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xena467 November 9th, 2010 01:09 PM

How to Determine Which Target to Focus On?
Hi there

I am currently doing EMDR therapy and am quite new to it. At first, my therapist said that I should deal with the earliest traumatic memories first (the first being a car accident I had when I was two) and the latest traumatic experiences towards the end. However, the earliest traumatic incident of being in a hospital at 2 years old reminds me of a later incident of being institutionalized for a mental "breakdown" at age 33. And I'm starting to wonder if perhaps we should have worked on the latest traumatic incident first and worked backwards instead of the earliest incident and moving forwards. Any thoughts on this?:confused:

And btw, I'm 36 now.

Sandra Paulsen November 10th, 2010 11:20 AM

Re: How to Determine Which Target to Focus On?
This subject hasn't been researched though many of us have opinions on it. we often say it is best to do the earliest first, but sometimes the processing will still get "kidnapped" by something later, so I tend to trust the system.

When I am doing very early work, the later events sometimes pop in and then settle down if we acknowledge the theme that is in common between the two events.

a later event may be so explicit and vivid it requires work before the more subtle, implicitly remembered early work can be addressed, because the latter is so nuanced and symbolic and sometimes somatic.

xena467 November 11th, 2010 03:36 PM

Re: How to Determine Which Target to Focus On?
Thanks for replying :)

I spoke to my therapist yesterday and we may actually work on the later hospital experience next week. I noticed yesterday as I was taking the bus later that night, I felt like crying for some inexpicable reason. Is this normal for EMDR patients?

Sandra Paulsen November 17th, 2010 03:36 PM

Re: How to Determine Which Target to Focus On?
It is quite common that those experiences that haven't been processed, and have been pushed away, can kind of sneak up and surprise one. As they get closer to getting processed with EMDR, they get closer to the surface, as to the feelings that go with them. There can also be relief that things are FINALLY being dealt with, and one's story is about to be heard.

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