Psycho-Babble Grief | about grief, mourning, loss | Framed
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Posted by Crazy_Charlie on November 4, 2004, at 6:43:32

In reply to Re: This story might be hard to believe..., posted by Jai Narayan on October 7, 2004, at 15:06:03

We had training in EMDR in my study (I'm a clinical psychologist), but since it isn't in my field of work I can't really say I'm anywhere near an expert in it... what I DO know, is that it is accepted as one of the most effective way of healing PTSD flashbacks. It's a simple, but very good principle.

I though I'd might try explaining it a bit :-) Feel free to correct me, I have had a certain amount of training in it, but any therapy requires a lot of practizing before you can say that you really "know" it. I will explain it the way I understood it from my studies, there might be many of you in here knowing a lot more about it than me, please feel free to correct me.

When you have flashbacks as a part of your PTSD (post traumatic stress disorer, a late reaction to a trauma), those flashbacks is almost like being back at the moment when the trauma happened. Your life gets an ever circle of entering the same hell over and over again. It's like a dream where you fall off the mountain, and instead of waking up at the moment you fall, you just fall over and over again.

EMDR is trying to break this circle by changing your consciousness when these flashbacks are entering you, it teaches you to take control over your memories, to let them be what they are... memories! It is based on the fact that these memories are firing off the same neurons in your head that was active when you first experienced the trauma. Investigations using brainscanning has found out that when someone diagnosed as PTSD has flashbacks, these flashbacks trigger the same areas in the brain that would be triggered in the real event, also in the visual field! This is a kind of bad functioning neurological "circle", and the crucial is to break that circle, which in fact is a very easy principle. So easy that manye people don't believe in it, or are fooled by the easyness in it. No matter how easy, it still needs a skilled trainer for someone with PTSD. Flashbacks can sometimes happen in therapy with people who are not necessarily PTSD, and then some simple tricks according to the neurological principle might help. Since these are the tricks that I know most about (my field is forensic psychology and prisoners, if I were working more with PTSD I would learn more about it-interesting subject).

I'll repaet the principle: break the bad "neurological circle" (it's not called that, but I call it that to make it more understandable, thereby the "), and you can help the patient get rid of the flashbacks. One way to do it is make the person give explain what he sees in the flashbacks, and during his telling you are making him focus on something that is moving, for example two of your fingers in front of his eyes. The present movement will break the circle from something he doesn't really see, and thereby bring him back to "here and now". Another technique is to break off the persons story on a regular basis during the story by saying something like this: "remember, this is a while ago. Today, you sit in my office, and in my chair. Please put your hands on the chair and feel that you are sitting here. Look around you, notice that you are not at the place where all these awful things happened to you. Now continue on your story"

Now please note, this is nothing you should do without really knowing a lot about PTSD and how to treat it. I only use it when it is emergent, since I am not experienced in this field. It sounds simple, but you still have to be able to really break that circle if you mak ethe person talk about his trauma. A person with PTSD will often get worse when talking about the trauma unless that circle is broken, which is contrary to most other problems, so it is important that only trained and experienced professionals do things like this... unless it is an emergency where it can be excused.

I hope that clarifyed it a tiny bit, and as I said, feel free to correct me.




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