I no longer felt unworthy, and I realised that I was worthy, and that I did the best that I could do. My mum's refusal to help me in my time of need was no reflection on me.

She said I did very well and that we'll revisit that memory at the start of the next session, but it feels like it's processed. When I picture it now, I don't feel the negative emotions towards it. By that I mean, negative emotion towards myself. I still believe she should've helped me, but I also know that blame isn't healthy.

Still, it is what it is. In an ideal world she would've helped me, rather than have me poorly attempt to clean myself up, and then have to spend hours at the house in filthy underwear. Interestingly enough I can't recall how the rest of that day went at my friends, as the memory was fouling myself, asking for help, then having to try and tidy up.

She said we'll try and go in chronological order and focus on the next closest traumatic event in our next session. There's been various examples of this growing up. Where I went to her expecting care and safety and she just seemed p'd off that I'd even attempted to do so.

Onwards and upwards.

Ed
 
Last edited:

Shamar

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Back in December I had a 30 minute free appointment with my new therapist. She described EMDR and we discussed a few bits briefly.

On 10th January we had our first hour long appointment. She charges £100 an hour, so I was a little wary how long this would be financially viable. But supposedly the average duration for EMDR therapy is around 10-12 sessions. We'll be doing them once a week. I'd debated doing it once every 2 weeks. But I'd rather get this done in a timely fashion.

The first session was a chronological overview of my life, with me focusing on earliest memory and then working forwards. Discussing key memories, events, traumas, relationships with family, friends, partners. Along with discussing my mental health and lack thereof.

Yesterday was our first EMDR session. Instead of eye movements, she uses little hand held devices that vibrate. It alternates between left hand then right, which activates the different sides of the brain. She first asked me to focus on the trauma, and the picture of that past event which felt most traumatic. Then the feeling and belief I attached to it - which was that I was unworthy. Then she asked me to "stay with that" then started the vibrating devices and asked me to focus on what I felt internally - which for me was a lot of visual images and a story began. Then she stopped the devices, asked me to verbalise what I was feeling, sensing or seeing. Then what I verbalised she told me to "stay with that" again, and began the devices. This process alternated for 45 mins or so.

The trauma was my earliest memory of a traumatic event. I was about 4 years old. We were at a friends how and I suddenly panicked and fouled myself. I was quite mortified and went to the living room at this friend's house where my mum and her friend were. I told my mum that I'd done a number 2 in my pants and she looked angry and embarrassed. She scorned me and told me told me to go sort myself out. She didn't even get up to see if I was ok or needed help. She just wanted to carry on talking with her friend.

This hit home quite hard. I went to her expecting help and love, and what I got was anger. That glare she gave me... ach. It's one I've seen many a time.

We began the session and I was taken on a vivid visual journey. At one point I visualised a sea gull flying along a cliff side with rough seas below and I burst into tears. In fact, thinking about it now is making me feel tearful. The visualisation and break from vibrating devices continued. Then after 5 or 10 minutes she asked me to go back to the traumatic memory - that was not me going to my mum to ask for help. But me having to unload my pants in the toilet and attempt to clean myself up as best as I could. I felt a lot of shame and unworthiness in that moment.

Each time we went back to that image it became more and more distant. It was harder to visualise in my mind's eye and each time we returned the emotions weren't as intense. By the end of the session my visual journey was becoming one of feeling free, and when we returned one last time to the traumatic memory - I no longer felt unworthy, and I realised that I was worthy, and that I did the best that I could do. My mum's refusal to help me in my time of need was no reflection on me.

She said I did very well and that we'll revisit that memory at the start of the next session, but it feels like it's processed. When I picture it now, I don't feel the negative emotions towards it. By that I mean, negative emotion towards myself. I still believe she should've helped me, but I also know that blame isn't healthy.

Still, it is what it is. In an ideal world she would've helped me, rather than have me poorly attempt to clean myself up, and then have to spend hours at the house in filthy underwear. Interestingly enough I can't recall how the rest of that day went at my friends, as the memory was fouling myself, asking for help, then having to try and tidy up.

She said we'll try and go in chronological order and focus on the next closest traumatic event in our next session. There's been various examples of this growing up. Where I went to her expecting care and safety and she just seemed p'd off that I'd even attempted to do so.

Onwards and upwards.

Ed
This more or less mirrors my own EMDR treatment. I was rather skeptical at first, but found it seems to be effective at de-traumatizing traumas. That is the best way I could put it, the memories are still there, but under control and no longer traumatic.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Onwards and upwards.
It is not always an easy way, but it is the only one toward freedom. Onward and upward, whatever may lie in the path ahead! Thank you for sharing your experiences with EMDR. May you continue onward and upward with determination, courage, and compassion.
 

tree

Blue/Green
Staff member
V.I.P Member

Magna

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Glad to hear it's working for you, Ed. My EMDR therapy was tremendously successful. I hope yours continues to work well for you!

EMDR is a like a "brain-hack" that from my experience really worked!
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm doing this along with a self-therapy book called IFS - Internal Family Systems which seems to be an off-branch and modern adaption of a Jungian style, whereby the belief is that each person is made up of sub-personalities. And traumatic events are almost freeze framed and exiled from the person, but keep trying to make themselves known whilst other parts attempt to suppress or "firefight" the emotions brought about from painful and unresolved memories.

Ed
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
Im glad to see that therapy is working for you and that you are making progress. Congratulations and thanks for sharing with us.
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Today I had my second EMDR therapy session. Inbetween these two sessions I was trying to think of the next traumatic event we'd be working on, as we intended to go in chronological order.

I knew of 2 events, but part of me almost felt as if they weren't traumatic enough to be of merit or concern. Today I recalled the timeline more clearly and picked the event in question. When I delved deeper earlier today, before the session - I realised it was something that had triggered further episodes.

When I was young, we were in a department store. I remember I was young enough that the rails of clothing were taller than me. At one point my brother said he had something to show me and led me away from our mum. Once we'd arrived somewhere random in the shop, he laughed and ran off - leaving me on my own. I burst into tears when I realised I was all alone, and I panicked.

I remember a woman on the intercom reporting me as lost, as I'd gone up to someone to tell them I was lost. My mum was very angry with my brother and was glad I'd sought help.

Since then, at various points in life I've had a similar thing occur. Browsing in a shop, only to look around and see that my parents, friend or partner isn't there - and I revert back to that moment of absolute dread and panic. That I'm alone, and that I have to find them. Fight or flight kicks in, and anxiety gets worse and worse until I'm reunited.

When she asked me what emotions were brought up remembering that snapshot of the memory - I said I felt alone, but also angry that he'd ran away. As she told me to "stay with that feeling" she began the vibrating devices. Once more alternating from left to right, as my mind began to paint another narrative.

Then she paused the devices and asked me to verbalise what I felt or saw. It was me and my brother in junior school - he was looking quite lost and folorn in the playground and I walked up to him and asked if he was ok. He got bullied a lot at that school, and I wanted to help, and yet I felt rather helpless.

As the intervals of using the devices, and pausing to verbalise continued a lot of memories of me and my brother were conjured up. The time I told my mum that a kid in his class had stolen his dictaphone. It was the last day before a school holiday and mum (who was the school secretary) rang the boy's house and demanded he returned to school immediately and return what he'd taken from my brother.

We continued further, and I recalled when I was unemployed and abusing alcohol. I went into my brothers room and saw in the wardrobe he had about 20 rows of £1 coins stacked up in piles of 5. And slowly but surely I started to take from him. I burst into tears as I was overwhelmed with shame at what I'd done. You don't steal. Especially not from your family.

The next visualisation after the gap using the devices was a Christmas after I'd got a job where my brother also worked. I'd bought him an Xbox One, back when that was the latest console. I wanted to try and redeem myself for what I'd done, but it never felt like enough. The shame was intense.

As we continued, I began to visualise a samurai narrative. Seppuku, failure, death, and then scenes from the Last Samurai of all things. How a foreign man ended up fighting a war that was not his. How he tried to restore his honour, how the final scene in battle everyone around him dies, but he survives. And the scene where he's practicing with a sword in the rain and is beaten by the one man in the village who refuses to accept him, and only does so towards the end of the film.

We continued - and this theme of dishonour then gave way to one of a monk, meditating in a temple, amidst falling cherry blossom. A sense of calm started to be restored. Then we travelled into my job history, and a recurring theme since school of constantly making mistakes and rushing my work, and of not being good enough.

She gave a 5 minute cue, as we were in the middle of a new narrative that runs very deep in my life - not feeling like I live up to expectations of others.

Still - we returned several times back to the snapshot of me being left alone in the shop. I felt no more anger. She asked me to complete the sentence "I am" when I think of that scene. And I said to her - "I am found."

When I left the session I realised what must be done. I got home, took out £100 from the cashpoint. In reality I think I took about £50 or so from my brother. One day I went to the wardrobe again to get money for booze and the rest of the pound coins were gone. I was mortified, as I knew the game was up. The shame was overwhelming.

Just now I walked to my brothers house. I put the money in a letter, along with some condoms. Sounds odd I know. But when I was 18 and dating my second girlfriend, a few times when I ran out of condoms I snuck some out of my brothers room. 18 years later, and here I am presenting a rather confused sibling with a letter with £100 cash and 6 condoms.

Do I feel better? I'm not too sure.
Was it a relief? I don't know.

But it needed to be done. What I did was reprehensible, and I think this gesture I've just done this evening brings it to a close. You shouldn't steal, especially not from family. I hope one day I can forgive myself for what I did. But right now, I'm not there yet.

Ed
 

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