My one client we will call Lily has been coming to me for 6 weeks. She presented with severe panic and anxiety issues related to her ex-husband trying to get custody of her children, however he is a drug addict. He stole the children’s Christmas presents to pay for drugs, drained Lily’s savings account and all of this underneath her. She says looking back on it she sees it but at the time she didn’t realize all he was doing. She now suffers from Panic Disorder with agoraphobia and severe depression. We talked about her issues and how he is still harassing her through phone texts and social networking sites. As a matter of fact she is my next client coming in today.
Lily was prepped to do EMDR, establishing a safe place and installing the safe place for approximately 2 weeks. Now she has been doing EMDR for approximately 3 weeks and has been practicing the techniques at home to combat her anxiety and panic. Her panic attacks have decreased since starting EMDR and although she still has some anxiety it is not as strong as it was before EMDR. Lily stated she believes this is working well for her and has given her hope that someday, hopefully soon, she will be “normal” again and not have these panic attacks and anxiety. She does have Klonipin for her panic and anxiety but has been using it less and less.
Since starting EMDR she has started speaking up for herself and feeling more confident in her choices. She has taken charge over her life instead of letting her ex-husband bring her down and occupy all of her thoughts, which is what was happening and causing a great deal of her panic and anxiety. She is adamant about not letting her ex-husband see her children because they don’t want to see him and he has done nothing but cause the family pain.
The reason I shared this is to give hope to those counselors who use EMDR, knowing it does work and is a great therapeutic intervention for panic and anxiety sufferers. I know this is only one client I talked about, but there are others on my caseload who also have had success with EMDR. A few clients have not wanted to try it so I just use aspects of it, for example establishing a safe place, using a container real or imagined for problems that are too overwhelming right now.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder