This chapter describes key steps, with scripts, for the phases of therapy with a dissociative identity disorder (DID) client, and for an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) session with a DID client. In brief, the method employs the artful use of EMDR and ego state therapy for association and acceleration, and of hypnosis, imagery, and ego state therapy for distancing and deceleration within the context of a trusting therapeutic relationship. It is also endeavoring to stay close to the treatment guidelines as promulgated by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. The acronym ACT-AS-IF describes the phases of therapy; the acronym ARCHITECTS describes the steps in an EMDR intervention. Dual attention awareness is key in part because it keeps the ventral vagal nervous system engaged sufficiently to empower the client to sustain the painful processing of dorsal vagal states and sympathetic arousal states.
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- Go to chapter: ACT-AS-IF and ARCHITECTS Approaches to EMDR Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
The important elements of the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Phantom Pain Research Protocol are client history taking and relationship building, targeting the trauma of the experience, and targeting the pain. This protocol is set up to follow the eight phases of the 11-Step Standard Procedure. This chapter presents a case series with phantom limb patients obtained a few before and after EMDR magnetoencephalograms (MEGs) at the University of Tübingen, Germany on arm amputees that show the presence of phantom limb pain (PLP) in the brain images before EMDR and the absence of it after EMDR. In these case series, it is found that PLP in leg amputations is much easier to treat than arm amputations, likely due to the much more extensive and complex arm and hand representation in the sensory-motor cortex compared to the leg and foot representation.
The “Image Director Technique” was developed to target recurring nightmares or bad dreams and those targets that are directly related to a traumatic experience. This technique is a special module that is embedded in the Standard Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Protocol. The technique begins with the worst image of the dream and then accesses and measures it as in Phase 3 of the Standard EMDR Protocol that includes the image, cognitions, emotions, and sensations. Clients are more likely to work with short clips or films if the subjective units of disturbance (SUD) of the target image is low. This technique can also be considered an imagery exposure method that is based in systematic desensitization, a behavioral approach. Often, clients prefer the tactile bilateral stimulation (BLS) because they can close their eyes in order to be visually undisturbed during the creation of the new images.
This chapter provides an overview of working with clients who present with more complex trauma. Many of the clients that come for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) will have a history of complex trauma or a chaotic childhood. Clients who have experienced complex trauma may lack basic life skills or have missed out on developmental stages due to a chaotic childhood, for example, parents who were absent, neglectful, or abusive. Clients may not have been taught how to regulate their emotions in early childhood. They may present with impulsive, risk-taking, or suicidal behaviors. Before carrying out the desensitization phase of EMDR, individuals need to have an adequate level of resilience and be sufficiently resourced. Clients with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) display at least two distinct and enduring “alters” or identity states that recurrently take control of their behavior.
This chapter presents how eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and Theraplay can be used together when treating children with a history of complex trauma. Theraplay focuses on the parent-child relationship as the healing agent that holds within it the potential to cultivate growth and security in the child. The chapter shows some core concepts that help define and illuminate the application of Theraplay. Now that a clear review of basic Theraplay principles has been provided, people need to look at EMDR therapy and the adaptive information processing (AIP) model in conjunction with Theraplay and Theraplay core values. Early in its development, Theraplay integrated parental involvement into its therapeutic model. During the reprocessing phases of EMDR therapy, Theraplay can be very helpful in providing different avenues for emotion regulation and for the repairing of the attachment system.
This chapter integrates elements and strategies of internal family systems (IFS) psychotherapy into eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with complexly traumatized children. It shows a description of healing a part using in-sight with a child. In-sight involves having the client look inside to find and work with parts that he or she sees or senses and describes to the therapist. The IFS therapist starts by ensuring the client’s external environment is safe and supportive of the therapy. In a self-led system, polarizations are absent or greatly diminished, leaving more harmony and balance. However, when and how the self is formed may be seen and conceptualized through different lenses in adaptive information processing (AIP)-EMDR and IFS. According to the AIP model, the human brain and biological systems are shaped by the environmental experiences they encounter.
This chapter presents several strategies, analogies, and metaphors to address dissociation from different angles and perspectives. Clinicians will have a wide range of methods of introducing and explaining dissociation to children. Analogies and stories that help children understand the multiplicity of the self may be presented during the preparation phase of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. A good way of introducing the concept of dissociation is by using the dissociation kit for kids. Stimulating interoceptive awareness is a fundamental aspect of the work needed during the preparation phase of EMDR therapy with dissociative children. Visceral, proprioceptive, as well as kinesthetic-muscle awareness should be stimulated. The installation of present resolution (IPR) was inspired by an exercise developed by Steele and Raider. In this exercise, the child is asked to draw a picture of the past traumatic event followed by a picture of the child in the present.
During the installation phase, the child can experience a felt positive belief about himself or herself in association with the memory being reprocessed. Children with history of early and chronic trauma have difficulty tolerating positive affect. Enhancing and amplifying their ability to tolerate and experience positive emotions and to hold positive views of the self are pivotal aspects of eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This chapter shows a script that may be used with children during the body scan phase. Assisting children in achieving emotional and psychological equilibrium after each reprocessing session as well as ensuring their overall stability are fundamental goals of the closure phase of EMDR therapy. The reevaluation phase of EMDR therapy ensures that adequate integration and assimilation of maladaptive material has been made. The future template of the EMDR three-pronged protocol is a pivotal aspect of EMDR therapy.
The primary goals of the assessment phase are to access the memory network containing traumatogenic material and to access and activate the cognitive, affective, and somatic aspects of the memory. Since the reprocessing phases of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy follow immediately after the assessment phase, the clinician should have prepared potential interweaves in case the child’s processing of the memory gets blocked. Children with complex trauma histories may already have sensitized sympathetic systems that make them prone to being in fight flight mode even in the face of safety. The chronically traumatized children present with sensitized dorsal vagal systems. Current caregiving and attachment behaviors have the potential for activating the attachment system, and with it past dysfunctional attachment experiences. One of the best adjunct approaches that can be used within a comprehensive EMDR treatment is sandtray therapy.
The incorporation of a skill-building phase and eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) games can greatly enhance and facilitate the utilization of EMDR therapy with children who have a history of complex trauma. Some EMDR games work with cognitive skills, others work with emotional skills, while others work with the body and the language of sensation. The use of positive cognition cards offers a great opportunity to play and use a wide range of card games. This chapter exemplifies how to use negative cognition games. Feeling cubes contain different basic emotions appropriate for children. Clinicians can purchase plain wooden cubes and write different feelings on the cube. A wide range of card games can be used with the feeling cards. The memory wand offers another playful approach to the process of identifying traumatic events with children. The chapter shows a playful way of exploring and identifying parent-child interactions.