Calm Safe Place: EMDR Therapy Preparation Demonstration

– Alright, Ryan. So, generally, I start
each preparation exercise just doing a couple breaths. You don’t have to force deep breaths. I just invite you to kinda breath in a way that feels good to you. – Okay.
– You can close your eyes or leave em open, and I’ll observe and do my
best to breath along with you. – Okay. – What are you noticing? – Just kind of settling into the chair. I felt some of the tension in my back sort of releases a sort of, I felt more aware of my body in the chair. – Alright. – My muscles de-tensing. – Nice. We’re actually gonna do a
set of those eye movements we talked about to strengthen that. – Okay. – So, notice that you’ve
settled into the chair. Notice muscle are de-tensed. Just follow my fingers. Alright, another breath. What are you noticing? And, there’s nothing I’m
looking for specifically, just whatever is most recognizable to you. – Yeah. I felt the muscles in my face relaxing. – Okay. – And, I don’t know what to think of it, just a little moisture in my eyes as well. – Okay. – So, we don’t have to analyze that. Let’s just use that to flow into the safe place exercise we’re going to do. So, the first question I wanna ask, do you like the term ‘safe place’? Some clients prefer
calm place, happy place. What’s the descriptor word that will seem to work best for us starting this? – I think I would prefer calm place. – Calm place, okay. We’ll work with calm place. So, different people have
different preferences on this. Some people already have a place in mind that they wanna use, they
can get there instantly. Some people need me to
ask them some questions. So, let’s start with… what’s the place that you’d like to use? – Yeah so, I’ve been thinking about it since you said we were
gonna be doing this. I was thinking of a place that I found while I was on a backpacking trip. It was right on the ocean but, there was also sort of
a creek that was flowing into the ocean and big trees up behind us. And sort of, you had sort of the crashing of the waves in combination with the sound
of the creek trickling by on the other side.
– Yeah. So, this is a place you’ve actually been? And, were other people
with you at the time? – Yeah, the people I felt comfortable with and felt good about being there, so. – Okay cool, for this exercise do you think you’ll be able to visualize just you in the place? – Yes. – Okay, let’s give it a
go and if anything arises just let me know when we do the check-ins. – Okay. – Alright so I’m gonna invite you. You can close your eyes
or leave them open, it works both ways. But the invitation is to
just bring up that place in your awareness.
– okay. – Are you there? – Mm-hmm. – Alright, so tell me as
much or as little detail as you’d like to give me about what you’re noticing in that place. – Since I’m visualizing I’m
sorta sitting on the creek, on the side of the creek, and so I can see the
clear waters of the creek. And so I think, I guess most
aware of is what I’m hearing. It’s like hearing both sort
of the creek trickling by and the waves crashing by
out to the right of me. And then the sun’s shinning brightly, and there’s a lot of green too right along side the creek bed. So there’s sort of sand coming
up off the ocean but then the light green behind me, so.
– Okay. Let’s do our first set here
just noticing all of that. – Okay. – So being aware and noticing all of that. Breath. What are you noticing now? – I found myself wanting
to smile as you were, as I was watching your hand and there’s just sort of a, there was a sense of
lightness, I just sort of could really feel at ease
when you bring it to mind. – Just notice that, that
sense of lightness and ease. Breath. What are you noticing now? – Things I was thinking
about is just feeling sort of really grounded
sitting in the sand. – Okay. – And sort of consimilar I
feel sort of a groundedness in my body, just sort of
– Okay. Feeling like no movement was required, I could sort of be in that space. – Good to notice that?
– Yeah. – Breath. What are you noticing now? – The words “just be here”
– okay. – Are coming to mind. – Alright, let’s strengthen that. – Okay. – Breath. What are you noticing now? – Still really relaxed, and. – Good. So we’re gonna go with the relaxation but also curious to know “just be here”, does that affirmation
really work with this place or is there another word
that you may be able to use as a cue to bring up in your mind whenever you may need to
come back to this place. – You know I feel like that actually fits. – Just be here?
– Yeah, yeah. I feel like. I’m trying to think if
there’s anything else we coulda looked at, feels really resident when you say that. – Cool, alright let’s do
a set to strengthen that, that phrase “just be here” together with your experience in the place. – Okay. – Breath. What are you noticing now, Ryan? – There’s that, sort of ease of breathing, but also just sort of a like the breath just sorta
easily goes down to my stomach as well so I feel like just sorta real settling for me. – Okay, let’s do one more
set to strengthen that, just noticing that experience. – Okay. – Breath. Let’s me have you flow doing
just a few more breaths with that, just as they naturally come. – Do I keep my eyes closed? – Closed or open, your preference. What are you noticing, Ryan? – It’s like as I took those breaths, i could just feel my back of my shoulders go back and I just felt like I just really really at ease and and really just feel the truth in that sort of just be here now. – That’s beautiful.
– So. that’s beautiful. So I’m gonna ask you to
transition from the place itself, that you brought up. And, just let yourself
come back into this room particularly, since we kinda
took you to another place. So maybe notice that sinking in the chair, notice your body making
contact with the chair. Maybe take a look around, notice the details of this place. So how are you doing with that? – Yeah, I feel like I’m
tuned more back here. – Okay, nice. Okay, so what I’m gonna
invite you to do is, maybe later in our session
we’ll do one quick trial of it, have you bring up “be here now,” going to your calm place at
least in a temporary way. But I think it’s important that after you do that place exercise, we do a little bit of this
grounding to just notice yourself back in this room or
whatever room you may be in, and then I’ll invite you to
try it at different times during your week, in between
now and when you come back. And then, let me know what
you noticed out there. – Okay. – Is there anything else
you feel that you may need to really help you get there, when I’m not here doing
the exercise with you? – No I think, I think just sort of pairing those words with sort of the body
sensation in this earth. – Yeah. – Like even, even as I brought my hand to my chest. – I noticed that too, yeah. – Yeah there was sort of a sense that that would help me sort of
allow myself to settle in more – Beautiful.
– Physically as well, so. – Yeah, so I think “be here
now” is a nice wording cue, and this is a nice sematic
or body base cue for you. – Mm-hmm. – Alright, thank you Ryan. – Yeah, thank you.

6 comments

  1. I would love a chance to reach out to Jamie Marich and ask a few questions as I work with Tortured Refugees and have just started using EMDR after being trained. the cultural ramifications, boundaries, overcoming language, etc…

  2. Dear Jamie

    These videos of yours are so informative and really deepen my understanding of the EMDR techniques and processes! Thank you very much!

    I was wondering: When a client comes up with a somatic cue (e.g. hand touching chest or something like that) for his/her safe place, would it make sense to do another BLS set with that cue added to the cognitive/verbal cue?

  3. A therapist attempted EMDR with me a few years ago, but every time she asked me "how are you feeling", "what are you feeling?" My response was "I dont know. How am I supposed to feel?" I don't remember "feeling" anything- except maybe a little confused about the process. Anyway she stopped trying it after a couple of times and then I stopped therapy all together. Just wanted to point out that I like how you say "what are you noticing?"

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