Resource-focused EMDR: Integration of ego state therapy, alternating bilateral stimulation, and art therapy
I conceptualize EMDR as the process of linking the trauma from one part of the brain to a solution in another part of the brain, to reach an adaptive resolution. The standard EMDR protocol proposes accomplishing this by focusing heavily on the trauma. Most of my clients are adult survivors of childhood trauma and their tolerance of a trauma-focused protocol is often low. I wondered if the same adaptive resolution could be accomplished by focusing primarily on the part of the brain holding the solution rather than the trauma. I recently began developing a resource-focused protocol, which borrows from Sandra Paulsen’s (1994, 1995, & 1996) suggestions for integrating EMDR with ego state therapy, and Andrew Leeds’ (1997) protocol for resource development and resource installation (RD/RI). This new protocol puts significant emphasis on developing and strengthening the felt sense of well-being connected to resource ego states before EMDR processing, and maintenance of the sense of well-being during EMDR processing. It involves using the clients’ drawings of resource ego states and traumatized ego states (drawn with the dominant and nondominant hand) as anchors for ego state processing, and as the focal points in eye movements (EMs). In this protocol, traumatic material is elicited only when sufficient internal resources, represented by drawings, are displayed in front of the client. The intention of this approach is to minimize risk of affect overwhelm and maximize the probability that the part of the brain holding the trauma will link to the part of the brain holding the solution. In my experience the resource-focused protocol
“Resource-focused EMDR: Integration of ego state therapy, alternating bilateral stimulation, and art therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17166.