BILATERAL RESOURCES FOR PREPARATION, STABILIZATION, AND SELF-CARE
I often am asked about bilateral music or narratives that might assist in EMDR therapy preparation and stabilization or for self care for clients and clinicians. This post addresses options and makes recommendations for use of these valuable resources. There are others, I am sure, and I’d be happy to add them to this list in future.
First, some guidelines for using bilateral resources with clients. Remember the power of BLS! I srongly recommend and always demonstrate the various bilateral resources with every client in my office first. I do this to test out how they react so that I can monitor impact as well as for them to decide what they might prefer. If they have one they really like, I share how to purchase it for themselves. Clients seem to strongly prefer either the verbally guided bilateral narrative or the no words techno/music.
In session with clients I have utilized bilateral resources to close down incomplete sessions, for self-care for those clients I know can stay in the present when stimulated by BLS. Some clients can't sustain state change, too easily moving into negative maladaptively stored memories. We need to know that as we choose resources for preparation and stabilization in EMDR therapy.
I often have encouraged consultees and colleagues to use bilaterial resources at the end of their clincial day for self-care. I wish in my long career that I would have done this more often! As one of my favorite old quotes states, however, you can “Take my advice, I’m not using it.” As another colleague puts it ‘We need to take out the garbage' at the end of our day, so we can transition more easily to our home and personal lives.
I will start with Bryan Cumming, whose album cover is shown above. This is a series of tracks of beautiful bilateral music created by a Nashville musician and husband of EMDR therapist Holly Cumming LPS. I first recommended his work several years ago through Roy Kiessling’s recommendation. Bryan's work is soothing guitar and instrumental music combined with waterfalls, rain and other sounds that you might find in other bilateral relaxation resources.
Now there is an update of his resources, an expansion of downloadable and CD choices, including individual tracts with specific areas of focus. These are all designed to assist the EMDR community's mission of trauma recovery and healing. An update of his work can be found at his wife’s website Healing Frequencies Music. Check this out and even get a free song download at http://www.hollycumminglpc.com/
I have used, loved and even sold out of the original Cumming’s CDs provided to me through Roy. but also used and recommend other bilateral music for resourcing and self care. I like these various resources for differing reasons. A favorite for some time, now available to download for Apple and Android, is Mark Grant's Calm and Confident available through iTunes or Amazon. This is an ongoing talk/music meditation resource narrated in a delightful Australian accent. It's nice to have someone 'talk through' the process of strengthening adaptive neuronetworks in a relaxing way. Clients and clinicians who prefer a soothing narrative are particularly drawn to this positive and uplifting resource. This became a top self care resource for several colleagues.
Another of my favorites of Mark Grant’s work is the bilateral ‘Pain Control with EMDR’ presentation. You can see his website Overcoming Pain for full discussion and more application. This is excellent for self help in managing pain for clients prepared to use it effectively. It’s a companion to the EMDR therapist manual of the same title and also found on Amazon. It’s a particularlhy valuable and timelh resource now given the risks associated with medicated pain management and the lack of pain management clinics available to those suffering from chronic or highly distressing pain.
I also love Grant’s Anxiety Release Based on EMDR, available through iTunes now as well as Amazon. This has separate narrative tracks, includes a bilateral version for installing Safe Place. This track should particularly be used with caution with clients unable to access a safe place or who believe ‘it’s not safe to b safe.” That’s why the EMDR community has expanded the name of that vital resource to Peaceful, Calm or Happy Place. It could be unnecessarily activating for these clients rather than releasing their anxiety. The separate tracks give segments of narration rather than the ongoing meditative script of Calm and Confident. He has recentlhy added ‘Sleep Restore with EMDR’ found at https://sleeprestoreapp.com/who-is-mark-grant/.
David Grand's Biolateral resources were the first I used with clients. His work can be accessed at his website http://biolateral.com. I found clients who prefer sound and music rather than words chose his bilateral approach above others. David is an internationally known EMDR therapist who appeared on Shapiro's early Looking through Mirrors DVD demonstration of EMDR. Currently he is developer and teacher of Brainspotting. He has Brainspotting: BioLateral Sound Healing available as a downloadable app . His bilateral CD's were first developed in the 90's for the EMDR commjnity. My favorite remains 'the Best of Bilateral', still available on the website, which has different tracks appealing to different people. I had one client who listened to the 'oceanic sounds' track every night for sleep and only liked that segment!
Jan Schaad, am EMDR Institute Trainer and colleague of mine, often uses Hemi-Sync https://hemi-sync.com binaural beats for resourcing. This calms the unconscious mind thru bilateral music and sound stimulation. There are many apps now available through iTunes or android resources for use in stress management and relaxation as additional resources.
I trust this assists you in adding or expanding your use of the power of bilateral stimulation in your healing work.
Bonnie Mikelsoin LISW
Director, EMDR & Beyond LLC
Bonnie the Blogger