Notes from Recent Courses Taken
Disorder: Integrating EMDR and the Theory of Structural Dissociation, Niagara Falls, New York State
Presenter Day 2: Jim Knipe, Ph.D. EMDR Safely treating traumatic memories of clients with Complex PTSD
What is Complex PTSD? It is a pattern of emotional disturbance resulting from extensive and repeated childhood neglect and trauma (Jim Knipe, 2012).
Additionally, clinically complex PTSD is a combination of existing DSM IV diagnostic categories with elements of PTSD, Dissociative Disorders, and Personality Disorders as first described by Judith Herman, 1982, 1992.
J. Knipe pointed out Dr. Bessel van der Kolk's research (2007) where Dr. B. van der Kolk et al conducted a randomized clinical trail of EMDR, Fluoxetine, and Pill Placebo in the treatment of PTSD for childhood onset. The findings were that for the first 8 weeks of the treatment there was the same effectiveness for EMDR and Fluoxetine. But, when a subject stopped taking the medication the subject returned to having the original PTSD symptoms, That was not the case for EMDR-the subjects retained what they had healed.
A good reminder about a basic assumption of EMDR is that it is a body-based information processing system that helps the client move their emotional disturbances into a healthy and accurate reality-perception (Francine Shapiro). This assumption, along with the bi-lateral stimulation to integrate the left and right hemispheres of the brain, are the essence of why EMDR is so successful-it has the client first identify the problem, then connect the problem with where it is held in their body. This mind-body connection supports the ability of both hemispheres of the brain to move towards wholeness and health.
An interesting note is the power of Shame. Shame results in an adult client still feeling "less powerless" because they do not see themselves as separate from the problem. Their child part is still seeing them as part of the problem, such that it is not entirely their parents' fault that there was neglect or physical attacks on them. They see their child self as a bad kid and the parent as a good parent, and may even say that their childhood was normal. In this perception their child part takes on the flaws of the parent, they seem themselves as a bad kid who must just work harder to be a good kid and everything will eventually be better.