Nice to meet you. Am not familiar with a painful stage of EMDR. I had been in talk therapy, of various types, like Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and a few others for 37 years. I had been to quite a few mental health hospital stays over about 33 years. I learned a lot during that time, and it may have sort of paved the way for the EMDR Therapy to be a smooth transition for me.
If there was one thing that overall has helped me in this transition, its that first learned what experiencing the feeling of being safe was for "me". It did take time to learn. I had never been safe before. Not only was it a new concept, I have never been made aware that I could be safe before. It wasn't in my tool box of understanding to work with. A therapist taught me to imagine a place where I could feel safe. It can be anywhere, because we are all different and different things make people feel safe. I can't tell you where you will feel safe. But I can tell you where I did. I was safe in a pitch black dark cave. As I grew, it changed, it transitioned to where now my safe place is a sunny beach. I don't know if the pain you are experiencing is from not knowing you are safe as you become aware of the conflicts that EMDR may be bringing to your awareness. If this is the case, during my first EMDR session, I was instructed to become aquainted with the feeling of safety and that feeling safe was the utlimate goal of EMDR. In my second session, because I felt safe, and danger, at the same time, I could perceive what was making me anxious without fearing it, knowing I was safe now, and what was enabling me to feel safe. They directed me to focus my awarness on feeling safe. I communicated what I needed to feel safe. They instructed me to go back, and re-imagine the conflict, which was the original conclusion I came to. The original conclusion I came to did not have a resolution, for I could never bring what I concluded was a resolution to solve the conflict. I told him what that conflict was. Then he instructed me that we were going to go back into the EMDR session, and he wanted me to replace my original conclusion with what I wanted to replace my first conclusion with, so I selected an understanding, my chosen conclusion that would bring me peace and safety. During the second session I was aware of what I need to do, or what needed to happen for me to know I am safe, so when I became aware of the conflict, I automatically knew what safe was, I automatically understood what the goal was, and I didn't fight it because it did not create any conflict in me, and it provided a way out of the conflict in my understanding. I followed that conclusion. And I stuck with it. It took a few years to happen fully. But now I am experiening peace at the deepest level.
Please be aware that I am not professionally trained. I have experiences, I have learned from them. But every second of my life, from the age of 5, was spent void of understanding, void of comprehension, void of an awareness of myself, and void of any and every concept of safety. I know anxiety. It took many years to prepare me for the awareness of what the conflict was inside of me. And the conflict is not the experience I had, the conflict was what I understood to be true as a direct result of the trauma. And what I understood, perhaps the only thing I understood was that I was in danger, and I could not describe it, I could not explain it, I could not identify it, and there were no words for it. While I know this is what happened to me. I don't know what happened to you. I don't know the source of the pain you are experiencing. I don't know what would be most helpful other than to explain what I just did about where I am at, my experience with EMDR, and the therapy I had before it and let you know that because I was well aquainted with what safe was, I instinctively went there when I realized what the conflict had been. Please talk to your therapist about the pain you are experiencing. Anxiety and pain have one thing in common, they are symptoms of a conflict. With physical pain, it is damage to the body - pain we feel, that is the conflict. With our person, anxiety is what we feel when we are aware of danger, which is a form of pain, but it there to let us know we perceive we are in danger some how. Our subconscious will block information that we cannot understand because it is protecting us, and because one of the main factors in feeling safe is understanding, clear, comprehensible knowing. Not knowing we are safe, also causes anxiety, but to a much lesser degree than knowing we are in danger.
What I hear is you saying is that you understand there is a conflict. What I am saying is "understandings resolve conflicts". You don't need to tell me, but you need to tell someone, whomever you believe has the best chance of explaining to you what you need to understand to feel safe, and that is usually, not always, but usually a therapist.
Where I am now, is peaceful. But I spent 52 years in the void. Petrified. It has been almost 4 months since I realized I am no longer in danger from my dad. I am still in the habit of trying to figure out things, but I am learning not to try to figure things out because now I understand things I could never figure out before. It will take time for me to understand the experience of safety I am experiencing now with my conscious mind. We can only understand so much at one time with the conscious mind. I am learning to work within that parameter. I can only understand so much. What I do understand is the threat is over. I am safe. And even if that is all I understand I feel no conflict, no anxiety, and no fear!
Please let me know if I am hearing correctly, reasoning correctly to understand correctly what you need to know. And if I am not, please, when you are ready, you can either let me know, or ask someone who can help you know what you need to understand to feel safe.
Along with bravery, we have resilience. No one knows exactly what is causing you to feel danger now, but I can put it in a nutshell for you... The conclusion you came to, when faced with the danger you are feeling now... is... the conflict. When you understand, know, and have the direction to go in to feel safe, you will know it, you will go there automatically, instinctively, and the anxiety vanishes!
I am still settling in to feeling safe. This is the opposite of what I used to feel, experience and know at the most fundamental level. I am where I always wanted to be, and understand what I always needed to know. I will do everything I can to explain anything I understand, but I also understand I don't understand everything, and I don't know everything, and I can't help everyone, but I am willing to try.
Follow what brings peace to you...
I’m sorry you’re in the painful stage. I’ve never met someone on the forum who hasn’t said that EMDR is painful. Personally I’m also in the painful stage.I am new here and to EMDR, your journey was very inspiring as I am currently in the painful stage of this process. I must admit we are ALL VERY BRAVE!
Then I’m thinking you either A never had PTSD, B never needed EMDR as you’d already dealt with your trauma or C you are on a break from symptoms and have a long road ahead of you.Nice to meet you. Am not familiar with a painful stage of EMDR.
Smooth transition?!? See above.EMDR Therapy to be a smooth transition for me.