Thoughts about EMDR ( what is EMDR ?)
Andrew Solomon has written a book called «The noonday demon» (2001) based on his own experience with depression. He has travelled the world to find answers to what depression is and how to treat it, for himself and to help others. He tried different types of treatment strategies, and rated them afterwards. For him, medication was necessary, but he found other therapeutic methods helpful as well. One of them was EMDR
He writes: «I was convinced that it was a cute but insignificant system and was very much surprised by the results» «I was flooded with incredibly powerful images from childhood, things I hadn`t know were even in my brain. I could form association in no time at all: My mind became speedier thana it`s ever been, p 141».
In the same book he talks with Elliot Valenstein, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience. He explains «The medications are excellent and we are grateful to the companies for making them, but it`s a shame that the educational process isn`t balanced better. Further, because industry funds many of the largest and most comprehensive studies; There are more studies of new drug therapies than of other new treatments such as EMDR, p 394»
I use EMDR a lot, and am still impressed by its effects. True enough, it doesn`t always lead to revelations, but I haven`t encountered one person who doesn`t feel calmer while using it. Maybe this is because my clients want to be nice, but it can`t be all, can it? When it comes to real traumatic events, it can work magic. Still, too little research is done, and I already have so many research questions waiting for an answer. One of them is based on an evolutionary principle: We were originally born to live in the wild. We used our whole body much of the day: We had to run, hunt, make tools and interact in a much more physical way than many do now. I still love to use «both sides of my body» when I write, when I swim, and when I walk. I always feel calmer when I do, and I wonder if this might have some connection with EMDR. Are we maybe made for bilateral movement? Are we supposed to switch from one side to the other? Is this integration?
We know that women have a larger corpus callosum than males, and we also know about other differences between men and women. We need the «interaction» of logic with feelings, so that we don`t react to
emotional, but also because we need to appreciate our emotions when we choose. Antonio Damasio was a pioneer when it comes to the last principle. He showed that we make better judgements when we trust our gut feelings, and that people with certain personality traits have problems with figuring out the best «rule» when deciding between alternativatives (some sociopaths are known for taking risks that normally would be inhibited by reactions of fear in others). If sociopaths were more sensitive to fear, and had more access to compassion, what would be the results?
Many daily activities are bilateral. Bicycling, swimming, walking, gesturing and dancing are rhythmical left-right. I wonder if this rapid shifting from one side to the other, might be one of the important elements in EMDR. There are some studies that look at EMDR and other bilateral stimulation, such as sounds or small, electrical currents delivered to first the left and then the right hand, and they point to an effect even then. Still, eye movements from left to right, has the strongest effect, so even if it helps, it doesn`t look like other modes of stimulation has the same potential. Until we know more, I will continue with my holistic approach, using both sides of my body as much I can. I have ONE body, and I think its important to not ignore parts of it. Isn`t this was integration is all about?