2020 has left the world with a lot of pain and suffering. That said, can you imagine the possibilities of healing with EMDR? As I was meditating on that, I thought of how EMDR fosters the ability for “clients” to be present.
How does EMDR do that?
Phase 1: As we are completing history taking, we might ask questions such as, “When you think of that memory, how do you feel? Where do you feel it in your body?” Our primary objective here is to link memories into themes for target sequencing. The Client noticing their inner experience is just a nice secondary benefit.
Phase 2: When we are preparing Clients for EMDR, even the most basic aspects of this endeavor involve the Client’s presence. When we test out different forms of BLS as an example, the Client is in the experience. Of course, with Safe Place, Safe State, The Container, Light Stream, etc. we are helping our Clients develop Mindfulness. When we use a technique such as the Back of the Head Scale for dissociation, we facilitate the Client’s awareness because as soon as we ask them, “Where are you at?” the past or future focus has shifted to the present in some degree.
Phase 3: As we go through the assessment, we are attempting to activate the Client’s maladaptive memory network by asking, “When you think of the image and negative cognition, what would you like to believe about yourself now (i.e. the present)?”
Phase 4: When we provide the train metaphor, we are asking the Client to simply observe what comes up without judgement, just notice. The idea of Dual Awareness, is that while staying here in the present, we are accessing the past. When the Client has both feet in the past, we as Clinician’s intervene with the goal of bringing the Client to the present.
Phase 5: We are now installing a positive belief, enhancing it with BLS, so that when they access the previously disturbing memory, we are allowing the present consciousness (adaptive memory network) to make peace with the past, thus allowing our Client to live more in the present.
Phase 6: The Body Scan itself is a Mindfulness activity.
Phase 7: Essentially we are using mindfulness techniques i.e. Container, Safe Place, etc. to help the Client contain or release any of the traumatic residue from the previous phases. We are also asking them to be present by requesting that they complete the TICES log.
Phase 8: Rinse and repeat!
A final question, what is the value of being more present? Please share your thoughts.
I have discovered the importance of being present by reading Eckhart Tolle’s, The Power of Now, a book that Jordan turned me on to, and I am so glad he did!
Robert Peacock, LCSW-S
EMDRIA Approved Consultant
EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist