At AToN Center, one of our goals is to teach our residents tools that they can continue to use after they have discharged. By the time our residents discharge, they have learned cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention skills and assertiveness techniques.
They have also been exposed to meditation and other stress management tools. Some of our residents participate in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) if determined to be appropriate based on clinical need. In the “Preparation” phase of EMDR, our residents are taught self soothing and calming techniques.
Here is a technique that anyone can use. It is from Francine Shapiro’s book, Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy. It is called the Spiral Technique (found on page 108).
If you are experiencing upset or discomfort, try the following:
Bring up an image that represents your discomfort.
As you think of the image that represents it, notice where you feel the disturbance in your body.
Now pretend that the feeling is “energy.” If it was a spiral of energy, which direction is it moving in: clockwise or counterclockwise?
Now, with your mind, gently change the direction of the spiral in your body. For instance, if it was originally moving clockwise, gently change it to counterclockwise.
Notice what happens to the feelings in your body. For many people, their feelings will lessen as they change the direction of the spiral. If one direction didn’t work, try the other direction and see if it lessens the disturbance. If this has been helpful, practice this regularly so it becomes a stronger coping skill for you!
As always, please take care of yourselves and maintain contact with your treatment providers!
Cassandra Cannon, Ph.D.
AToN Center 888-535-1516