EMDR Cartoon #1: The Two Vultures!


This simple cartoon illustrates the difficulties posed by "complex trauma," when EMDR trauma therapy is used as a treatment. Complex trauma is defined as having more than one type of traumatic event, such that the various traumatic memories interact and reinforce each other. An all-too-common example would be a woman who was neglected as a child, and as an adult was in several abusive relationships.

In these cases, there are two "vultures" that hang over the client and therapist in an intimidating way. The first is the Shadow, which to put it briefly, relates to the client's core insecurities and sense of shame. The fear of activating that shame adds to the reason trauma is "stuck," which is the way trauma affects how clients see themselves and the world in a negative light. "NC," in the drawing refers to the "negative cognition" of a particular traumatic memory. Please refer to my June 21st 2018 post, "The Shadow of Shame," for a more complete explanation of the Shadow.

The second vulture is the fear, horror, and terror of a traumatic event, which prevent the client from accessing and healing the underlying reason the trauma is "stuck," which again, is the way trauma affects how clients see themselves and the world in a negative light. The distortion created by the raw emotional aspects of traumatic memories can be difficult to work through--like having on thick glasses while doing surgery.

Thankfully, these two vultures can be shooed away. The Shadow, as explained in the above-referenced post, can be dealt with by increasing and adding to the client's anti-shame "resources," such that the client can focus on the memory at hand without activating underlying shame. The second, fear-horror-terror, can be nearly eliminated by the use of the "Flash technique," which is described in my post from April 26th, 2018, entitled "The mystery of the Flash Technique."

Do you have complex trauma? Perhaps your entire childhood was marked by neglect, or feelings of shame, and perhaps you've been through other traumatic events that just reinforce the negativity or anger. Perhaps your traumatic memories just seem like a big mess! Whatever the case, understand that I have made a close study of working with the most complex cases, and look forward to helping you start a new chapter in life!