1. Tracking EMDR Results
After each EMDR session the individual should notice and list the impacts of their work. The results of EMDR are immediate. Here are some of the most commonly noticed changes from a successful EMDR session.
- A decrease in anxiety and an increased feeling of relaxation.
- A sudden decrease in presenting symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD.
- An increase in positive beliefs about self and a decrease in negative self thoughts.
- An increase in the belief that the future will be good.
- An awareness that the targeted memory is no longer thought about or bothersome.
- A decrease in negative body sensations that occur during times of stress.
- A decrease in negative emotions that had been triggered by reminders of traumatic memory.
- An increased ability to problem solve in relationships.
- An increase in the ability to be objective about self, others, the future and the past.
- A feeling that a weight or heaviness has been lifted.
- An increase in quality sleep.
2. Imago Listening Exercise
Imago Communication is a technique developed for marital therapy with the primary goal of developing relational intimacy. Proper Imago Communication will allow for the speaker to relate current relational conflicts to childhood experiences and emotions.
Mirroring – Mirroring is simply a repeat of what was heard by the speaker.
So you are saying…Is there more…let me make sure I have it all…
Validation –Validation is a statement that the speaker’s perspective is reasonable. Validation is not necessarily agreeing with the speaker, however.
That makes sense because…Can you help me understand?
Empathy – Empathy is the act of putting oneself in the position of the speaker and imagining how it would feel to experience their position.
I can imagine you feel…
3. Finding your Imago – Complete the sections A-E then refer to the sentence below.
- List the bad qualities of your mother and father.
- List the good qualities of your mother and father
- Complete the sentence – “What I wanted and needed most as a child was…”
- List good memories of your childhood and how you responded emotionally.
- List the disappointments of your childhood and how you responded behaviorally.
Complete the sentence below using the corresponding answers from the statements above. This sentence will give you a description of what you look for in a partner.
I am trying to find a person who is (A) to always be (B) so I can get (C) and feel (D). I stop myself from getting this sometimes by (E).
4. Cognitive Exercise
The goal of the cognitive exercise is to better understand how negative self beliefs impact feelings, body sensations and behaviors and to change these negative experiences by writing and addressing more realistic and rational self beliefs, validating them and creating new behavioral responses.
The exercise is divided into four parts. The exercise should be written.
Negative self beliefs are automatic and subconscious. It is hard to identify them. However, an automatic negative thought will cause a negative emotion which is more conscious – so first look for negative emotions ( suggested in step #1 ) and work “backwards” to identify the negative self belief. After the exercise is practiced many times the automatic negative thought will be conscious and much easier to notice as a negative or challenging situation is happening. Positive behavioral responses will also be much more natural and automatic.
- Identify a situation that caused an emotional change such as feeling anxious or depressed.
- List the negative self belief that accompanied the change in mood. Use the sentence “I am _______” and fill in the blank. Examples are “I am bad”, “I am worthless”, “I am not good enough”. Also write the negative emotion and body sensations that were felt from the negative emotion. After listing the negative self belief, related emotion and related body sensation write what negative thing(s) these caused you to do or to want to do.
- List the Cognitive Rebuttal – In other words, what is the positive self belief you want to have instead of the negative self belief. It is usually the opposite of the negative belief. Again use the frame sentence “I am_________” and fill in the blank. Examples may be “I am good”, “I am important” or “I am OK”. After this is listed then write “as evidenced by…” and fill in. For example “I am good as evidenced by my daily respect and concern for my coworkers”.
- Reread the positive Cognitive Rebuttal and the rational evidence for this description and then list the appropriate behavioral reaction. Follow through with the behavior. It can be helpful to reread the whole exercise, skip all of the second section thus imagining taking out all of the negative reactions and then moving to the positive responses in section three to determine the behavioral response. The end goal of the exercise is to do these steps automatically without writing it.
5. Journal Exercise
The purpose of the journal exercise is to experience, track and increase awareness of emotions. This exercise helps to decrease symptoms and increases assertive communication. Journal writing should be done daily and can include any emotion from the day good or bad. Journal writing should follow very specific language. First, start with –
I feel________ because _______. For example “I feel angry because you forgot about me.”
After using this exercise for 3-4 weeks, change it to a more detailed version. Think about a specific situation and follow the suggestions below.
- I think…..
- I feel…
- I want…
For example “I think you are more concerned about your own schedule. I feel hurt by your inconsiderate behavior and I want you to include me in your planning.”