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echolocation

EMDR for reasons other than trauma

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hey everyone.

as you might know, i'm doing EMDR right now. if you do any reading about EMDR, the first thing that usually comes up is how effective it is for trauma particularly, but also for depression, anxiety, etc. i do not have or suspect a PTSD diagnosis and do not suffer with the effects of trauma. i'm actually doing EMDR for personality disorder (OCPD) treatment.

we only just started, but i have really high hopes based on how the first real session went. we focused on my belief that i cause people to leave me by not being good enough, even the cases of people moving for work/school or my dad's heart attack. this belief had been causing me a good deal of trouble recently, because a very good friend of mine just moved to another province with her boyfriend. at the end of the session, i had a crystal clear thought -- it's not my fault she left, and my actions wouldn't have made her stay. i feel far more at peace with her moving now, and no longer feel personally afflicted by it, aside from the usual feelings of missing our usual meetups. so, it might just be placebo so far, but i'm feeling encouraged that this might help untangle my other really deep-seated negative beliefs.

has anyone else tried EMDR for non-trauma reasons? or, would you consider it?

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Posted (edited)

@echolocation EDMR is one of the few therapies I have not tried.. I had been wondering if it was ever used for things other than severe PTSD trauma or panic disorder (like depression, GAD, or even long past trauma that you are not consciously aware of?) I have quite a few deep-rooted beliefs that no therapy seems to touch. I'm curious to hear how it goes for you.

Edited by Blahblah
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@Blahblah i think i might update here/in blogs about how it goes. it's interesting so far. she has me pick something that's been bothering me, and then we drill down to what the real underlying belief is that made me feel so bad. it kind of goes something like this (just an example i've made up):

i'm sad that i wasn't invited to a party --> it's not that i feel bad about not going to the party, it's that i wasn't invited --> i feel that the host chose not to invite me (rather than not thinking of me/forgetting) --> she didn't invite me because i'm no fun --> nobody wants to be around me --> CORE BELIEF: i bring misery everywhere i go

so once we've identified the core belief, she does a "float back", where i close my eyes and she tells me to thing of times where i've felt that way before. she repeats aloud "you bring misery everywhere you go. no one wants to be around you" a few times, and then waits to see if it brings anything up. she'll do the float back a few times until we hit a pretty early age. i think the ideal scenario is to find the first time you felt that way, but getting close or finding a particularly strong time you felt that way is good enough.

when i've described the earliest memory in as much detail as i can, she does the EMDR part. she waves her finger side to side fairly quickly, and i follow it with my eyes. after a few seconds of that, she lets me sit quietly for a bit. i found here that i started crying and felt a big surge of emotion, even though my brain felt empty. she told me that's the reprocessing. we repeat the eye movement part a few times until i feel like i'm done.

my mood has been brighter since that session, and like i said, it helped immensely with feeling okay about my friend moving. of course, tdoc is on vacation for the next month, so i don't see her again until aug 12, i think.

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That's interesting. My hunch is that I have some subconscious events/memories though from childhood tangled in that I simply don't remember. I often get overwhelmed with visceral emotions, but I don't remember much from my early childhood before age 10. i wonder if you can still "clear" stuff that you cannot access? Has EDMR been clinically studied or is it "alternative" ? it reminds me of EFT "tapping"

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they say sometimes EMDR brings up stuff that is really buried. i haven't experienced that so far, but my tdoc gave me a full prep lesson for ways to take care of myself if something that had been blocked out comes up during/after EDMR.

it has been through some clinical trials. here's a couple articles just from googling "EMDR clinical trial".

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.476.4096&rep=rep1&type=pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28660669

the EMDR international association has a list of randomized clinical trials on its website (you can probably find the full text for most with some strategic googling).

 

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It's been studied in the sense that it has been consistently found to help people in RCTs. From what I've heard the thing is that no one knows why it works, there is no evidence that the original hypothesis on why it worked is true. But hey, it works. We don't actually know why most psych meds work either, there are just unproven hypothesis. I was pretty stunned when I found that out, but hey, if they work they work! Every time I say this someone "explains" to me how they work, but they are just explaining an unproven hypothesis. So it's no more "alternative" than psychiatric meds are alternative. (I think this is the course where they explained the different hypotheses of anti-depressants, but I forget which one i twas because I did a few of these free courses https://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/health/understanding-depression-and-anxiety/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab )

The main reasons humans want to know why is that if we know why we can streamline it, or find different applications, or new and better ways of doing it, but in the meantime.. it works! :)

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I've had two sessions of EMDR, so far. The first consisted of about 4 of 6 rounds and the second session (a week later) was just 2 rounds.

Although I am sure the therapist is a very skilled EMDR professional I'm wasn't entirly sure if he fully understands what my problem is about. And how it could be treated with EMDR.
I don't have any acute fears or phobias and the  OCD/obessive thought that is bothering me does not create any tension with me. You could say that I'm used to having the thought in my mind. 
Still, it's very annoying and frustrating and I feel sad that I think 'it' so much.

According to my therapist it works best for intrusive images or memories that are terrifying and make you feel tense and physically uncomfortable.
I don't have that with my intrusive thought....

The therapist didn't propose more sessions (in part because he was going on holiday). I got this feeling/idea that he didn't really know how to work with OCD or non-traumatic feeling or fears.

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