During my training to become a certified EMDR therapist, I’ve participated in quite a few consultation meetings and have presented cases for feedback from other EMDR therapists and experts. I often work with clients who have complex symptoms and are seeking Christian counseling for trauma and anxiety. When discussing a case that I needed direction in, or a client who seems stuck or not quite ready for reprocessing certain memories, I would often get the advice, “Sounds like you need to do more resourcing.”
But what did that exactly mean? In basic EMDR training, we were taught two resources that I do with every client before starting any reprocessing of traumatic or distressing memories: Safe/Calm Place and Container. But beyond those two resources, I wasn’t sure what else was helpful or possible.
Enter the book “Tapping In: A Step-By-Step Guide to Activating Your Healing Resources Through Bilateral Stimulation” by Dr. Laurel Parnell. Though this book is an essential addition to the EMDR therapist’s bookshelf, it’s written in a way that is accessible to anyone, even without any EMDR training. Dr. Parnell starts with some basic descriptions of tapping and how it calms the brain, then outlines dozens and dozens of practical applications (Managing Anxiety, Trauma First Aid, Resources for Comfort, Uplifting Resources, etc, etc.). The lightbulb finally went off for me that my clients and I can be creative and discover together the resources that they need to take a next step in their lives.
Since reading this book a few months ago, here are a few of the resources I’ve helped my clients install:
- Circle of support (imagining all of the past and present people who have been supportive surrounding the client)
- Armor of God (imagining each piece of the armor being available to protect the client during the week)
- God’s presence (envisioning God holding or walking with the client)
- Positive beliefs such as “I am enough,” “I can do hard things,” and “It’s worth it”
- Courage (especially when clients are distressed about an upcoming EMDR target)
After even just a few minutes of working on installing these resources, clients almost always feel calm, relaxed, and empowered.
While EMDR is typically thought of just looking at the past (reprocessing painful memories), this aspect of EMDR that works on strengthening the client in the present is extremely valuable. I usually pair these resources with a future template (“Now that we’ve installed this resource, what’s an upcoming situation that it would be helpful to have that?”) This process has proven to help clients feel more prepared handle difficult or anxiety-provoking situations in their lives.
Does this seem like something that would be helpful for you? What would it be like to have strong sense of courage, self-worth, or peace within you? Contact me for an intake appointment and let’s explore how EMDR resourcing could help you.