Wow. My first session of EMDR with my new therapist was fantastic. Intense and exhausting, but really interesting. And successful.
She had a process that was quite a bit different than the ways I have done it before with other therapists. So if you’ve tried it or are thinking about it, ask about how it’s done. Of course, I’m not sure I could have chosen one that I liked the best until doing them all.
I picked a target, a memory/moment that really affects me. The further back, the better since it can be connected to the newer memories. For me, my targets this time will be memories with the guy from high school and some major moments in my marriage that contribute to my struggles with not feeling good enough, not being worthy of healthy, equal, and supportive love.
She had me sit forward on my chair which was new for me. She talked about how this position engages the core and why that is important. It really did make a big difference from sitting relaxed.
Once I had my target for the session and I was sitting forward, we talked about the negative feelings and beliefs connected to it. She had me focus on different areas of the room and think about the negative memory. This was amazing because that memory was more or less horrible depending on where I focused my eyes. One area is normally the “worst” for a person and it was clear which area this memory was stuck. So that becomes my area of focus.
So I’ve got my target and I’ve got my area I will be focusing my eyes. Now I’ve got headphones on which will be on for periods of time while I focus my eyes and think about the memory. The headphones vary, some therapists use tones and this was a combination of music and tones. It was really good.
People get hung up here thinking they will have to voice details of horrible memories and that’s the greatest part about EMDR. I never said a word. Just focused my eyes and thought about it. I’m told to think about how it makes me feel, think about how my body is feeling while thinking about it, and just let it happen.
I’m sure the experience is different for everyone, but for me this was a very powerful session. Quick too. As I thought about it, I had a lot of physical symptoms and some that I don’t mind sharing. With this specific moment/memory, I got hot in my chest and physically shook. Then I felt this heavy weight and the strangest pain in my knees. And as we worked through the negative, she starts to ask what “that girl” needs.
That’s when I realized right where The Girl in the Corner came from…that exact moment. I could see it so clearly as the very moment I started to accept abuse. I fought through the urge to stop and go home and we decided what the girl needed. I breathed in those things that were needed and exhaled the ick. Specific words were exhaled. Specific words inhaled. And the pain moved up and out my body. I could feel it.
Powerful, awesome things happened for me. I lost the view of the room even though my eyes remained opened and focused on my spot. It was dark around me and I released and released that moment and that weight like the loud, single clap of hands.
Woah. It was really crazy.
To end a session of EMDR, you always want to try and be relaxed. As relaxed as possible anyway. And I felt exhausted. She reminded me that my brain would continue to process and that I would likely be very tired. I was. I still am.
We checked in with that memory, and I was ok. Thinking about it now, I experience none of those negative physical symptoms.
Goodbye traumatic moment. I will not miss you hurting me.
I cannot wait to go back and work with the other targets I will choose. Really excited for this final stage of my healing.
I AM good enough.