Until I wrote the previous post, the one in which I discussed closing and locking the door to my twenty-year marriage that ended three decades ago, I had never thought much about doors, either the physical doors we encounter in our homes or the metaphoric doors of our inner lives.  However, since I wrote that post, I have given the matter of doors much more thought. 

As I have been reflecting upon the topic of doors recently, I have become more aware of them.  And now that I am about to open a new door, the door leading to the EMDR segment of my therapy, I am experiencing anticipation, eagerness, a sense of nearing the end of my present therapy—all good feelings.  On the other hand, I am also experiencing fear, the fear that goes with the uncertainty of doing something new and different.  In my case, though, my fear of starting EMDR work is also based on a previous bad experience I had with a different therapist.

Before I relate the unfortunate incident, though, let me say that EMDR works!  The Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy goal is, roughly, to defuse the traumatic memories, leaving the memories but taking away much of the emotional pain associated with the memories.  For more about the technical aspects of this therapy, please see the following website: http://www.emdrnetwork.org/.  See especially the clients’ pages for descriptions of the therapy from the clients’ perspectives.

The first time I experienced EMDR I had been traumatized by an incompetent therapist.  She had slapped me because I could not stop crying.  I did not return to her, and I thought I was able to forget the incident, but months later I found myself needing help processing it.  A new therapist used the EMDR technique with me, and afterward I could remember being slapped, but the emotional content of the experience had lost its potency.  I could remember, but I wasn’t upset by the memory.

The second time I experienced EMDR, I was treated by a person who should not have been treating me.  If you read the protocol, the steps of preparation listed on the website, you will see that the preparation for treating a person who suffered one traumatic incident can be vastly different from the preparation needed in treating a person who has C-PTSD.

The therapist who used EMDR with me the second time evidently had not read the information on preparation.  There was little to no preparation, and when she put the apparatus on me, she turned up the dial to maximum potency and left me for what seemed like a half hour.  When she removed the apparatus, my mind was in a fog and I felt lucky to be able to find my way home.  Shortly after arriving home, I suffered a horrible reaction!  My mind was caught in a time warp, and I was back in my kitchen being forced by my husband to engage in sex; at least one of my children was present in the house and could hear me cry.  When I had recovered sufficiently from this reaction, I called my therapist and asked for her help, but she said she didn’t know what to do for me.  That was a Monday. By the next Monday, I had a new therapist, the one I am seeing now.

My present therapist and I have been working for about 2 ½ years now to get ready for EMDR.  We are approaching this door very slowly, and I anticipate that we may open it with extreme caution, inch by inch, maybe even centimeter by centimeter.

So this coming Monday, November 12th, I will begin opening the door to EMDR, which possibly will be the last phase of my treatment for C-PTSD.  I say possibly because in my experience, I can never be certain as to the course my treatment may take.  I suspect, however, that while I am undergoing EMDR treatment, I will also be working still at my Ego State Therapy.  The two therapeutic modes are intertwined.  I have come a long way in working with my ego states and getting them to the point where the parts work together for the good of all, but as the collection of personality parts that I call “myself” or “I” opens the door to EMDR and steps across the threshold of this new experience, I anticipate that more work will need to be done to insure that the ego states involved can continue to work together in relative harmony.  I may be wrong about this!  On the other hand, I may be right on the money.  I don’t know, for I have not yet even put my hand on the door knob.

My therapist and I have a lot to talk about regarding the EMDR facet of my therapy.  I will do my best to let you, my readers, know what happens so that you can follow my process.  EMDR defuses trauma energy.  That I know from my previous experience, for now I can remember the experience of being slapped by a therapist and also remember what happened in my kitchen when I was married, but the two experiences do not carry the emotional load that they once had.  Because I know the therapy is effective, I am willing to give it another try, this time with a therapist whom I trust to do her absolute best in making the experience effective and without “side effects.”  If side effects do occur, however, I plan to hang in there and continue with EMDR because I know my therapist is experienced and competent enough to know how to give me the support I need.

So look for future articles on my blog describing my journey through EMDR.  Again, an ancient Gaelic blessing—

May Your Journey Be Successful ,
May The Wind Always Be At Your Back,
May The Sun Shine Warm Upon Your Face,
May The Rains Fall Soft Upon Your Fields,
And May The Roads Always Lead You Home.

We are all journeying home, home being that place inside us where we are the authentic people we were born to be!