I frequently see both EMDR and meditation, hailed as the answer to all who have endured trauma. This simply means they are uneducated about complex trauma.
EMDR can be good for PTSD sufferers. But, it is often not suitable for complex trauma survivors. It was not even designed for complex trauma survivors. It is more suitable to one time, short lived trauma survivors where the trauma occurred as an adult.
EMDR, is also not suitable for those with chronic dissociation.
And I know of many who have been offered EMDR, without the correct knowledge about complex trauma and it has in fact, made their mental health worse and symptoms worsen.
Meditation, is another strategy I know is not considered suitable for many with chronic dissociation and dissociative disorders.
Yet, I continually see people, including professionals and mental health organisations promoting EMDR for all trauma survivors, with PTSD issues.
There are significant differences between chronic severe trauma and one time short lived trauma.
There are significant differences between Complex PTSD and PTSD.
There are significant differences to the affects on the survivor and the treatment needed.
It is significantly harder to treat and heal/recover from Complex PTSD. Fact. As per trauma experts.
And when it comes to complex trauma induced disorders, I will take the advice of trauma experts, over the advice of those offering certain therapies, who are biased by the very nature of it being their business.
There needs to be more awareness and education about this.
October 30, 2015 at 6:42 pm
Any more info on why meditation is unsuitable, and what are the alternatives?
October 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm
Meditation, can increase dissociation, so it needs to be approached very carefully for anyone with dissociation symptoms.
I would always seek trauma experienced professional advice if having ongoing dissociation.
Alternatives would be something like guided deep muscle relaxation, or yoga. But again, seeking advice, is preferred.
October 31, 2015 at 3:28 am
This was an interesting read. There is no one size fits all for dealing with trauma and your advice is very sound, thank you.
October 31, 2015 at 6:08 am
Thank you and yes – there is no one size fits all and I wish more realised this. Including professionals.
February 13, 2016 at 2:36 am
I just started EMDR therapy for Complex PTSD in October of last year (same time as this post) and as far as I know it can be used to treat Complex PTSD. It just takes a lot more prep work (resourcing and ego strength building) to prevent emotional dysregulation in order to keep the client safe. You’ll also need to add elements of Ego State Therapy and be prepared to be in therapy for a long time (years of weekly sessions) in order to heal.
Please check out:
But in the end, you are right: There is no one modality that is right for everybody. If EMDR isn’t doing it for you, move on. The most important thing is to trust your therapist and to trust the healing process completely.