EMDR and Parts Work
EMDR therapy helps to reprocess and integrate memories that have not yet been resolved. When something disturbing happens and does not get fully processed, that memory is stored in isolation. In addition, all the aspects of that memory are also stored in isolation, the beliefs we hold about ourselves as a result, the emotions, the body sensations, our five-sense perception, all of that is also fragmented. EMDR can help these memories and the aspects of those memories to become integrated and to be stored in the frontal lobes (our thinking brain) rather than our limbic system (the animal or flight or fight response brain).
An area of EMDR that I am passionate about is Attachment informed EMDR. Attachment focus EMDR is as a result of Dr Laurel Parnell and her amazing work in this field and highlighting the importance of focusing on clients early developmental stories. Attachment informed EMDR developed by Mark Brayne in the UK has resulted from this amazing work and builds on both Francine Shapiro’s core EMDR model and Dr Parnell’s Attachment Focused EMDR. It provides a relational structure and tight focus on what needs to happen to help a client shift and heal. In Attachment informed EMDR we aim to identify and repair early attachment ruptures, explicitly encouraging and supporting the clients Adaptive Information Processing capacity to rework and rewire their implicit response circuits to stress. Mark takes this further with his work in Intergenerational EMDR and Dreams with EMDR.
The amazing work of Dolores Mosquera, Anabel Gonzalez and Kathy Steele in their work with Dissociative Disorders and CPSTD also gives gifted guidance in how to work with this vulnerable population. There are so many gifted and inspirational leaders out there in the EMDR community that it makes this a very exciting time to be an EMDR therapist. To compliment this amazing therapy, I use parts work alongside EMDR. When a person has unresolved pain, trauma, or loss, they are often left feeling fragmented. One part of them might long for connection, the other part keeps people at a safe distance and pushes loved ones away. Even their memories are fragmented and disjointed. This is all a very natural response to unresolved trauma, and we now know more about the brain and recovery from pain than ever before. Therapies that help work with different parts recognize that we all have different parts of ourselves that might show up at different times or under different types of stress. When a person has unresolved trauma or internal conflict, these parts of ourselves might get bigger and more at odds with one another. Doing parts work can help us resolve internal conflict and restore a sense of an empowered self.
EMDR is an integrative treatment approach and inclusion of helpful adjunct theories and therapies are therefore included in EMDR consultation.
“Trauma is not the external event. It’s the internal wound”