On November 14th, I discussed my feelings regarding my “failure” to be ready for an EMDR session.  As you may be aware, I have spent almost thirty years trying to find a therapist with the training and desire to help me relieve my PTSD symptoms.  If you are struggling with the same symptoms, you understand how the flashbacks, numbing, dissociative episodes, and all the other hallmarks of PTSD can disrupt your life and damage your relationships.  Thus, you can also understand why I am highly motivated to do the work now that I have a competent therapist who is trained to facilitate trauma work.  After all, I am seventy-two years old, and I want to get the job done while I have some life left!

The problem is that at times my desire to do the work and to do it quickly makes me impatient and causes me to be a real “Debbie Downer” to myself.  Then I need a couple of days to recover my perspective on the situation.  Usually, I process this sort of thing while I sleep, and this incident is no exception, for I awoke this morning thinking of  EMDR differently from the way I had thought about it on Monday, the 14th.  On that day, I was thinking only of EMDR as a means for reprocessing trauma energy, and I was remembering the horrible reaction I had to an EMDR session during the time I saw my previous therapist (see “Why Take the Time to Prepare for EMDR?”, November 8th).  When I awoke this morning, I remembered that EMDR can also be used to install resources serving to strengthen the ego and help prepare a person for the reprocessing experience.  As I see it now, installing resources is a totally nonthreatening experience, something to anticipate with pleasure.  At least, I anticipate the experience with pleasure—I want to feel better!

How does one install a resource using EMDR?  I’ve read various articles, including one by Shirley Jean Schmidt (http://www.dnmsinstitute.com/doc/rf-emdr.pdf) discussing the use of EMDR to install resources, and perhaps the information that I stored in my brain from my reading somehow connected last night with the questions arising from the distress I experienced on the 14th.  According to Shirley Jean Schmidt, one installs resources by bilateral stimulation just as one deals with trauma memories by bilateral stimulation.  For example, on last Monday if I had drawn a picture showing the satisfaction I had felt at some point in my life when I had succeeded in mastering an important task or skill, then I would have kept that picture and the emotion and thought behind it in mind as I either did the bilateral eye movements or did bilateral tapping on my knees.  In theory, then, if I had done that last Monday, I would probably feel less threatened at a later time by the task of using EMDR to process a memory associated with trauma.
To me, therapy is a process, but it is also a task, one that I am attempting to complete in order to improve the quality of my life. While I know that I may not accomplish this task completely before I die, I want to work hard to accomplish as much as I can so that I can enjoy more serenity and peace of mind in my last years.  Also, I divide the general task of going through therapy into a number of subtasks, EMDR being one of those subtasks.  Therefore, to me it is perfectly logical to believe that if I have achieved good results and attained satisfaction when I have accomplished other major tasks at other times in my life, I can at some point in the future look forward to experiencing satisfaction when I use EMDR to reprocess trauma memories. 

So guess what I am going to discuss with my therapist this coming Monday, November 21st!  Right!  I am going to propose that we install a few resources that will take away some of the fear I have of reprocessing a trauma memory via EMDR!  More coming on this topic at a later date.