Sunday, June 26, 2022

Comments by sonus silentio

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  • Hi Sam,

    I’m new here, just thought I’d share my personal experience with EMDR and dissociation in case it’s any help. I don’t have ‘full-blown’ DID but do have internal ‘parts’ which have different thoughts, emotions and knowledge of the world than I do. I’m unable to engage with traditional EMDR because my dissociation is too severe, but over the last few years I’ve developed a method with my therapist which uses EMDR as a tool inside a wider process based on the Internal Family Systems model, gestalt and narrative therapy.

    I use self-guided visualisation, grounding and a technique called ‘pendulation’ to manage different dissociative parts alongside my ‘executive function’ part (aka the ‘present day me’). In a sense this allows me to become my own therapist (under the guide of my actual therapist), to negotiate with and draw on the strength of different parts to help each other. It slowly built the strength and structure which has enabled me to manage traumatic material. Personally I do find it helpful to share the content of what I’m processing with my therapist, but some people have specifically used these techniques in order to process memories which they find too triggering to speak about openly, even with a therapist.

    The EMDR itself is partly used as a way to compartmentalise the processing of extremely overwhelming memories/emotions – it’s very useful to delineate when I am ‘in’ and ‘out’ of processing mode, and as such I use it as a tool to help my ‘parts’ have a safe containing structure in which to experience excruciating material in short, manageable sections.

    It’s also useful as a grounding technique during processing (the rhythmic nature of bilateral stimulation seems to distract parts of the brain which would otherwise quickly become overwhelmed). I can’t say for sure if it does anything beyond that.. perhaps if I was using the same method but replaced EMDR with some different repetitive/ritualised movement it would work just as well, or perhaps there really is some extra neurological benefit to BLS? But I can say that EMDR has been a great tool which has helped me make more progress in the last 3 years than with any ‘talk therapy’ previously.

    The wider process I use is too complex to cover in a brief comment, but I’m happy to try to explain more if it’s of any interest you. Best wishes to you and your wife.