2024 EMDR trainings now open – only a few spaces left!

Less Is More

November 1, 2023

He’s “resisting.” “She’s difficult.” “She’s not willing enough.” Whether one is saying such things to describe a client, friend, loved one, co-worker, or even our animal partners, the message is still the same. There is no consideration of why the block is there, or an effort to understand it, but instead, in service to our staying locked into an outcome, a goal, we might approach it without mindfulness and curiously to what is happening. 

It’s like when I would get stuck with trailering, and folks would tell me “Well, it’s not about the trailer, Sarah.” Well, yes, that’s clear, and thank you, but can you help me see what it is about?” “Well, no, you just need to make her.” It became about adding more pressure, more drive, or even increasing pressure. Funny enough, it wasn’t until a mentor kindly invited me to consider that it was about forward, that the fog cleared, and we sorted out our patterns. I had gotten locked into a perspective, and as a result, got stuck in one view, only. Instead of doing more, I needed to do less, but also know actually what I was focusing on, with clarity. 

We do this in all of our relationships perhaps. We think more pressure gets us somewhere, we think we have to only stick to our preconceived agenda. “If I scream, she might hear me better.” “If I don’t ask directly, but just skirt the issue without clarity, maybe he will read my mind.” “I think she should act this way.” “I want it to be a certain way.”

And, in our service to that “goal,” we then “think” we solve the problem by dialing up the level of pressure. The catch is, that we then have to “up the ante” next time, and whomever we are doing that “to” gets numb to it, because we have missed and, yet again, blasted through without consideration of the subtleties. We have missed the expressions of concern and worry that perhaps our clients, our loved ones, and our animal partners, have presented. We have missed the invitation to learn “why” the block, the “resistance,” or the function of it, or “why” that wasn’t the best moment for adding pressure, as opposed to backing off a bit. 

So, the question for us in those moments is to pay attention to what our energy feels like. Go internal. Is my internal energy and the feeling inside of me one of bracing, getting harder, and am I carrying more tension? Am I bracing inside myself seemingly in response to what my loved one is presenting, my client is doing or saying, or the interaction in this moment? If we check our internal experience, to see if we are bracing, perhaps we can just reduce the pressure we are adding to the situation, get more clarity, and perhaps reset this “difficult moment” that we find ourselves in. There might just be some release in there, some relief for ourselves, and those around us. Less might feel better than more, for all concerned.

We map our internal and external worlds in similar ways, as did my client in her traumatization. One can consider that our current mapping may be based on old data, old, outdated maps, and unprocessed traumatic material.
Our capacity to fully express who we truly are, underneath it all, gets withheld, and we can find ourselves feeling lost, but primarily to ourselves. We forget that we are what we are looking for.
I am always so grateful when I get to see how excited new EMDR therapists are to complete their EMDR Training. When I first got trained, I had no idea the trajectory EMDR Therapy would take me on, personally and professionally. Years later, my practice still is focused on working with complex trauma, I provide consultation, intensives, and additional support for therapists seeking to increase their confidence in working with complex trauma.
Just as perhaps no one sees and knows what it is like for our clients, we therapists, as ghost responders, may experience a parallel process.
We might not be aware of what is behind us, but it can still certainly influence our day-to-day lives and relationships.