Emdr and increased self harm and flashbacks

Emeralds

New Here
I have had 8 sessions for cptsd - relational trauma, emotional abuse. My flashbacks, hypervigilence, negative self perception, inner critic, serious low self worth and shame have increased and also self harm. Ive not self harmed in years and am really concerned i am on a slippery slope and scared emdr is not right? How does the processing happen after sessions? Should it get this bad? When will it get better?
 

Friday

Moderator
The “it gets worse before it gets better” with trauma therapies means that... yah. It gets worse before it gets better.

BUT? This should also be an ongoing conversation with your T. As in they know exactly how bad it IS getting, and how your coping mechanisms & containment strategies that you worked on getting solid with before starting EMDR are working (they did work with you for several weeks to several months, on those skills, before starting EMDR, yes?) or not working, and need to be built up / strengthened/ refined/ changed out/ etc. So that they’re not just doing EMDR blindly, thinking that the rest of your week is going fantastic, but able to adjust & adapt to how you’re struggling.

Otherwise it’s like being in physical therapy, and not telling your physical therapist that the exercises are hurting, (and how, where, for how long, to what degree, etc.) until you’re in the ER for ripped up muscles and broken bones because you did too much, too fast, too soon. So just because “it’s gonna knock you on your ass!” is expected? That doesn’t mean you keep it secret. You’re not going to disappoint your physical therapist, or your trauma therapist, (if either are any good at what they do) for having injuries that need to be worked on more slowly, or in more different ways. That’s their whole job. And dealing with challenges as they come up, is part of it. NOT dealing with challenges, as they come up, means your client can die. So it’s a very important part of it.
 

Emeralds

New Here
The “it gets worse before it gets better” with trauma therapies means that... yah. It gets worse before it gets better.

BUT? This should also be an ongoing conversation with your T. As in they know exactly how bad it IS getting, and how your coping mechanisms & containment strategies that you worked on getting solid with before starting EMDR are working (they did work with you for several weeks to several months, on those skills, before starting EMDR, yes?) or not working, and need to be built up / strengthened/ refined/ changed out/ etc. So that they’re not just doing EMDR blindly, thinking that the rest of your week is going fantastic, but able to adjust & adapt to how you’re struggling.

Otherwise it’s like being in physical therapy, and not telling your physical therapist that the exercises are hurting, (and how, where, for how long, to what degree, etc.) until you’re in the ER for ripped up muscles and broken bones because you did too much, too fast, too soon. So just because “it’s gonna knock you on your ass!” is expected? That doesn’t mean you keep it secret. You’re not going to disappoint your physical therapist, or your trauma therapist, (if either are any good at what they do) for having injuries that need to be worked on more slowly, or in more different ways. That’s their whole job. And dealing with challenges as they come up, is part of it. NOT dealing with challenges, as they come up, means your client can die. So it’s a very important part of it.
Thanks so very much for your reply, so hard to know what healing process might look and feel like with emdr. I have had traditional talking therapy, Transactional Analysis changed my life in so many ways, but this really is scoring down into the depths that I feel I have needed to go for years but have not been able to. Lived with such intense inner critic and scared 'parts' (internal family system) I will speak about this with my T properly this Sat. I have grounding techniques but sometimes hard to apply when things come up suddenly, new sensations, feelings, triggers and so so many tears.

I so so want to heal and be able to experience loving healthy connection to a partner. I feel I am doing all I can. Perhaps I am trying to rush the process a little too. It is twice a week at the moment, which I think is prob too much.
I moved in with a partner, which has brought to the surface triggers and flashbacks, sad really that it is moving in with a loving partner that has brought all this up. I really want it to work and they have been supportive, but I dont think they were prepared really for the depths of where this might go. They really have not reacted well to my self harm this weekend and has had to take time away from me.
Your analogy with physical illness is so incredible, we are so stigmatised with mental health issues, trauma is an incredibly intelligent survival response to adverse experiences and abuse.
 

Widow_of_one

MyPTSD Pro
I have c-ptsd and am frightened of trying emdr bc of it. I have intense flashbacks on a daily basis and I know that I can feel very overwhelmed bc of it. And I don’t want to accelerate it “if I’m not ready.”
Listen to what your gut is saying: if you need to stop then stop!
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
The “it gets worse before it gets better” with trauma therapies means that... yah. It gets worse before it gets better.
EMDR will send you all over the place for a while. It does most of its work in the background so you really don't know whats going on sometimes.

My biggest struggle is that EMDR is like a complex program running on your brain computer. Only you can't see how much resources its using. So when you do other things or "run other programs" it can be that things you did with no problem yesterday overload the hell out of you today. The only way you find that out though is when you get to overloaded. It sucks.

The good is that it works. I know some things are changing. There are still struggles for sure but I haven't had the nightmare in months and that alone is worth it.
 
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