Patient Benefits of Super Resourcing

Twelve Benefits

There are numerous benefits of using Super Resourcing for attachment repair.  The procedural steps of Super Resourcing are designed to neurologically integrate positive sensations, emotions, and cognitions in that it maximizes the development of new and more positive neural networks.  Wounded parts are invited into and healed within the potentiated resourced field. The integrated internalization of positive resources facilitates an enhanced present-time experience of self. More fully resourced clients are better able to tolerate doing deep trauma work. Resolving the attachment wound interwoven in a trauma unfixes it in the client’s psyche and it processes more easily during subsequent sessions.  A systemic experience of well-being allows dissociation and fragmentation to heal and an experience of present-time wholeness becomes possible.

1.  Attachment vs. Trauma Focus

EMDR is primarily trauma, dysregulation, and distress-focused.  Attachment repair may be included as an aspect of EMDR.  This is evident in Shapiro’s inclusion of establishing and testing the efficacy of the Safe Place as part of the preparatory phase of EMDR.  At its core, however, no matter how many attachment features are added, EMDR was conceived and developed for resolving trauma.

In contrast, SR is not trauma / distress focused.  It is designed solely as a resource modality, intended to address and heal attachment wounds.  With SR, the clinician attends to the person who experienced the trauma rather than the trauma itself.  When activation of the attachment wound has been lowered or resolved, frequently, there will be a corresponding lowering of Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUDS) in relation to the trauma.  A well-resourced client experiences an enhanced state of well-being and a present-time embodiment of wholeness.

As Janice wrote at the close of a series of SR sessions:

“You know, I feel so strong inside now, and I have my voice back.  I know who I am.  I don’t really care anymore about what my father did to me.  I mean, it was wrong and it always will be wrong, but I just don’t care anymore.  It’s kind of crazy, but even though he is dead, it’s like he was haunting me and I was living like he was always abusing me.  It’s finally over, and I can get on with my life.  I can be who I was meant to be.  I thought we were going to have to go into the abuse; that scared me, and I didn’t want to do it.  I was so relieved that I could get over it without having to go into it.  That was amazing.”

2.  Neurological Embodiment of Resources

The Procedural Steps of SR are designed to create a comprehensive positive resource field for healing and attachment repair.  Shapiro developed Safe Place to be used as a resource for the client as needed during an EMDR session. Shirley Jean Schmidt added additional resource figures: Nurturing, Protective, and Wise Figures and others to be called forth as needed.  SR is a further development of EMDR.

The Procedural Steps of SR are designed to create a comprehensive positive resource field for healing and attachment repair. Each of the four (or more) resources, i.e. Peaceful Place as well as Nurturing, Protective, and Wise figures are not simply called forth; each is potentiated by identifying and developing all three information storage forms – positive sensation, positive emotion, and positive cognition.  Beyond individually developing each resource, a Meta Field is created in which each resource is linked to the prior one.  As a result, an all-inclusive positive field is strategically crafted and integrated neurologically.

3.  Enhanced Present Time Experience of Self

The integrated internalization of resources facilitates an enhanced present-time experience of self.  More fully resourced clients are better able to tolerate doing deep trauma work; resolving the attachment wound interwoven in a trauma unfixes it in the client’s psyche and it processes more easily during subsequent EMDR sessions.  The work goes more smoothly.  Interweaves and interventions are frequently not necessary.  There is less occurrence of resistance, dissociation, looping, or stuck processing.  When these appear in a session, it is a cry for help from a distressed part of the psyche, i.e. what is happening is too much or too scary and coping mechanisms have been overwhelmed.  The part is in survival mode and shuts down the processing in order to protect itself.  

This phenomenon confirms the value in developing a protocol that focuses on the client’s compromised inner parts and their needs – a protocol in which the parts feel no urgency to resort to coping strategies.  Instead, a protocol that creates the optimal healing environment in which un-resourced parts feel safe to come out of hiding and express their needs becomes an optimal healing environment that promotes the development of their vitality, stability, and ego strength.

4.  Developing a New Narrative

Super Resourcing lays a strong foundation for subsequent EMDR work.  Well-resourced clients are more willing and able to explore challenging places they may not have been willing to explore before, as well as to feel things they may not have been able to feel before.  They develop a more reliable and more resilient belief about themselves and their ability to heal.

This more positive personal narrative has a beneficial effect in all areas of their lives.  So often with attachment-based trauma, clients constellate their experience of themselves around their trauma; it becomes a defining touchstone in their psyche.  When trauma is resolved, some clients experience a loss of identity.  Their experience of the empty space where the trauma sensations, emotions, cognitions, flashbacks, etc. used to reside is perceived as disorienting and sometimes disturbing.  Some clients unconsciously choose to cling to their trauma as an identity marker rather than face the disequilibrium that comes from that change.

A client, at this juncture in her EMDR therapy, exclaimed: “If I am not that person constantly scanning my environment for danger as if something bad was just about to happen, what will I do with myself?  Who am I?”

Sustaining therapeutic gains is more challenging when the gain itself is destabilizing.  SR frontloads new positive identity markers, and consequently, the transition out of the trauma vortex is not as disquieting.

5.  SR is Time-Efficient

Like EMDR, SR is time-efficient.  In the words of Francine Shapiro, “Adaptive Information Processing with Bilateral Stimulation results in Rapid Free Association and a beneficial processing of the target moment for the session.”  While the theoretical underpinnings are the same for both modalities, SR distinguishes itself from EMDR in that SR is more time-efficient because it directs therapeutic attention toward building a new positive matrix rather than deconstructing a negative one.

Additionally, imagination and positive imagery have the potential to create new neural connections which result in new perspectives on old events.  Consequently, during a SR session, symptoms related to the trauma are less likely to get activated.  Sessions tend to go more smoothly.  Healing takes place on a neurological level, and the client experiences more resolution with less need for interweaves and interventions.  SR capitalizes on a fundamental and inherent human desire for healing and freedom.  After all, it is easier and quicker to swing with the current of a river than against it.

6.  Transforming Disturbance in the Positive Resourced Field

Shapiro and other EMDR innovators who have adapted Phase Two of EMDR,  Resource Installation, recommend short sets of BLS so that trauma and / or developmental networks do not get unduly activated prior to the EMDR session.  Whether SR is used as a preparatory phase of EMDR or as a standalone protocol, longer sets of continuous BLS are utilized.  Consequently, as Shapiro and others have accurately predicted, disturbance frequently does surface.  Rather than viewing this as an undesirable occurrence, however, any disturbance is welcomed.  Using Ego State Psychology, the distressed part of the client is identified and brought into the positive potentiated resource field for attachment repair.  Needs are acknowledged, and healing resources are neurologically installed; each resource is Super Resourced.

According to neurological research, the brain does not differentiate between real and imagined.  Developing a Super Resourced positive matrix allows parts who have experienced significant developmental / attachment repair to better tolerate the distressing feelings, thoughts, and sensations that may emerge.

This points to one of the underlying principles of SR.  As clinicians, we’re taught to track pain, fear, anger, and sadness; we learn techniques to encourage our clients to talk about and express what ails them.  SR, on the other hand, is about tracking strength and positivity.  For some clinicians, this is an enormous paradigm shift and the transition may come slowly. The pathological focus of psychological training creates a tendency toward working within a negative framework. It takes time to shift perspective toward client strengths and talents and to work with people through that lens.

Often, trauma-based EMDR may never be indicated.  Clients heal without trauma immersion.

7.  Stabilization and Integration of Structurally Dissociated Parts

In more extreme cases of neglect and trauma, structural dissociation occurs.  Babies and young children have immature nervous systems and rely on caretakers to help regulate their needs and disturbances.

There are two kinds of regulation:

    1. Interactive regulation: Being soothed by others
    2. Auto-regulation: Soothing oneself

Chronologically, the first precedes the second; being adequately soothed by others provides the foundation for learning how to soothe oneself.  In the absence of interactive regulation, the child must find their own way to cope, and structural dissociation is the most common solution.

SR does not reconstitute the trauma vortex.  Consequently, these dissociated parts feel safer to emerge (or be invited) into the positive resourced field for stabilization and healing.  The missed developmental stage of interactive regulation may be creatively imagined and neurologically installed in order to provide the experience of loving care and safety.  This allows fragmented parts to reintegrate and orient in present time.  As the clinician, SR supports the client in creating an environment in which interactive regulation is taking place.  The clinician’s genuine interest, inquiries, repetition of the client’s words, and mirroring help supply the missing developmental stage.  SR is also designed to encourage self-regulation and the development of self-soothing in order to maintain optimal arousal as well as sustain gains.

8.  Applicable to a Wide Range of Clients

Typically, SR with clients can take anywhere from one session to many months or years, depending upon the depth of attachment wounding and the fragility of the client’s ego.  Extended SR is particularly important for highly traumatized clients who have requested EMDR work and the clinician’s assessment is that they are too dysregulated and do not have the ego strength necessary for a positive outcome.

A common question asked by consultees is, “How do I tell a client that they are not ready for EMDR in a way that does not make them feel bad about themselves?”  Rather than telling the client that they are not ready (which may indeed have a negative impact on their already tenuous self-esteem), SR is offered as an EMDR-based resource protocol and may be presented as such.  For this reason, SR is designed to be clinically sound with a wider range of clients.  Its focus on developing positive neurological networks becomes empowering for the client and fosters a more natural “buy-in” to the therapeutic process.  Dysregulation and / or resistance are less likely to occur.

SR is also an effective alternative healing modality with clients for whom trauma-based EMDR may never be indicated.  For clients who tend to flood or dissociate, or for those who experience challenges in processing trauma material, it is recommended to use very short sets of BLS or not use BLS at all.  By remaining attentive to the client’s state of hyperarousal or hypoarousal, the clinician can help ensure an effective healing experience.

Soon after the introduction of BLS, the clinician learns whether the client processes material quickly or slowly, or whether they are a linear processor (likely to remain in one neural network) or a tangential processor (likely to activate multiple networks).  This positions the clinician to better navigate the time management aspect of sessions and to formulate a therapeutic plan tailored to the client’s processing style.

9.  Subjective to Objective Memory

In her book, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (1995), when discussing trauma, Shapiro differentiates subjective and objective orientation.  Parnell further expanded this concept by noting that EMDR frequently results in a shift from subjective to objective memory.  This phenomenological shift also occurs in SR: once a client is fully resourced, their perspective on the disturbing event evolves from a subjective personal narrative to a more objective, reality-based narrative; it is a very different psychological constellation to say, “It happened to me,” vs. “It happened.”  In a place of relative objective neutrality, the client is less likely to project the past onto the future.  A stronger reality orientation results in a lowering of disturbance on past events.

10.  Supports Maintaining Optimal Arousal

Greater and more reliable access to resources supports self-regulation and maintaining optimal arousal in that the frontal cortex is more likely to stay online.  The frontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for clear, balanced perception.  It is the place of witnessing ego.  During hypoarousal (too little energy) and hyperarousal (too much energy), the frontal cortex goes offline.  Maintaining optimal arousal is necessary for healing old memories and developmental wounds as well as for the integration of new information.  Maintaining optimal arousal in the face of challenging life moments is therefore more naturally possible.  Clients are better able to respond to situations, rather than react.

11.  More Access to Positive Neural Networks

More fully potentiated positive neural networks are developed through SR.  During subsequent EMDR sessions when clients enter an activated trauma network, they have more natural access to resources as they were developed in an Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) manner and are fully neurologically installed.  This access to resources supports self-regulation and maintaining optimal arousal.  Clients frequently report that the empowerment they experience in sessions generalizes into many other areas of their lives.  SR invites the restoration of hope and optimism.

Often, in an EMDR session when processing slows down, gets stuck, or loops, the clinician may do an interweave to get the session moving again.  The most common interweave is some version of, “Who or what could help?”  Resources obtained in the traditional EMDR fashion rarely become the response to that question; they were obtained before the network was fully lit up and were therefore not fully installed.  Resources that have been developed in a SR fashion are more readily accessible because they are more deeply integrated into the client’s psyche.  Neurologically installed resources become a corrective emotional experience for wounded parts and provide not only easier access to the positive matrix but also have more lasting power over time.  A client is more likely to call on a fully SR-installed resource when asked, “Who or what could help?” It is also interesting to note that clinicians have more immediate and reliable recall of client’s resources over time.

In the face of a client’s intense distress and suffering, seasoned trauma clinicians have developed a variety of techniques to stay responsive rather than becoming reactive.  They reliably don’t lapse into counter-transference.  There is less need for this wholesome, protective mechanism in a Super Resourcing session.  In the face of the delight expressed by the client when creating a positive field in which attachment wounded parts can truly heal, clients are enlivened, and by extension, so is the clinician.  To this end, many clinicians who regularly use SR express the personal benefits of the modality in comments like, my body relaxes, my heart softens, and I feel rejuvenated by client sessions. In short, being in the presence of profound healing within a positive potentiated matrix creates well-being for everyone in the room. 

12.  Client-Centered and Empowering

Super Resourcing is client-centered and offers a corrective healing environment for healing attachment wounds.  In doing so, SR is empowering.  It supports the development of the client’s own imagination for creative solutions to distress.  It supports the strengthening of resilience and encourages innate potential to become more manifest.  A more pervasive experience of well-being becomes possible when previously disavowed or fragmented parts of the self are more fully healed and integrated.  The client develops the ability to reside in the present time and to better face and navigate the inevitable challenges of life.  An experience of present-time wholeness and authenticity becomes possible.  Clients experience a restoration of choice, hope, and optimism.