The anniversary of a hurricane or other disaster can provide an important opportunity to review a client’s gains as well as process reactions to the disaster, continue to work through grief responses, and collaborate to cope with unhelpful reactions ahead of time. Anniversary reactions that are more intense may require more targeted treatments for trauma, anxiety, or other significant symptoms.
As I write this, the truth is that I am tired. The truth is also that I am having a lovely day. Yes, there have been some hard moments, but there have also been some beautiful moments. I am not failing today; I am living. It is not a bad day. It is a nuanced day.
Since the pandemic started earlier this year, I’ve found myself in the interesting position of not only using theme hints to establish common language between myself and my individual clients, but in using the SAME themes across different clients in order to navigate what seem to be very common concerns among the majority, if not the entirety, of my caseload: coping with an increased sense of isolation, anxiety related to the uncertainty of the future, an increasing sense of powerlessness regarding one’s circumstances, and the mind-numbing sameness of the day-to-day in this “new normal.”
When I introduce myself as a sex therapist to other mental health providers and professionals in the medical field, I get a mixed bag of reactions. Some respond with enthusiastic curiosity about the strangest cases I’ve worked with in the past. More often; however, I encounter providers who give me a sideways glance and mutter an uneasy, “Oh, that’s interesting.”
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed in the late 1980s as a psychological treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Shapiro, 1989). It was based on the observation that the intensity of traumatic memories can be reduced through eye movements.
A key aspect behind why MDMA is demonstrating effectiveness for the management and treatment of PTSD in a clinical setting, is its apparent ability to assist patients to be more expressive during a controlled psychotherapy session. MDMA appears to reduce anxiety associated with recalling traumatic experiences allowing for increased insight and memory. Negative memories are perceived as less negative allowing for the therapist and the patient to engage in productive therapeutic sessions without the patient becoming hyper-aroused due to stress.