Trauma Therapy Session 20:Well that was astonishing again. EMDR…

I knew going into todays session that it could be amazing but still it blows me away just how effective it can be. I am sure it helps I have an amazing psychologist who is so skilled at guiding me on this path.

EMDR My Takeaways…

Before I describe as best I can the flow for todays EMDR session there were a couple of key take aways about the process.

  • It feels so different to CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). As much I am positive the CBT helped, after many of the sessions I would feel drained at best and broken at worst. I had to work through so much noise in between sessions. Working through unwanted emotions and thoughts. EMDR is the total opposite. I come away feeling uplifted, happier more assured. It feels like the work is more concluded some how and it leaves me with a positive feeling.
  • I seam to unintentionally follow a process in every EMDR session. As we work through the stages of reflection my pattern has always been… Emotions come up first, then thoughts, then memories, then thoughts, then feelings. I am not sure how much of that cycle is in the hands of my guide, is unique to me, or is a common thing. For me so far it was been the same each time.

So what memory did we tackle…

Honestly I am not sure if the below is 100% accurate in describing the exact flow of todays session. Even straight afterwards when trying to describe to Stephen what we discussed it felt a bit hard to recall it all. The conversation had flowed so naturally. It’s a strange thing but the recollection just felt a little different to a normal conversation. We covered so much in such a short space of time it was hard to keep up, but here goes…

This was an interesting one because it was not actually a memory. I occasionally get horrific nightmares which have echos of my past but instead of me being the centre of the abuse it is one of my girls. These nightmares are without a doubt the worst. And although this year so much of my nighttime wakings and bad dreams have evaporated, occasionally I am still haunted by these awful unbearable torments. I know now if I have one of those nightmares there is no point trying to go back to sleep. When ever I wake from them I have spend a good while just trying to steady myself enough to get up. Eventually I do and I have to find a distraction so often as it is quiet and does not disturb the rest of the house I find myself working in the wee small hours of the morning.

The nightmare I chose was actually one of the milder ones. It still feels horrific even to share it… yeah actually I just won’t. You probably don’t need to know anyway.

The process.

We shaped the belief, the one which rang true at the start, I am an incompetent mother, I will get it wrong and the consequences will be dire. And the belief I wanted I am a devoted loving mum and I do a good job.

We ran through the usual process of tapping, letting whatever came to the surface arrive whilst holding an image of the nightmare in mind. Very briefly discussing the revelation and then tapping again.

Some of it was expected, the desperation, fear. Some of it was unexpected. My head offered me another what felt like random memory. One I thought might come up sooner or later. It was one of those moments from my past which was either one of my weakest moments (because part of me just wanted to stop, for the world to cease and I to cease within it, I was exhausted with the fight and confused and lost. Or it was one of my strongest moments because no matter how much I wanted to just stay led in a mess on the floor I knew I couldn’t. I knew I had to get up and so I did.)

Chris had stepped in and offered a brief retreat to the ‘Smokey Jazz Bar’ interestingly although I needed it I refused to take what I was feeling there. The Jazz bar was now my safe and happy place. It felt wrong to bring the energy of that memory with me. That it would some how damage the sanctity of the place. I just took a couple of minutes and tried to ground myself in the room instead, to marshall my strength to go back in and go back I did.

What was unexpected and eventually empowering were the thoughts which came with the memory. The confusion with the thought that I had done everything right and I still ended up there, where I didn’t want to be. It developed into a fear that I had already failed the girls and I just did not know it yet. Because clearly I couldn’t identify all my mistakes. But then it was the realisation I had not messed up and I still landed there. That though was scary because it highlighted the absolute lack of control I had over situations and freeing as I realised perhaps I had not done anything wrong. It was hard to sit with that memory and the feelings associated with it but I did.

The conclusion of the session which again unfolded with delicate grace was a barrage of realisations. I was a pretty good parent, that I didn’t need to protect the girls from me. They were safe with me and I really felt it. I knew it with every fibre of my being.

Chris smiled a little at my conclusion. Then we tested those believes again the belief I was a good mum had increased loads to a good 6 out 7 (always room for improvement). And the heat around the recollection of that nightmare reduced from a 7 to 3.

I wish I can explain how I felt. Just from those twenty or so minutes I felt lighter, slightly more confident, hopeful and content.

When the girls got home from school once I had hugged them for an age i whisked them off to the bay, for a walk by the sea and a huge milkshake.

I always knew how lucky I was to have this happy ever after perhaps though I never entirely knew just how lucky I was.


After the session I thought of a good analogy for my years of living slightly numb to life. It was like living on tofu and now being given the most amazing steak. Yes I still experienced emotions last year but they were all slightly limited, bland, like the edge was taken off. Of course for the hard emotions that worked but I had not even realised that the good feelings were muted too. This new openness is like an elixir it’s divine reality such a warm snuggly blanket. I hope I can hold on to it forever.

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