Thursday, November 24, 2016

bits and pieces/ slimy ooze/ demon and primitive stages of development

EMDR has turned out to be such an interesting tool. I can heartily confirm that I've been able to reverse a few cases of PTSD without the labor involved in waiting for, and working through the transference. More than this, it has sped up a lot of the extra-transferential work I do with patients too. There is still a lot of important transferential work that can't be avoided for people with primitive narcissistic and echoistic issues-- not to mention the huge importance of working through the trito phase (father complex) in any good longer term therapy.

Still, I've been able to innovate some techniques for working with primitive issues that are extra-transferential.

It begins with asking for 'picture-thinking' associations. When some patients mention that they were "crushed," "destroyed," or use metaphors like" pawn," for example, one can ask them to take the words out of context and for the first image that comes to mind.

One patient said she thought of dropping an orange from a rooftop and that it exploded on the ground into pieces.

Another said she pictured a ballon popping into pieces.

Another associated an insect being stepped on and slimy ooze coming out.

Another associated pawn to solider, then soldier to war, and then pictured a sense of "chaos" with bullets, blood, and bodies everywhere.

Another said he pictures a great demon with four arms with claws, red beady eyes, a snout, etc...

By asking them to picture the bits and pieces, ooze, or the physiognomy of the demon and then try to map it into their felt sense of their body, they were able to get in touch and resolve their primitive anxiety state, or superego self-judgment (bad conscience, projective identification with denigrated parent, etc.).

The bits and pieces of the ballon reformed inside of one's chest and then it began to deflate until she felt a sense of calm and well-being.

Another, more precisely, located the bits and pieces as floating anxiety in her chest, it reformed as a ball, and then it too "deflated."

The ooze turned into a sense of being disgusting and hated that one patient felt she carried with her for most of her life.

The man felt the demons body mapped on to his in the feeling in his chest and the back of his head, and he got in touch with the externalized feeling of evil in him that would make "God sad, disappointed" if it was ever expressed.

The Kleinian phantasy of attacking the breast and tearing it to pieces seems very salient in the two examples I give with spherical objects. The ooze and breast milk/semen is another possibility... but I have to say that I'm glad I don't have to interpret such things. In the past I can say that I was often rewarded with the patient having an important thought about someone in their life after such interpretations, and that I've never had a patient tell me that I was being ridiculous or inappropriate for the interpretation, However, I've also never got the sense that the issue was cleared up by the interpretation alone. It still required working through the transference. With EMDR, it seems like the person gets past the anxiety and fusion is allowed to happen.

If it is only a temporary situation, and these anxiety situations still come up, I'll post and correct this. (The superego judgments still have to be worked through, but to have such things come out into the open is, of course, very important and useful)


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