Preparing for launch: Integrating positive psychology with EMDR therapy
EMDR Therapy (EMDR) and Positive Psychology (PP) are naturally aligned to promote Post Traumatic Growth and to foster resilience. When individuals are no longer limited by maladaptively stored memories, not only do they move " from unhappy to neutral" (Ellen Langer, Ph.D.), the historical role of psychotherapy, they can move on to the possibility of securing a solid psychological foundation. PP concepts and exercises to build self knowledge and self valuing can be integrated into each of EMDR’s 8 Phases. Identifying, exploring, and installing both known and undiscovered assets can promote the strength and number of positive and/or adaptive memory networks, thereby enhancing treatment efficacy. The development of these adaptive networks facilitates the reprocessing of maladaptively stored traumatic memories and their related dysfunctional negative beliefs, which had previously resulted in unconscious barriers to growth, non-existent glass ceilings, and truncated identities that limited the full expression of the individual’s human potential. Once these barriers to growth have been removed there is an opportunity to explore the previously forbidden territory of “the power of possibility, the option to create what we want to be.” (Langer, 2010) This presentation discusses Well-Being Theory, highlighting P.E.R.M.A. The relationship between resilience and posttraumatic growth is summarized, explaining the seven core components of building resilience. Directions are provided for the integration of PP procedures in EMDR’s phases 1,2,5, and 8. Instruction is given for 5 exercises that can be taught to clients to promote well-being, with an emphasis on the importance of imagination: “Imagination gives us the opportunity to envision new possibilities—it is an essential launch pad for making our hopes come true. It fires our creativity, relieves our boredom, alleviates our pain, enhances our pleasure, and enriches our most intimate relationships” (van der Kolk, 2014, 17) Incorporating PP concepts as didactic psycho-education and experiential exercises, alongside EMDR, can fill in the developmental gaps that resulted from trauma. A solid and secure psychological foundation informed by self-knowledge with a pathway to building and maintaining life-long Well-Being prepares an individual to successfully launch into the continuously unfolding mysterious adventure of Life – Post Traumatic Growth.
Original Work Citation
Condor, C. (2018, June) Preparing for launch: Integrating positive psychology with EMDR therapy. Poster presented at the 19th EMDR Europe Conference, Strasbourg, France
“Preparing for launch: Integrating positive psychology with EMDR therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed February 24, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/25243.