In short, no. We never made a safety plan or discussed concretely what I should/shouldn't do.You asked for help with coping mechanisms. Did your therapist ensure that you had adequate ways of coping before he started treatment?
Sometimes we touched on my current (unhealthy) coping strategies, and he'd tell me to make sure I take time to myself after an EMDR session. A few times I confided in him about my heightened need for distraction (I'd constantly play soothing TV shows in my headphones, and had a near panic attack in the grocery store when I lost reception and the show stopped playing on my phone). He just told me it's normal and don't worry about it. And we moved on.
Actually not really - I've heard of this structure, but read that EMDR therapists take multiple approaches. My T didn't follow this (or even talk about it). We had one "introductory" meeting, where I explained my trauma, (the way we all do when we meet a new therapist). In fairness, in the 2nd meeting he did an explanation of "what is EMDR" (and he gave me a youtube video to watch as homework), and together we wrote a list of 5 memories we will dive into during EMDR. But I didn't feel that that was enough. After this we dived right into Memory #1.Are you aware of the three part treatment model that includes 1) safety and stabilization 2) processing and 3) rebuilding your life/reintegrating with society, etc?
I’m getting the feeling that you were shoved into step 2 but I’ll wait for your response first.
Edit. The first step of treatment can literally take years before one is ready to process. It’s not something that should be skipped or rushed.
I first expected something along the lines of: "Let's walk through what exactly you will do after we end the EMDR, and let's write that down"; "Since we're meeting virtually, let's invite your partner to join part of our session to discuss together how he can help you after a session"; etc. etc.
I never felt "ready" when we started EMDR. I'd sometimes hijack the therapy, and ask a lot of questions to force the structure of "easing in" to the therapy. If I didn't do this, he'd dive right in. I started to dread every appointment, and I'd openly explain this to my therapist. But he just said that this is normal, because we're diving into traumatic memories. He also assured me that the only way to heal is to just dive right in, instead of stalling. Because it's true, that's what I was doing. I was stalling. But it felt wrong, because this guy I'm meeting online is telling me he's the right person to guide me through revisiting traumatic memories that I've shoved deep down and forgotten for 20+ years...
Now, many months later, I think this feeling of "not being ready" was just my insides telling me maybe I didn't feel safe yet (?).
My T also knew that I had a history of depression and suicidal ideation/planning, but we made no safety plan, even when I repeatedly told him I'd wanted to die and was not doing ok. I honestly didn't even know a "suicide safety plan" was a thing, until after my suicide scare, when I confronted the head of treatment and said "SURELY, as a Trauma Center, you guys have various toolkits and resources at your disposal to prevent this sort of thing?!?!" She responded with - "oh, we can do a suicide safety plan if you like".