Trauma Therapy Session 21: Pause of EMDR. A great opportunity to address the bigger picture.

We took a break from EMDR. I had an appointment straight after the session which I didn’t really want to walk into in a mess. EMDR has been amazing but I am set on trying to tackle “the box” next time and I feel a little uncertain if it will go as well. Chris agreed that I was not avoiding and we should leave it for this week, so I suggested we cover a few bitty topics which were floating around.

Check in…

Chris wanted to check in after our last session. I struggled to describe just how good I felt. I tried my best to explain how the little things like cuddling up to watch bake off with Gwen felt so much more lovely. That I couldn’t help but smile every time I remembered the realisation the girls were safe with me. How even though I still wanted to learn to be a better parent it now came from the space of I can be better rather than I must stop being so awful. A shift from trying to avoid the negative to embracing the positive. That last session shifted so much. Strange how just some tapping and what feel like random thoughts can elicit so much strong conviction or knowing.

Ending Therapy.

The next topic was ending therapy. We are not entirely there yet but it is coming and being a reflector I knew it may help to discuss some of my considerations in advance.

Chris enquired how I was feeling about it and I answered truthfully that I was feeling good about it. I must admit the last time we talked about it some months ago I had not been in this space. At that point there felt like there were too many loose ends, a lack of conclusion and too much variability in how I was feeling outside of the sessions.

Now I feel fairly solid. I don’t feel perfect all the time (but what’s perfect anyway and who does). I am generally in a good space and I feel able to handle it when I am not. I feel like we have met some good conclusions and with the EMDR I can really feel a shift in my thinking and feelings, sort of like the final few minutes in the oven for a cake, setting it’s design. I’m pretty much done. (Well at least for now. I know Chris has said that we don’t have to do all the work in one go. Perhaps I will come back to decorate the cake another day, or maybe I will just find myself doing it without realising in those standard days after therapy).

I am mindful of not wanting to regress. Not wanting to slip backwards. To find myself in a place I was in last year. To this end I mentioned to Chris my idea to create a personalised list of questions to check in from time to time on my well-being. Intending to monitor things like my sleep or my openness in talking about my past or how jumpy I am being. Chris is going to share a couple of questionnaires for inspiration, which I think will be really helpful. He mentioned some of our prior assessments which I regularly avoided and a well-being assessment which I have not completed before. I am sure they will all be good food for thought.

Group therapy…

I mentioned my previous consideration of group therapy some where down the line. (I know I want to take a break from all therapy once we stop). In the past I have wondered if group therapy would give me a sense of connection to others who have experienced similar things. I feel more than ever out of place now in my life and I do long for that sense of being in a space I belong. Although I wonder if I just need to embrace feeling out of place. For me at least that is a good thing, If I was still in an environment similar to my first couple of decades of life, well…

I also hesitate a lot about group therapy because in the past I have just found exposure to similar circumstances in peoples lives hard rather than comforting and I know I am constantly trying to move forward and those conversations or spaces feel like they hold me in place, stagnate or suffocate me.

Chris as always shared some amazing insights.

  • Triggering conversations: You have to be prepared that you can’t control what comes up when or how and sometimes it can be very upsetting.
  • The Helper: Everyone will be at different stages and so people will want to look for others for extra help. As much in a good group sessions, participants are guided to not met outside of the group there are often attachments which form that are sometimes not helpful.
  • Group Dynamics: It takes a really skilled therapist to balance group dynamics. Who talks, how people respond, how you manage being triggered.
  • Connection: You can sometimes get something in a group setting you will find very hard to get through therapy. That sense when someone else just gets it as they have been where you have been.

Chris also mentioned different types of group therapy. Some that are a short set number of sessions, some which focus on specific themes each week, some where the group is a closed group: the members are set and once you leave you can’t come back, some that are open ended and have an open policy so you never know who might be there week to week.

After our discussion I felt myself leaning away from group therapy, but I haven’t dismissed it entirely there is still a part of me which longs for that sense of connection that wants to dissolve the loneliness of feeling so well alone with some of this.

Talking to friends…

This bridged nicely into the desire to be more open about my past. About wanting to share some of it with my closet friends. I know when I finish therapy I will still need an outlet. It feels like I locked a lot of this away for years and now I need a tap to keep releasing a bit of the pressure. That and I recognise the value of me accepting and integrating my past. That involves me talking freely about it, not treating it like a pet of me I want to delete, reject or hide.

We debated what made me nervous about talking to people about it, The risks…

  • I might upset them
  • I might trigger something I know nothing about
  • I might get upset
  • They might see me differently

Then we discussed the positives, the opportunities…

  • I might feel more accepting of myself.
  • I might find that sense of connection with the relationships I have now.
  • I might create the opportunity for them to share or in the future tackle their own daemons.
  • They might see the whole me and I may feel more at place knowing all the parts of me are ok.

Note as always Chris just guided this process of reflection and I had to be open to consider and understand my worries and hopes. Once I got to the last point of the opportunities ‘they might see all of me’ I realised this was almost the same as my biggest worry they might see me differently. Perhaps they will see me differently but that might not be a bad thing.


The final point we touched on I will save for another blog because the implications of it deserve the space to reflect a little more.

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