EMDR and Disassociation
Trauma in young children is stored in a “baby state” in which there are no images or thoughts about the trauma, just a felt sense of terror, abandonment, hurt or shame that never seems to go away. Babies absorb everything around them including their mother and environment. This includes the relationship template from those caring for them and becomes embedded into their body including their cells and muscle tissue. With the ETP we target the trauma by developmental time frames using a felt sense of trauma or what the client has heard of their early experiences. In this process we review the trauma material, then use EMDR therapy with a bilateral tapping method to release the trauma. Then we use a reparative process which allows the client to imagine what they needed that they didn’t get and then install positive thoughts or beliefs about that time period.
EMDR and the Body
Adults with severe and persistent trauma histories often began life just trying to survive day to day while experiencing unthinkable abuse with no way to escape. At the same time they were surviving the abuse they also had to attach to the perpetrator or caregivers to get their basic needs met. This meant having to hold the pain and the necessary functions for survival while at the same time maintaining attachments to perpetrators. This dual process can cause a client to feel detached from themselves and others, feel numb, experience loss of time, have drastic shifts in behavior, feel like two different people, able to ignore pain, difficulty getting close to others and just functioning in life can be hard. There is a continuum of dissociation and symptoms in clients with trauma.
We have advanced training in working with individuals from all ends of the continuum including mild forms of dissociation to DID (Disscoiative Identity Disorder). We have been trained in Ego State Therapy, Structural Dissociation, Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy (DNMS) and Internal Family Systems IFS. We integrate EMDR in our treatment of dissociation.
EMDR Therapy and Addiction
Trauma is a fact of life. Research shows that one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence; veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children. To enhance personal growth and help people leave the past in the past we have been trained in the FSAP (Feeling State Addiction Protocol) by Dr. Robert Miller to work with individuals and their addiction issues. The FSAP breaks the fixation between feeling and behavior. This fixation is the cause of addictions. Here are the steps that we take:
- Identify the exact behavior that has the most intense positive feeling.
- Identify the exact feeling that underlies that behavior.
- A modified form of EMDR is utilized to break the connection between the feeling and behavior.
- The negative beliefs that underlie the compulsive fixation are processed.
Once the fixation is broken, there are no further cravings or urges that have to be controlled or behavior that has to be managed. In fact the person is able to perform the behavior as appropriate. The underlying trauma that is connected to the addiction is processed with standard EMDR therapy.