Calm Safe Place: EMDR Therapy Preparation DemonstrationTranscript

Jamie Marich: All right, Ryan, so generally, I start each preparation exercise just doing a couple breaths. You don't have to force deep breaths. I just invite you to kind of breathe in a way that feels good for you. You can close your eyes or leave them open, and I'll observe, and do my best to breathe along with you.

Ryan Van Wyk: Okay.

Jamie Marich: Now what are you noticing?

Ryan Van Wyk: Just kind of settling into the chair, kind of felt some of the tension in my back release, as I…I felt more aware of my body in the chair, kind of my muscles de-tensing.

Jamie Marich: Nice. I'm actually going to do a set of those eye movements we talked about, to strengthen that. So, notice that you've settled into the chair. Notice muscles are de-tensed. Just follow my fingers. Another breath. What are you noticing? And there's nothing I'm looking for, specifically, just whatever is most recognizable to you.

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah, I felt the muscles in my face relaxing, and I don't know what to necessarily make of it, but I noticed, even just sort of a little moisture in my eyes, as well.

Jamie Marich: All right, so we don't have to analyze that. Let's just use that to flow into this safe place exercise we're going to do. So the first question I want to ask, do you like the term "Safe place"? Some clients prefer "Calm place," "Happy place." What's the descriptor word that will seem to work best for us, starting this?

Ryan Van Wyk: I think I would prefer calm place.

Jamie Marich: Calm place? Okay, we'll work with calm place. So, different people have different preferences on this. Some people already have a place in mind that they want to use, and can get there instantly. Some people need me to ask them some questions. So, let's start with what's the place that you'd like to use?

Ryan Van Wyk: Yes, I've been thinking about it since you said we were going to be doing this, and I was thinking about places that I found when I was on a backpacking trip, and it was right on the ocean, but there was also sort of a creek that was flowing into the ocean, and big trees behind us, and sort of just…You had sort of the crashing of the waves, in combination with the sound of the creek trickling by on the other side.

Jamie Marich: So this is a place you've actually been?

Ryan Van Wyk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jamie Marich: And were other people with you at the time?

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah. But people I felt comfortable with, and good about being there.

Jamie Marich: Okay, cool. For this exercise, do you think you'll be able to visualize just you in the place?

Ryan Van Wyk: Yes.

Jamie Marich: Okay. Let's give it a go, and if anything arises, just let me know, when we do the check-ins.

Ryan Van Wyk: Okay.

Jamie Marich: All right, so I'm going to invite you. You can close your eyes or leave them open. It works both ways, but the invitation is to just bring up that place in your awareness.

Ryan Van Wyk: Okay.

Jamie Marich: Are you there?

Ryan Van Wyk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jamie Marich: All right. So tell me as much or as little detail as you'd like to give me, about what you're noticing in that place.

Ryan Van Wyk: So as I'm visualizing, I'm sort of sitting on the creek, on the side of the creek, so I can see the clear waters of the creek. So I guess I'm most aware of, I think, is what I'm hearing, and so hearing both the creek trickling by and the waves crashing by, out, I guess to the right of me, and then the sun shining brightly, and there's a lot of green, too, right alongside of the creek beds. There's sort of sand coming off of the ocean, but then a lot of green behind me.

Jamie Marich: Let's do our first set here, just noticing all of that, so being aware and noticing all of that. Breath. What are you noticing now?

Ryan Van Wyk: I found myself wanting to smile even as you were…as I was watching your hand, and there was just sort of a sense of lightness sort of I really feel at ease, in bringing to mind.

Jamie Marich: Just notice that, that sense of lightness and ease. Take a breath. And what are you noticing now?

Ryan Van Wyk: I guess I was thinking about feeling sort of really grounded, sitting on the sand, and could similarly feel a grounded-ness to my body, of just sort of feeling like no movement was required. I could sort of be in that space.

Jamie Marich: Good to notice that?

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah.

Jamie Marich: Uh-huh (affirmative). Breath. And what are you noticing now?

Ryan Van Wyk: The words, "Just be here," are coming to mind.

Jamie Marich: All right, strengthen that. Breath. What are you noticing now?

Ryan Van Wyk: I just feel really relaxed [inaudible 00:07:54]

Jamie Marich: So, we're going to go with the relaxation, but also curious to know, "Just be here." Does that affirmation really work with this place, or is there another word, that you may be able to use as a cue, to bring up in your mind, whenever you may need to come back to this place?

Ryan Van Wyk: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You know, it feels like that actually fits.

Jamie Marich: "Just be here"?

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah, I feel like…I'm trying to think if there's anything else, but it feels like that feels really resonant [inaudible 00:08:30]

Jamie Marich: Cool. All right, let's do a set to strengthen that, that phrase, "Just be here," together with your experience in the place.

Ryan Van Wyk: Okay.

Jamie Marich: Breath. What are you noticing now, Ryan?

Ryan Van Wyk: Mostly a sort of an ease of breathing, but also just sort of a…I feel like the breath just easily goes down into my stomach as well, so I feel like just a real settling, I think.

Jamie Marich: Okay. Let's do one more set to strengthen that, just noticing that experience.

Ryan Van Wyk: Okay.

Jamie Marich: Breath. Let me have you flow, doing just a few more breaths with that, just as they naturally come.

Ryan Van Wyk: Can I keep my eyes closed?

Jamie Marich: Closed or open, your preference. What are you noticing, Ryan?

Ryan Van Wyk: I feel like, since I took those breaths, I can just feel my back and my shoulders go back, and I just felt like I was really at ease, and could really just sort of feel the truth, in that sort of "Just be here, now."

Jamie Marich: That's beautiful. That's beautiful. So I'm going to ask you, now, to transition from the place itself, that you brought up, and just let yourself come back into this room, particularly since we kind of took you to another place. So maybe notice that sinking in the chair, notice your body making contact with the chair. Maybe take a look around, notice the details of this place. Okay, how are you doing with that?

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah, I feel like I'm kind of more back in the back here.

Jamie Marich: Okay, nice.

Ryan Van Wyk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jamie Marich: Okay. So, what I would invite you to do is…Maybe later in our session, we'll do one quick trial of it, have you bring up "Be here, now," going to your calm place, at least in a temporary way, but I think it's important that after you do that place exercise, we do a little bit of this grounding, to just notice yourself back in this room, or whatever room you may be in, and then, I'll invite you to try it at different times during your week, in between now and when you come back, and then let me know what you noticed out there, doing it.

Ryan Van Wyk: Okay.

Jamie Marich: Is there anything else you feel you may need to help you really get there, when I'm not here, doing the exercise with you?

Ryan Van Wyk: No, I think just sort of pairing those words with sort of the body sensation, and just sort of…Like, even just as I brought my hand to my chest, there was—

Jamie Marich: I noticed that, too, yeah.

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah, there was sort of a sense that that would help me kind of allow myself to settle in more—

Jamie Marich: Beautiful.

Ryan Van Wyk: …physically, as well, so…

Jamie Marich: Yeah, so I think "Be here, now," is a nice wording cue, and this is a nice somatic, or body-based cue for you.

Ryan Van Wyk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jamie Marich: All right, thank you Ryan.

Ryan Van Wyk: Yeah, thank you.