Proposed Negative -> Positive Belief Pendulation Technique in EMDR or EMI Therapy

CarlT

Policy Enforcement
I offer for discussion and feedback a possible technique for using negative plus positive beliefs in the context of EMDR or EMI therapy. First I'll describe the technique and then explain my theory for why it might be useful in certain cases.

It's widely accepted that some negative belief(s) is at the core of many mental health problems. How to mitigate that belief? Or, modify it to make it less destructive? Possibly replace it with a constructive positive belief?

There are endless published examples of negative beliefs, often with candidate countervailing positive beliefs. One may freely pick from existing lists or use them to inspire variations. It seems to me that it would be better to choose a positive belief statement that is incongruent - yet not mutually exclusive - with the negative belief. E.g., if the chosen negative were: "I am bad" then it would be better to compose a positive belief statement such as: "I am usually pretty good".

The idea is to dilute the negative belief with the positive; or, over-lay the negative with the positive. Not necessarily to persuade the mind to completely replace the negative with the positive. How to do so? Cognitively talking oneself into the change-of-beliefs is apt not to be very effective. EMDR and EMI therapy - i.e., a bilateral eye-movement or other bilateral stimulus is thought by those practitioners to be effective to alter neurological connections - pathways of thought or experience - to integrate a negative thought/sensation with other positive thoughts/sensations. Suppose this to be true.

Suppose one chooses a negative + positive-yet-incongruent belief statement pair for an EMDR / EMI session. Contemplate the pair of statements while following the bilateral movement (traditionally, a visual movement). If the foregoing suppositions are true, the statement pairs should integrate. The distinctive idea here is that one could pendulate swiftly between the positive and negative statements.

The orthodox EMDR and EMI approaches are to first become deeply in-touch with the problematic memory (belief, etc.) until it resonates somatically. Thereafter, install the positive alternative positive vision. OK, no objection to this technique. Only a question: Is it essential to segregate the positive from the negative experience/memory/vision/etc? This is an important question to comment/critique on.

What if rapid pendulation between positive and negative belief statement pairs were more effective than the orthodox segregating and becoming deeply connected with (first) negative (subsequently) positive statements in turn? This is pure conjecture, of course. What if this proposed technique were equally effective with the orthodox? (Conjecture.) And, what if the proposed technique were effective, but somewhat less effective than the orthodox?

If we assume that the negative belief is well-chosen, then the neural pathways are well-traveled, well exercised. Why should we presuppose that it is critical for the subject to first immerse him/herself deeply in the experience of this negative belief? We can admit that it might be very helpful to do so; but that's not the question posed here. Is it really critical? i.e., to so first and fully immerse deeply in the experience of the negative belief before pendulating to the positve?

Of all the available therapeutic techniques, what's the argument for any novel proposed technique?

Orthodox techniques mainly (from my limited observations) rely on confirmation of a candidate memory, feeling, belief by some somatic sensation. The subject is asked to contemplate a blue sky; is there any somatic confirmation? If not, then that's probably not a component of the subject's mental suffering. Contemplate a black sky; somatic confirmation? If so, then we're over the target! Orthodox techniques are very dependent upon a search for relevant events/memories which can be confirmed by somatic reactions to their contemplation.

How to proceed when there are few, if any, memories/cognitions/images/belief-statements with somatic effect?

When traumas were pre-verbal the subject has little alternative but to grope in the dark for guesses as to those memories. Best one could do is identify some feeling/belief which is vague such as “I’m not safe” or “. . . good enough”. Or, to imagine some traumatic experience such as being left to cry in a crib by an unresponsive mother; being spanked, etc. Whatever one comes up with probably won’t hit the target precisely. If "complex" there wouldn't be a single precise target. Even if there were a precise target as with a single traumatic event (e.g., being dropped) the present day triggers won’t pull that precise trigger exactly. E.g., the precise pre-verbal trauma probably isn't playing-out in the subject's adult life.

The rational for the proposed technique recognizes the imprecision about identifying original traumas and shaping inoculations against future triggering events. Identifying candidate negative beliefs is apt to be no less precise than trying to conjure-up pre-verbal memories with somatic content.

Moreover, it's widely believed that a popular infantile defense against trauma is to numb-out. What do the orthodox techniques offer the subject who has little or no somatic response to contemplations of candidate pre-verbal traumas? Ask the subject to contemplate being a baby crying in a crib with hunger, wet diaper, cold, lonely. What comes up in the way of a somatic response? Nothing!

The proposed alternative is to ask if any of such traumas are reasonable candidate possibilities. If so, what beliefs might have resulted? "I'm not worthy of being fed/changed/warmed/comforted!" Or: "I won't survive!". Do these - clearly negative - beliefs resonate with current - adult - triggering scenarios? If so, we have a candidate negative belief we might choose to work with.

Orthodox techniques which depend upon articulable memories and somatic response prove wanting when the traumas are pre-verbal. They can be fruitless when the traumas were numerous events, each not especially noteworthy in itself, and long ago. When the subject's defenses detach him/her from a confirming somatic confirmation signal the problem is compounded. It is in such a context where the proposed technique might find application.

Based on everything else we know about effective (and ineffective) therapeutic techniques are there any reasons to believe - whether from logical reasoning or empirical evidence - that the proposed technique:

1. is apt to be ineffective, or at least much less effective, than the orthodox alternatives? Or,
2. is apt to be counter-productive?
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
The distinctive idea here is that one could pendulate swiftly between the positive and negative statements.
my understanding is that this I believe is called Reaction Formation Defense. It can be both very primitive (sort of denial like a homophobic person who is homosexual but not know or in denial or both). But it can be also highly advanced defense mechanism like hating/or extreme dislike for your manager but being able to be courteous to work with....consciously or unconsciously as well. I had a lot of this oscillating feelings, concepts, thoughts when in regression and in therapy. I felt very broken as a child but very healthy as an adult and will oscillate greatly while in session until I have come conscious and started to regulate somewhat coherently.
Only a question: Is it essential to segregate the positive from the negative experience/memory/vision/etc? This is an important question to comment/critique on.
I do not believe this is necessary good in life. I think for an adult it is good to know the negative versus positive and choose rationally until one is organically adapted.
If "complex" there wouldn't be a single precise target. Even if there were a precise target as with a single traumatic event (e.g., being dropped) the present day triggers won’t pull that precise trigger exactly. E.g., the precise pre-verbal trauma probably isn't playing-out in the subject's adult life.
I find this quite interesting. The easiest way for me to find infantile feeling, experience, thought is to listen closely what I say in therapy ---what is the overarching theme?
I find if the therapist is going on vacation and I am agitated or ranting about everything else in life - for example. Then I am triggered for abandoment ...otherwise, why would I act such to a person leaving for a vacation? After all I am adult right? I do not even feel like this with my husband or I may say ooh babe I will miss you...but in therapy, I am not forthcoming to the therapist but acting out...this is if I listen closely. It could be I eat a lot after therapy - maybe hungry as a baby if I was not loved or nurtured. or I take a nap prior to therapy - exhausted, afraid, anxious. I listen to my own non-verbal communication to get to the child like behaviour. I feel 100% infantile still plays out in the adult - even how we love each other but one must be aware of it or you are too vulnerable for your own good...and others can see easily.
Moreover, it's widely believed that a popular infantile defense against trauma is to numb-out
I feel this is dissociation in my books. The only arsenal available to any organism that is overwhelmed greatly!
Moreover, it's widely believed that a popular infantile defense against trauma is to numb-out. What do the orthodox techniques offer the subject who has little or no somatic response to contemplations of candidate pre-verbal traumas? Ask the subject to contemplate being a baby crying in a crib with hunger, wet diaper, cold, lonely. What comes up in the way of a somatic response? Nothing!
This is another great area that I am interested in exploring or learning more about it. IMHO, dissociation means no relation - numb out even if the subject is talking, working, relating sort of pseudo because being dissociated does not mean you are dead - it just means you are on survival mode so folks can get a lot of shit done but still autopilot...so therapy talk ones at least do not work. Somatics do not work cause again there is no body/mind etc together so you are right...what then?

This is so frustrating to me cause not much is written or at least I cannot find it.

IMHo, what works - life will push the person one way or another to realize - often by showing up in depression or anxiety or some other form of mental distress or even physical - hemorrhoids, unexplainable physical injury, driving issues etc...something will give out.
In therapy, my opinion which is not often accepted by any therapist is that --- focus on dissociation. talk about it make it real in therapy...play with it with the body and mind (imagination) until something clicks....the person becomes thaw out! from the frozen state. Otherwise, relationship is not built and the clients will forever seem to feel not being alive...at least so far this has been my experience in therapy.

I agree with you mostly what you wrote here. thank you for sharing.
 

CarlT

Policy Enforcement
First, kind of you to comment.

"this I believe is called Reaction Formation Defense."
I'm thinking of this idea (rapid pendulation between a chosen negative and positive belief-statement pair) as a therapeutic technique not as a manifestation of pathology. "hating/or extreme dislike for your manager but being able to be courteous to work with....consciously or unconsciously as well." seems to be pathology.

OK, so suppose some such experience were someone's pathology. Could he identify candidate belief statement pairs that might be associated with his pathology? If so, would the proposed therapeutic technique be efficacious?

"The easiest way for me to find infantile feeling, experience, thought is to listen closely what I say in therapy . . . "

This is interesting for me. You have pointed out that there are other ways to identify signs that an issue is a well-chosen target. While I had been concentrating on some somatic response you offer that you can cognitively recognize - listen closely - to what you are saying in therapy.

This prompts me to concentrate on my (proposed) technique, rather than on my reason (lack of much somatic reaction to a contemplation). This is to say: "Let me suppose I didn't have the somatic unresponsiveness problem. Suppose I could easily identify the memory/incident/experience/etc. that constituted the key trauma in my history; or one of several. Very well. Could I treat it by pendulating rapidly between pertinent negative + positive belief statements?" You have prompted me to think that my inquiry ought to concentrate on the efficacy of the technique rather than my reason for discovering it.

"I feel this is dissociation in my books. The only arsenal available to any organism that is overwhelmed greatly!"

I take your point. Heretofore, I hadn't thought that I experienced much that I would describe as disassociation. Nevertheless, failing to respond to mild triggers might very well be a form of dissociation. By way of illustration, suppose one had been bitten by a dog at a preverbal age. We might suppose it was a medium-sized dog; yet, to a preverbal child, such a dog would have been enormous. Now, in therapy, the subject contemplates a medium-sized dog. Nothing comes up; doesn't resonate as a threat. Yet, occasionally, this subject in his/her adult life will rarely cross paths with a very large dog; one large-enough to be reminiscent of the small child's experience with the perception of an enormous dog.

This train-of-thought is taking me toward an interesting line of reasoning.

Let's suppose the subject's original trauma was with a yellow dog under a blue sky on a day that had some breeze. Some particularly complex set of circumstances. Let's further suppose the subject's neighbor has a yellow dog. That the subject goes outdoors on good-weather days when the sky is blue and there is some breeze. When encountering the familiar neighbor with his yellow dog, the subject has an adverse experience. It's apt to be difficult for the subject (or therapist) to figure out that yellow dog, blue sky and breeze are the castellations that are triggering. Failing to figure this out with sufficient precision, the subject fails to recreate the confirming response. That might be a somatic discomfort in most cases; in your case, it might be a recognition (or not) that discussion of the sufficient criteria trigger anxiousness in therapy.

What are we really after here? Is it to discover dog + yellow + sky=blue + breeze? Or, instead, is it to discover a belief that I'm unsafe and can't protect myself?

If we get enough clues from the current context (crossing paths occasionally with the neighbor walking his dog) are sufficient to suggest a negative belief (e.g., I'm not safe and I can't protect myself) then could that snippet of insight from current adult experience be enough to guide a therapeutic technique (such as I've proposed) without the need to discover the fact that the subject had been bitten at a pre-verbal age by a yellow dog under a blue sky in a breeze?

"my opinion . . . is that --- focus on dissociation. talk about it make it real in therapy...play with it with the body and mind (imagination) until something clicks....the person becomes thaw out! from the frozen state."

OK, I see that you are focusing on dissociation. Overcome the dissociation and you can be well on your way to resolution. That thought is analogous to my thought (fear): "Focus on my failure to conjure up a somatic response. Overcome that somatic failure - surely just one more fault in my existence as a viable human specimen - and then I will be able to succeed."

My hope, with my proposed therapeutic technique, is that I (or you or anyone else) might be able to skirt whatever our obstacles might be. If it's possible to treat the effects of our trauma(s) - i.e., dysfunctional beliefs - without overcoming our obstacles (failure to induce a confirming signal such as a somatic response or a cognition that one's own speech in therapy is revealing).

I appreciate that you are willing to engage in a dialogue which is prompting me to explore my own thoughts in ways which I wouldn't otherwise be so likely to consider.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I love this conversation! I am similar to you so I understand.
I will say few things here.
"hating/or extreme dislike for your manager but being able to be courteous to work with....consciously or unconsciously as well." seems to be pathology.
This above statement is not pathology at all. If you are conscious of not liking a person of power but still want to work with them...how is that pathology? pathology would be not being aware of and acting out toward the manager in a way that may jeopardize your work life. Having strategy is not pathology. IMHO all defenses have positive and negative sides. That is that. Maybe my example was not a good analogy.
I take your point. Heretofore, I hadn't thought that I experienced much that I would describe as disassociation. Nevertheless, failing to respond to mild triggers might very well be a form of dissociation. By way of illustration, suppose one had been bitten by a dog at a preverbal age. We might suppose it was a medium-sized dog; yet, to a preverbal child, such a dog would have been enormous. Now, in therapy, the subject contemplates a medium-sized dog. Nothing comes up; doesn't resonate as a threat. Yet, occasionally, this subject in his/her adult life will rarely cross paths with a very large dog; one large-enough to be reminiscent of the small child's experience with the perception of an enormous dog.
My experience and from what I read so much about developmental phases, the trauma of a child shows up in the adult in a distorted and manifested manner. So having something like "dog + yellow + sky=blue + breeze?" could be seen in the adult as maybe the adult got over the dog part due some other correcting experiences.
maybe the adult got over the sky - due to correcting experiences but the breeze at certain times, with certain moods, may trigger the trauma. So in essence, one may find no dog issues, no sky issue but breeze is a problem until that is processed or corrected or accepted depending. hope that makes sense.



"My hope, with my proposed therapeutic technique, is that I (or you or anyone else) might be able to skirt whatever our obstacles might be. If it's possible to treat the effects of our trauma(s) - i.e., dysfunctional beliefs - without overcoming our obstacles (failure to induce a confirming signal such as a somatic response or a cognition that one's own speech in therapy is revealing)."

To me the dysfunctional beliefs must be attached to something concrete in the reality you are living in. If you think the trauma stayed exactly same as when it happened, that is (IMHO) impossible. Your own memory cant be trusted to be so 100% certain. So maybe, if I am understanding your techniques, you must be looking at the manifestation of childhood trauma that may not look like exactly the yellow dog.

"What are we really after here? Is it to discover dog + yellow + sky=blue + breeze? Or, instead, is it to discover a belief that I'm unsafe and can't protect myself?"

This is really extremely important point but also extremely challenging.
to feel I am unsafe and cannt protect myself = needs a real situation - objective visually for you and others to make a sense of its validity for you. Let us say you are alone feeling that - then you may say this must be a body memory! cause there is no stimulant in your area to give you fear. Let us say you feel that among friends and no one else is afraid, again you may think internally OK this is not real and must be coming from again body memory...dog or no dog. But if you are traveling and see a man or woman following you around - then feeling unsafe and needing protection is realistic feeling.

If you are feeling unsafe and in need of protection somatically or cognitively without real fear in your environment - what do you propose to do with this feeling/belief?

sorry I may have jumped around a bit.

"OK, I see that you are focusing on dissociation. Overcome the dissociation and you can be well on your way to resolution. That thought is analogous to my thought (fear): "Focus on my failure to conjure up a somatic response. Overcome that somatic failure - surely just one more fault in my existence as a viable human specimen - and then I will be able to succeed." -
I think we may be saying the same thing - except I do not focus on the failure of my somatic but become curious ( because I do not believe there is a litmus test for how to be human)...so I am me no feelings somatically because probably this or that happen (using cognitive) and then use imagination and curiosity to see if I can feel something. If I do great. If I do not...well maybe my thing is truly broken or did not born with it or I am just different...I do not assume others are exactly like me or vice versa for feelings or beliefs.

My dissociation was not known to me cause it did not bother me until in therapy, I realize I am not relating but zoning out! then I was told others are not like this all - and do not zone out or disappear from connection! and that told me - I must learned at infant...cause it is too deep in my psyche.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

CarlT

Policy Enforcement
"This above statement is not pathology at all. "

Let's not make too much of this train of thought; one which I take to be diversionary.

@grit wrote:

"my understanding is that this I believe is called Reaction Formation Defense. It can be both very primitive (sort of denial like a homophobic person who is homosexual but not know or in denial or both). But it can be also highly advanced defense mechanism like a hating/or extreme dislike for your manager but being able to be courteous to work with....consciously or unconsciously as well. I had a lot of this oscillating feelings, concepts, thoughts when in regression and in therapy. I felt very broken as a child but very healthy as an adult and will oscillate greatly while in session until I have come conscious and started to regulate somewhat coherently."

I took it that her interpretation of my "rapid pendulation" as a therapy technique has something to do with "Reaction Formation Defense". I don't think it does. Whether the pudulation between dislike for a manager and being courteous in working with him is pathology-or-NOT, it certainly isn't a deliberate exercise of my proposed therapy technique. That was my only point.

". . . one may find no dog issues, no sky issue but breeze is a problem until that is processed or corrected or accepted depending. hope that makes sense."

I think you are making a good point; this is useful to me. You too are calling into question the importance of the striving to discover the "original" earliest recallable memory, with as high a degree of accuracy as might be achievable.

Even if we concede to the semanticists that it's valuable to have a somatic confirmation that we are "over the target" in my terms, we might not discover that precise target. Moreover, to your point, the precise target might well have changed. The dog may no longer be important. The blue sky may no longer be important. It's just the breeze that's the problem. So, if you were correct, even if we got lucky and recalled the yellow-dog, blue-sky, breeze combination it might not - TODAY - produce the somatic trigger!

To grit's point, suppose we got the cognitive recognition that mentioning the word "breeze" in therapy is associated with a here-and-now sensation, what do we do about it?

You two are bringing me to focus - with greater clarity - on what my own point might be. And, my point is: Might rapid pendulation between a negative and incongruent-positive pair of belief statements while rapidly pendulationg under bilateral stimulation (EMDR or EMI) be therapeutic?

If the answer is "Yes" then I could be on to something. (Absent arguments for counter-productivity or arguments that there would always be better techniques than the one I propose.)

My motivation was to try to skirt my difficulty in experiencing a somatic confirmation. Grit kindly offers another suggestion (cognitive recognition that one's own words in therapy) might be an alternative to somatic confirmation. Regardless of motivation: Is this a viable therapeutic technique?

You write: ". . . I do not focus on the failure of my somatic but become curious ( because I do not believe there is a litmus test for how to be human)...so I am me no feelings somatically because probably this or that happen (using cognitive) and then use imagination and curiosity to see if I can feel something."

This feels supportive to me. I should not be especially concerned with my inability to find somatic confirmation of my suspected core traumas. Perhaps you are right: there is no litmus test for how to be human. It is reasonable for me to construe somatic confirmation not as a barrier to be surmounted; but, rather, as a one tool to which I might not have ready access. And, if not, I find another means of confirmation (such as that suggested by grit) or skirt the holy grail of confirmation and simply pursue a plausible therapeutic technique.

It now strikes me as relevant to question the Somatic Units measurement. So, EMDR calls for the subject to first estimate on a scale of 0 - 10 the somatic sensation of the candidate memory/image/experience/etc. So, maybe it's a 7. Apply the therapy. Now, contemplate the original memory/etc. Is it a 5? If so: Success! The therapy has succeeded in making 2 points of progress along the 10-point scale. This confirms the efficacy of the therapy. Everybody feel good about this.

But is this all an exercise in confirmation bias? So, I told the therapist that my estimate of pre-therapy was 7 because I wanted to give the impression that it was serious but I'm not a basket case. I told the therapist my post-therapy estimate was 5 because I wanted to conform an expectation that I could accomplish something and that the therapist was successful. But what if my 7 was only a 6 and my 5 was really a 6? Not an unrealistic measurement error under the circumstances.

The never-ending striving to measure may be unnecessary and misleading. If the subject finds a technique seems to be helpful than that may be the only measure of success that matters.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

grit

MyPTSD Pro
First I have to say I am not familiar wtih EMDR. So I am conversing with you on general and out of interest in my own way of wanting to understand how things work.
Also English is not my mother tongue and sometimes I have hard time following precisely.
If you could put as simple words, I would appreciate of this following quote:

You two are bringing me to focus - with greater clarity - on what my own point might be. And, my point is: Might rapid pendulation between a negative and incongruent-positive pair of belief statements while rapidly pendulationg under bilateral stimulation (EMDR or EMI) be therapeutic?
I am having hard time understanding this...I am very sorry.

Thank you about the comment about pathology. What I consider pathology personally is what almost anyone on earth would find it pathology - very high threshold. So thank you for your understanding and considering this to be biodiversity.

To grit's point, suppose we got the cognitive recognition that mentioning the word "breeze" in therapy is associated with a here-and-now sensation, what do we do about it?
IMHO, if the word "breeze" freezes me over as I react to it strongly - I take it as alert to something bodily and I try to see how it comes out in the next few sessions or dreams. Because my understanding is that "breeze" has been digested for so long and no longer looks like breeze anymore...now it is like saying good bye!

One word that threw me off one time in therapy was "rumbling" and my therapist said you rumble too much! I was frozen on my tracks. I actually cancelled two sessions cause I could not get over the feeling triggered by that.

What I understood afterwards were that first - it was empathic failure on her part cause it was not kind to be so direct when I was vulnerable so that was the here and now connection. The other was I realized when I rumble was exactly when I was dissociating so she did not know but my body (ears) knew what she meant and hence why I froze...my body was smarter than my cognition and knew what the therapist was aiming at.

Hope this makes sense.

What I learned from this experience was first my therapist's interpretation was aggressive (it was not therapeutic - she was annoyed and my body picked on that like any other animal - aggression is universal) and I said so and she apologized. Secondly when I am dissociating like that I am super vulnerable and this was valuable information moving forward so I know my vulnerability and take precautions in societal settings. How I become dissociated is not important to me personally cause long life of violence at my parent's hands is obvious and what day I dissociated then is not super important for me per se only I had experience as a child that caused me to dissociate. My reaction as dissociation is animal level not cognition so I am not looking for the moment I experienced one first time - it could be when I was one month old! for all I care...if that makes sense. It must be a time when language was not available and I accept that.

This feels supportive to me. I should not be especially concerned with my inability to find somatic confirmation of my suspected core traumas. Perhaps you are right: there is no litmus test for how to be human. It is reasonable for me to construe somatic confirmation not as a barrier to be surmounted; but, rather, as a one tool to which I might not have ready access. And, if not, I find another means of confirmation (such as that suggested by grit) or skirt the holy grail of confirmation and simply pursue a plausible therapeutic technique.
I am sorry if this came out as tone deaf. What I meant is when looking for integration or health or whatever - I personally do not believe I must match my therapist or Joh black on the internet to see what is the standardized health means. So I do feel somatic shocks or cognitive shocks or deep grieving but it is like orgasm - I do not know the degree of these feelings or not with other people. I think if trauma happen in infantile, just the mere fact we are all here basically functional may say many of the edges of the trauma has been smoothed over and did not stay exactly the same. to a degree. So if you are looking for confirmation in somatic (and I take this as corporeal like in the body physically) then what about all the experiences since your trauma - it is hard to parse so detail? If you look at piece of steak, you may see it is layered and I think that is the growing part of the body...a tiny baby nail becomes an adult nail so it is hard to say...we must see the baby nail? those cells are gone. and I feel trauma is like that. what made a child traumatic, may be extreme tragic for an adult because the body/cognition is bigger and more mature.

I honestly think you are exploring this to see how many roads you must take to arrive what you need! and that is infinite ways.

But is this all an exercise in confirmation bias? So, I told the therapist that my estimate of pre-therapy was 7 because I wanted to give the impression that it was serious but I'm not a basket case. I told the therapist my post-therapy estimate was 5 because I wanted to conform an expectation that I could accomplish something and that the therapist was successful. But what if my 7 was only a 6 and my 5 was really a 6? Not an unrealistic measurement error under the circumstances.
Because I have no experience or knowledge about EMDR, I may not be able to answer or provide anything on this ...but for me a consistent fear in my childhood rendered any one time trauma idea moot. I was either physically beaten and abused or expecting one to happen or sleeping and afraid...terror all over for a child.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
@CarlT - It seems to me that you're cherry-picking from a number of different methodologies, and in so doing, are mixing up some critical concepts - which makes your reasoning difficult for me to follow.

Just starting here, because it seems to be the assumption at the center of what you're discussing...

Orthodox techniques mainly (from my limited observations) rely on confirmation of a candidate memory, feeling, belief by some somatic sensation. The subject is asked to contemplate a blue sky; is there any somatic confirmation? If not, then that's probably not a component of the subject's mental suffering. Contemplate a black sky; somatic confirmation? If so, then we're over the target! Orthodox techniques are very dependent upon a search for relevant events/memories which can be confirmed by somatic reactions to their contemplation.
Are you meaning for "somatic" to be interchangeable with "feeling", "thought", or "emotion"?

Somatic response is physical response, and nowhere have I seen that it is a prerequisite to successful application of EMDR....
 

CarlT

Policy Enforcement
my understanding is that this I believe is called Reaction Formation Defense. It can be both very primitive (sort of denial
I have subsequently looked up this term and found: Reaction Formation & Defense Mechanisms | Depression Alliance

My sense that it seemed a form of pathology rather than a therapy was confirmed.

First, it's defined (there) as a pair of mutually-exclusive beliefs. One tries to replace the undesired belief with the desired belief. I propose to strive to dilute/over-lay/mitigate the undesired belief with a more positive (or perhaps neutral) belief. I imagine that this less ambitious undertaking should be sufficient and easier for the brain to "integrate" in EMDR / EMI theory.

Second, it's defined as an instinctive reaction not operated as a conscious effort. While I would hope that my proposed technique might eventually become a habitual reaction (at best) that might not achieve instinctive and automatic reaction. In any event, it is under the subject's control rather than an unconscious organic reaction.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, I can see a possible integration of Reaction Formation Defense with my proposed technique. We observe the natural organic phenomena called Reaction Formation Defense. The subject is confronted with an event which triggers a negative belief. E.g., "A person who has been socialized to believe that intimate same-sex relationships are wrong or sinful, but is attracted to members of their same-sex. They may be overtly public or promiscuous with heterosexuality . . . " In such a case the subject strives to shift his consciousness to a mutually-exclusive belief as a defense mechanism.

Perhaps this "works" to some degree. The limitations and counter-productive aspects are obvious and need not be elaborated upon. Nevertheless, we can see how a tactic of 'flipping a switch' from the undesired thought to a preferred thought can serve the subject's strategy. If this is the operative mechanism, could it be made into a therapeutic technique?

To this extent, I have found your calling out Reaction Formation Defense a comment that is constructive toward my own evaluation of my proposed technique. Thanks
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Perhaps this "works" to some degree. The limitations and counter-productive aspects are obvious and need not be elaborated upon. Nevertheless, we can see how a tactic of 'flipping a switch' from the undesired thought to a preferred thought can serve the subject's strategy. If this is the operative mechanism, could it be made into a therapeutic technique?
My belief and from my understanding of defenses is that they are unconscious, can be negative if rigid or unconscious or dangerous if inappropriately used and what most people learn in therapy is how to become conscious of them and use them positively, flexibly and maturely. This is my understanding. Even denial is useful sometimes especially when most people hear a young person died, most response is unbelievable! a form of denial until the brain/body catch up. So to me the word pathology has a real meaning on the context and there has to be consistent behaviour over real time duration.

If I acted solely on my reactivity all the time (which I know why I am reactive considering my past), I think I would probably be very ill but sometimes I have to buy time and resolve my reactivity to something useful until I learn more about the situation and my reactivity is lessened or moves to the background. But yet sometimes I need to use my reactivity without questioning depending again on the context.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, I can see a possible integration of Reaction Formation Defense with my proposed technique. We observe the natural organic phenomena called Reaction Formation Defense. The subject is confronted with an event which triggers a negative belief. E.g., "A person who has been socialized to believe that intimate same-sex relationships are wrong or sinful, but is attracted to members of their same-sex. They may be overtly public or promiscuous with heterosexuality . . . " In such a case the subject strives to shift his consciousness to a mutually-exclusive belief as a defense mechanism.
This example, if therapist was working with this person, after they both agreed Reaction Formation of sexuality is in fact in effect; my understanding would be that the person would be made conscious of the use of the defense negatively(opposite of their nature as being gay) and rigidly and choose to either act and live as gay or move to denial defense (much more primitive) and continue to live the same acting as if heterosexual...not replace anything. Or could surprise all and start to act very unpredictable ways. The point is these defenses are organic more like psychological or behavioural at least for now there is no blood test to see anyone is using one or another.

If this is the operative mechanism, could it be made into a therapeutic technique?
In psychoanalysis, a lot of the defenses show up as the person heals and works through various contexts of transference so the short answer is perhaps yes they are used in therapy but in healing manner not re-enforcing negative reactionary defenses.
 
Top