Friday, November 25, 2011

EMDR Miracle?

My 9 year old is doing VERY well right now, and it's as if he's turned a major corner in healing. He participated in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)
therapy several weeks back. Prior to this he was raging maybe 3 or 4 times a day, constantly dysregulated, angry and violent. Full on fight or flight mode. Mostly fight.

He had gotten so out of control, that his psychiatrist handed me a brochure at his last doctor visit, and told me to go home and talk to my husband about it, and seriously consider it as the last resort option to help our son, as medication and therapy was failing. "It" was a Residential Treatment Center three hours drive away. I was stunned that that is what we had come to as a solution. Especially after a weeks hospitalization in August. He had been given one session of EMDR in the hospital, but it was conducted under less than stable circumstances and we saw no real benefit at the time. We decided to give it another try with his private therapist and an EMDR professional about a month ago. The single session lasted about 20 minutes. For several nights after EMDR, he had vivid and often frightening trauma nightmares, then it ceased entirely. We were told to expect this as his trauma was "purged" from the frontal lobe where it had taken up residence.

Suddenly, within days, we saw new behaviors that we'd never seen.... cuddling, lots of "I love yous", laughing, excitement and joy, wanting to hold hands and be CLOSE -- touching, intertwined fingers. And most significant, he crawled into bed with me while I was asleep one morning, and I woke up to him propped on his side looking at me sleep. The look in his eyes can only be described as "in love". When I asked him what he was looking at , he replied "You" "I'm looking at you cause I love you".

The change in him has been so significant, that even his teachers called me in for a conference to talk about the very obvious change in him at school as well. All three teachers noticed individually (and together in conferencing about it before calling me in) that he seems like a different child. They note they all three finally see EMOTION in him -- be it sad, happy, puzzled, upset, etc. rather than the flat affect they were accustomed to seeing. That it's as though a veil has been removed and he can "feel". I am noticing the same things at home too. Not just with less explosive behavior, but with attachment and bonding, eye contact, compliance, joy in simple things, and even empathy. He's been SNUGGLING with me and wanting to be touched. There have been several instances where we've had to set boundaries and tell him "no" - a no that normally would evoke a rage or meltdown or bargaining or all three... and 90% of the time he's accepted a "no" and the other 10% he was angry (door slamming/yelling) but it resulted in him going to his room and crying rather than exploding and being destructive or violent. Instead of being angry and exploding, he's getting his feelings hurt and being disappointed! Like a regular kid! It's been AMAZING. Hoping it holds out! THIS is the son that I know lurks underneath all the hurt. God, please let this be our miracle!