Bedford Networking Day Thursday Oct 15 2015

‘Revisiting the Standard Protocol: Trauma as a Time Disorder and a Primary Dissociation’

with EMDR Consultant Nel Walker

Thursday 15th October 2015

Priory Methodist Church, 63 Newnham Avenue, Bedford MK41 9QJ

The EMDR Association East Anglia was delighted to welcome Consultant Nel Walker at the first Bedfordshire regional networking event, organised by our colleague Christine Habermehl.

Click the following link (With Time on our Side Bedford EMDR group 2015) to download Nel’s excellent Powerpoint presentation, stripped of its images for copyright reasons but full of interesting ideas.

“I used to think that I was misplaced in time. but now I know that time was misplaced in me!”

(Conclusion of a trauma survivor and client quoted by Dr Janina Fisher[1].)

As Jenny Athern reports, some 20 colleagues from across our region enjoyed a morning’s teaching led by Nel Walker and networking opportunities focusing on working towards accreditation.

Nel presented PTSD as a primary dissociation, where  trauma memory is not “time tagged” by the hippocampus and so cannot be archived and placed into the story of our past.

The trauma memory therefore stays present and interferes with ongoing life.  Part of the self becomes marooned: stuck in time and disrupted by hyperarousal, intrusions and avoidance.

If we present trauma to clients as a time disorder, Nel explained, then we may discover that identifying the Negative Cognition becomes a more fluid process:

“What does the part of you stuck in the past believe?”   

The Positive Cognition then naturally emerges as the client’s hope for the integration of the trauma into their whole self and story:

“Coming back to yourself sitting here in the present, what would you like to believe about yourself, when you are in situations when you are frightened?” 

Nel demonstrated, with reference to clinical examples and role play, how to apply this perspective to working with clients.

She then developed this theme by exploring how we may need to adjust our approach in order to work safely and effectively with clients with more complex trauma and dissociative disorders.

The day was a valuable opportunity to meet with colleagues locally, to reflect on our development as EMDR therapists and to learn more about the clinical implications of viewing trauma as a time disorder.

[1] Working with the neurobiological legacy of trauma.  Webinar, Level 1, 2014.

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