Day 1 of our EMDR journey
I bet you didn’t know you have lightning bolts in your brain. Well, you do – we all do.
It is the end of our second day of EMDR therapy and my brain is tired – almost too tired to blog, but writing helps me process and remember, so here we go.
Day 1 began with the therapists taking a history, some of which we had already done on the phone. I also prepared a timeline in advance which saved some time (Thanks to Jen for that suggestion).
Next, we worked with Cathy, who explained to Kalkidan how her brain works. She taught at a level Kalkidan could understand which we also appreciated! Cathy explained her thoughts plus her feelings, equal her behavior.
Thoughts + Feelings = Behavior
She taught us that when we change our thoughts, we can change our behavior. She gave some practical examples that helped Dimples understand how her thoughts combined with her feelings determine how she behaves, for better or worse.
Then she drew a sketch of Kalkidan’s brain and explained our brains store all kinds of memories, both happy and sad. Our brains also store “lightning bolts” or triggers that interfere with our ability to feel our happy and sad thoughts. In the picture, the lightning bolts were big and covered up the happy and sad thoughts.
We talked about what Kalkidan’s lightening bolts might be and it was impressive how aware she was of her own triggers.
Cathy demonstrated how our thoughts move from one point to another in our brains forming neural networks. The good news is we can form and strengthen new neural networks – we can change our thoughts which then changes our behavior. EMDR can help us quickly build new neural networks.
And what is really great is EMDR shrinks the lightning bolts, making them smaller and smaller and getting them out of the way in our brains.
It was a sweeping overview which gave Kalkidan a basic understanding of where we are headed in this work.
Next we had our first EMDR session with Deb. Kalkidan sat between Russ and me on a small sofa. Much of the time, she held “tappers” in her hands which alternated vibrating in her hands. I personally think calling them “buzzies” is more descriptive than “tappers,” but either they way, they are small things Kalkidan held in her hands. She liked the way they felt and preferred them on the strongest setting.
As she held the tappers, Deb talked through some of Kalkidan’s history and talked to her about the Little Kalkidan inside of her who was so hurt and scared. I won’t share details of Kalkidan’s therapy, but it was very good.
We’re ready to tackle those lightning bolts and love on the hurt Little Kalkidan living inside our 10 year-old daughter.
We are all doing well. Kalkidan is loving the time with us and we are honestly enjoying her, which in and of itself is very healing. It’s good to get a fresh perspective on our daughter, even when we know that this is not our true reality. In real life, Kalkidan has lots of siblings and we don’t eat lunch in restaurants of her choosing every day. For now, we’re just riding the wave of happy feelings and experiences.
We are having a wonderful time with the family hosting us. They have a beautiful home on a lake and we have our own lovely rooms above their garage. This morning I stood on the balcony brushing my teeth and thought, even in the challenges God brings to us, He has also brings gifts. He shows His love to us in so many ways even when life is hard.
Thank you for your prayers – we feel a distinct peace we know can only be from God.
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