So you've decided you want help with your grief and sadness, and you've booked your IADC therapy sessions. How can you ensure you get the most out of it? What can you do to prepare?
Well, there are a few key things you can do, to be prepared and maximize the benefits.
Tame your monkey mind
First, for people who have a bit of a 'monkey mind' (that is, they have lots of mental chatter, or are very analytical) it is good practice leading up to the sessions to spend just 5 minutes, a couple of times a day, simply 'observing'. Observing what you see, hear, feel, etc, without any analysis or judgement whatsoever. This is useful for being a receptive observer throughout the therapy process when required.
Anyone who is familiar with meditation or mindfulness is likely to naturally be good at observing any experience without judgement. Judging the process of IADC Therapy (for example, during or immediately after sets of eye movements) can get in the way of the 'processing' and can also interrupt the formation of an ADC. So, if you don't already do these things, it is a good idea to practice. It doesn't have to be in any formal way, just allocate 5 minutes, twice a day, to practice being a non-judgmental observer. Do it drinking a cup of tea, taking a shower, or going for a walk (for example). By training yourself to simply notice, observe, and accept your experience, you are training yourself to be ready for IADC Therapy.
Resolve ambivalence about your sadness
Some clients feel ambivalent about letting go of any sadness pertaining to their loss. For some people this is because they see their sadness and pain as a measure of the love they have for those they lost. They worry they might feel guilty if they didn't feel so sad, or that others might judge them, or sometimes they simply can't conceive of that sadness not being there so strong every day.
Some others see their grief as their connection to their loved one who died. They worry that if they didn't have the sadness, somehow they would be letting go of that connection. IADC Therapy aims to change the nature of that felt connection from being defined by the feeling of sadness, to instead be more defined by a feeling of love, peacefulness, and other positive emotions (and less sadness). For some people this is hard to imagine when every day is defined by terrible sadness, but it is worth considering your openness / willingness for that to change.
Ask yourself if you are ready to accept feeling less sad. If you cry every day, would you be comfortable if the crying stopped? This might seem like a strange question, but it is an important one. It is understandable that this ambivalence exists: on one hand we don't want the pain of grief, but on the other hand, the emotional intensity can feel like a way of connecting to the person who died. IADC Therapy aims to directly reduce the sadness associated with the loss.
Trust the process
You do not have to believe in IADC for it to work. But, if you decide to have IADC Therapy, it is good to let yourself be absorbed in the experience as much as possible without questioning the mechanics of it. Sadness can reduce dramatically between sets of eye movement, and clients sometimes look for a spurious explanation:
CLIENT: "I was blocking it"
THERAPIST: "Were you trying to actively block the sadness?"
CLIENT: "No, but I must have been, because I don't feel any sadness right now"
Sometimes clients will analyze how or why the therapy is changing their emotions, but this analysis can also inhibit its effectiveness. IADC Therapy works by using the natural healing power of the brain, in much the same way as EMDR therapy can dramatically reduce the fear associated with traumatic stressors. It is not a cognitive or behavioural therapy, it is focused on processing emotion. In the case of grief, we focus on sadness.
If you go into your sessions armed with these tips, you are in the best position to get the most out of it.