BUY THIS BOOK: This is an unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material. I purchased my copy for only $11.00 on Amazon and you should too. Here is a transcription, posting and publishing of the Association and Integration section from CHAPTER 15, LETTING GO OF THE PAST: EMDR, The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk, pages 263 and 264.
The factual details of the childhood trauma do not matter as much as the body memory of the images behind the eye movements that are desensitized and reprocessed.
Association and Integration
“Unlike conventional exposure treatment, EMDR spends very little time revisiting the original trauma. The trauma itself is certainly the starting point. But the focus is on stimulating and opening up the associative process. As our Prozac/EMDR study showed, drugs can blunt the images and sensations of terror. But they remain embedded in the mind and body. In contrast with the subjects who improved on Prozac–whose memories were merely blunted, not integrated as an event that happened in the past, and still caused considerable anxiety–those who received EMDR no longer experienced the distinct imprints of he trauma. It had become a story of a terrible event that had happened a long time ago. As one of my patients said, making a dismissive hand gesture: “It’s over.”
“It had become a story of a terrible event that had happened a long time ago.”
We don’t know exactly how EMDR works
While we don’t yet know precisely how EMDR works, the same is true of Prozac. Prozac has an effect on serotonin, but whether its levels go up or down, and in which brain cells, and why that makes people feel less afraid, is still unclear. We likewise don’t know precisely why talking to a trusted friend gives such profound relief, and I am surprised how few people seem eager to explore the question.
In 40 years will EMDR have become mainstream?
Clinicians have only one obligation: to do whatever they can to help their patients get better. Because of this, clinical practice has always been a hotbed for experimentation. Some experiments fail, some succeed, and some, like EMDR, dialectical behavior therapy, and internal family systems therapy, go on to change the way therapy is practiced. Validating all these treatments takes decades and is hampered by the fact that research support generally goes to methods that have already been proven to work. I am much comforted by considering the history of penicillin: Almost four decades passed between the discovery of its antibiotic properties by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and the final elucidation of its mechanisms in 1965.”