EMDR and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

EMDR and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

I thought I might share this: an abstract for a paper at an EMDR conference. It’s a bit glib but I think it says something about how I work, and why.

As EMDR becomes more popular and its application becomes more diverse practitioners may find it helpful to consider some of the ways psychoanalytic therapists have explored therapeutic relationships. Freud’s work with trauma in the 1890s, enthused by his interest in mesmerism, in some ways bore a closer relationship to contemporary EMDR practice than to contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The metapsychology he developed, although at first-sight complex and sometimes arcane, offers EMDR practitioners a wealth of ways of thinking about their work without departing from the usual protocols.

Perhaps one of Freud’s most interesting discoveries was that the ways therapists think about their work inevitably affects the therapeutic relationship. From cognitive interweaves to decisions about treatment planning, the timing of interventions, the depth of preparation required and how a client should be oriented post-treatment, a psychoanalytic attitude can expand awareness and foster confidence. Freud wrote about ‘wild psychoanalysis’: psychoanalytically informed interventions by doctors, nurses and others who may not have been trained in the full psychoanalytic method.

I will explore the implications of EMDR with a psychoanalytic attitude and look closely at three distinct ways of drawing on psychoanalysis: a form of history taking based on free association which I have found extremely helpful; EMDR as applied to dreams; and considering how our interventions may sometimes be less rational than we imagine.

 

The Rhythm Section

The Rhythm Section

I tend to do some things very predictably, very regularly, and in some ways constantly. When I was learning music, when I was very young, I realised what happened as soon as I played in a band or an orchestra and there was a rhythm section: I didn’t feel alone, which was annoying sometimes but generally very comforting; I could relax and play more freely, sometimes on my own and sometimes with others, and with a solid beat I could be more daring in what I played. There was a great sense of togetherness and I understood that there could be mystery and magic without secrets. Things could be communicated without me saying anything. All I had to do was listen, and to feel it.

And I remember a gig somewhere and listening to Simon Gallup’s bass line to ‘A forest’ and hearing Robert Smith improvise, and make noises on his guitar and with his voice that were very much more than what I could listen to on a record.

Or Miles Davis playing with Michael Henderson, but I never saw that.

Or Chopin’s left hand. I certainly never saw that.

There’s a run of bass notes in Mozart’s piano concerto No. 23, in the second movement, which you can’t actually hear on some recordings, or with some speakers.

I can’t do my life without its rhythms, and most of what I do seems to involve realising what these are, or that they can change. It isn’t addiction, it’s the kind of dependency that the tides have.

The blog goes on

It’s been a long and complicated summer. I gave a paper at the Guild summer conference last week which seemed to sum most of it up; and now I am in private practice, in London, and realising this is very much where I want to be. I shall try to get back to writing something each week.