Serendipitous resource installation

Depression was one of the main themes of this year’s EMDR Europe conference. Michael Hase’s presentation on the importance of resourcing a depressed client prior to reprocessing was a welcome reminder of what we are trying to achieve with each client we see.

Hase began by referring to the AIP model as “a model of resourcing” in that it requires that we identify deficits. Francine Shapiro was very clear about the need for adequate resources before a person is subjected to the potentially destabilising experience of reprocessing traumatic memories. “Adaptive memory networks need to be present and accessible for reprocessing to occur”, Hase said.

Something that, probably, we have all done in therapy but perhaps not focused on as a potential candidate for installation, is what Hase referred to as “instant resource installation” (IRI). This is when we notice something that a client has said or done in front of us that is counter to their presenting symptoms and, if we are present enough, we are able to offer back to the client. An example would be my hearing a client, as part of his feedback during Phase 4, saying “but I am safe now” and my asking him to repeat what he has just said. To make this into Hase’s IRI, I would have to offer BLS as the client repeats the words that reflect their present sense of safety.

Hase gave the example of a client saying that they feel more energetic in the evenings. Or the therapist noticing a change in body posture, autonomic regulation or in the client’s facial expression. Hase’s recommendation is to bring it into the client’s consciousness, awareness and do short sets of BLS.

According to the research evidence, Hase said, antidepressant medication is only as effective as placebo in patients with mild to moderate depression; these medications only really come into their own in the treatment of severe depression. Just as well, then, that resourcing works so well.

Omar Sattaur edits EMDR Therapy Quarterly