A new kind of EMDR?

photo credit: tamar schilgi mamou

photo credit: tamar schilgi mamou

Fingers crossed!

It's a bit soon for me to write about this, as I am just beginning to use this particular method, and haven't yet had to navigate any difficulties (in part because none of the expected difficulties have arisen), but there is a new EMDR protocol that I am very excited about!  I've only used it on a few clients, and experienced it myself, but the results have been unexpectedly and remarkably good.

I'm not going to go into too many details, as it's so new, but it seems that if you have a specific trauma (memory, feeling, or negative cognition about yourself), of any intensity, and you also have the ability to viscerally access joyful, happy, or exciting memories, or have a creative imagination that can be directed towards something equally joyful or positive, then this new protocol might be a good fit for you.  

The main benefits of this protocol seem to be that it's a lot easier than normal EMDR processing, it avoids intellectualization and other forms of subconscious resistance because it seems pretty non-triggering, it also seems to work very quickly.  My own excitement stems from the fact that the issues that I've used this method to work on with clients have not been simple issues.  They have been complex, painful issues that seem to have been resolved painlessly in a single session.  Each of the clients I've used this method with were shocked when the pain suddenly wasn't there anymore; they each rated their distress at a zero at the end of session.  To be honest, I'm a bit shocked, myself, at how well this works.

I will follow-up with this post next week, in a couple of months, and then about six months after that, just to assure you, and myself that the results will hold as well as they do for normal EMDR.

I truly hope that this turns out to be as wonderful as I think it will.  

*A month later:

Well, I'm a bit late, but the follow-up is really good news: all of the original results have held over the past month; distress on the original issues is still rated a zero in each instance.  I've made some variations to the protocol to simplify the method, which I think are improvements.  The one thing that I've noticed as I've continued to use it with clients is that it doesn't work terribly well if the client is emotionally activated to begin with.  If a client is very upset, it's difficult to set aside the painful emotions long enough to form a visceral connection to positive emotions; in these instances, I'm continuing to do standard EMDR with my clients, or a method called IRP (Integrative Resource Protocol) which resources individual parts as they arise (I'll do a post on this soon).

Overall, the results have been very positive, and it has changed my practice significantly.  My clients and I have been accessing deeper issues more regularly because the process has felt safer.  We have been able to process trauma and negative core beliefs without very much difficulty at all, in a way that actually feels pretty good.  It's a bit more complicated than I originally thought, but it's still a whole new way of practicing therapy.