I’m focusing this week on some of the useful therapeutic tools I have learned over the years that I find helpful in my practice. Today, two questions that I learned while training as an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) Practitioner. EMDR is an approach that enables clients to free themselves from things from the past that constrain them or cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, intense emotions and panic responses, and stuck limiting beliefs about self.
When processing using the EMDR approach, practitioners are many times in a session called to check in on what the client is experiencing, right here, right now. Two of the questions that can do this are to ask ‘and what are you aware of?’ and ‘and what are you noticing (now)?’
Both questions enquire about the present moment, and check what is arising in the client’s system. They don’t direct the client to any particular place, they assume only a consciousness that is aware, or noticing.
The responses to these questions are as varied as the clients who come into therapy. A client may be drawn to any of their senses, to their thinking, to their internal representations, to something in their environment...there are so many ways in which they may respond.
These are useful questions to ask in any therapeutic encounter, not just in one where trauma processing is taking place. They are also great questions to ask yourself anytime you want to reflect, and go deeper into yourself. So, as you go about your day, why not check in sometimes, and ask yourself - what am I aware of? What am I noticing? You might be surprised how much is there when you pause for a moment to be with it.