Katie O’Shea, MS, LMHC, LCPC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant, Innovative Psychotherapist

As my thinking has been developing regarding EMDR Therapy, I’ve decided that there are three areas that I need to develop: 1. Trauma Resolution; 2. working with Internal Family Systems; and 3. Targeting Early Trauma and Implicit Memory directly.

The last one comes from having attended Katie O’Shea’s workshop, “When There are No Words: Targeting Early Trauma Held in Implicit Memory with EMDR,” in Austin last month. (Thanks to Christie Sprowls, for bringing her to Texas.)

Some of the ideas I got and am starting to do are:

Safe “State” instead of Safe “Place”.

  • I ask myself regularly now, “Is it okay for me to feel safe when I am safe?” That helps. It surprises me that I generally don’t feel as safe as I can, in any moment.
  • When I teach this to clients, they seem to have the same experience, so, that it is helpful to them as well.
  • In addition, when working with the “safe state” with clients, a lot of productive material is uncovered that may be processed later with the standard protocol.

Processing Time Periods vs. Experiences or Events.

  • I’d never thought of doing EMDR processing based on ‘time periods,’ or knew you could do that. Even if I did, I don’t know if I’d have seen the value.
  • I think there is value in it now.  I’m going to find out what difference does it make if you process, “The Time Before Were Born?”, for example, vs. The time you had a traumatic experience and processing whatever was done to you?”.  This equates to trauma processing vs. implicit memory processing.

Processing Affective Circuits Directly

  • We learned that you can process different levels of the arousal of affective circuits, directly. The four levels of arousal in circuits are’ non-specific arousal’, ‘primary’, ‘secondary’, and ‘tertiary’ levels of affect. These different levels of arousal ‘effect’ and/or  ‘affect’ brain processing (I never know which).
  • The affective circuits are set at seven by Jaak Panksepp, and I try to pull them from memory but can’t always do it. Let’s see if I can do it now: Fear, Rage, Lust/Sex, Panic/Grief, Play, Caring, Seeking. I did.
  • I think the ‘seeking’ circuit may be what drives behavior, so it would make sense to clear it out.
    Shame is added as a “social” circuit, as I recall, and is very strong, as we all know.

3 hour sessions

  • I like the idea of 3 hour sessions. You could do two a day. I don’t know if you’d see the people weekly, monthly, or whenever.
  • Advantage: Working more deeply with fewer clients.
  • Disadvantage: Costs more.

Using the Container

  • She taught using the container exercise in a way that the mind naturally flows and was different than how I learned it, or teach it.
  • She obviously was able to adjust when things didn’t work to find a way to do it (i.e. EMDR processing), differently.
  • I’ve tried and done many techniques, like the container, or resourcing or the safe/calm place that didn’t seem to have a lasting effect. I think it’s less a matter of following a protocol strictly but more in adapting the technique or protocol to a personal style and situation. (I’m not talking about the 11-Step EMDR Standard Protocol, in this case.)

I’m sure there is more but that’s a lot for me me to get from one workshop.  Now, to put it to use.

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