Trauma,  Wellness

EMDR Therapy for Trauma

So, what the heck is EMDR Therapy you might ask. It is hard to explain, but here I go.
EMDR is a psychotherapeutic approach that helps to reprocess traumatic memories and move them to long term memory. Research indicates that counseling is most effective when it incorporates both the left and right sides of the brain, and EMDR therapy does just that. It engages both sides of the brain, so we can address trauma and attachment wounds and the painful symptoms that they create. In addition, EMDR Therapy is a very effective method for enhancing skills and resources, such as confidence, relaxation, focus, and motivation and for strengthening internal resources.

When emotionally disturbing events have occurred in our lives, the brain is often unable to process the experience as it normally would. Instead, the negative thoughts and feelings of the traumatic event can get “trapped” in the nervous system, with all of the accompanying sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings. EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation – either through eye movements or other forms of gentle, rhythmic stimulation – which activates both sides of the brain, allowing for a release of painful emotional experiences from the nervous system.

Because traditional talk therapy typically accesses only the left side of the brain and trauma and attachment wounds are stored in the right side of the brain, it is not necessarily the most effective therapy for trauma processing. We all have an idea about what happens in talk therapy. We tell the counselor our problem, explore that situation together, and come up with solutions to help solve the problem. That’s the left brain at work. If we are lucky we will even have an “ah ha” moment. EMDR therapy shortens not only the discovery process, but, and this is important, the healing process.

So, then what? Well then, the client’s full brain is able to recognize what solutions will be the most beneficial for them. Instead of having a therapist, with all of our education and experience, offering ideas, the client’s own brain is given the opportunity to bypass its typical defenses and make itself accessible. EMDR therapists call this Adaptive Information Processing, and it is exactly what it sounds like.

You see, we human beings are pretty clever at developing maladaptive coping strategies to help us survive the effects of trauma, and to avoid the pain. Common ones would be; overworking, alcohol or drug abuse, relationship addiction, compulsive behaviors. We may have even tried talk therapy or prescription drugs, but only experienced partial or no relief, leaving us even more discouraged. Then we blame ourselves and create new maladaptive responses such as negative thinking (e.g., pessimism, catastrophizing) and self-defeating beliefs (e.g., I’m not good enough, I’m powerless). These strategies, rather than being helpful, can turn out to be significant sources of anxiety, depression, addiction, lack of motivation, anger and relationship problems. And it is for these symptoms we seek therapy.

The end result of EMDR Therapy is that instead of living with the symptoms, we will be able to feel calm, relaxed, present-centered, happier with a more positive outlook on life, capable of experiencing fulfilling and satisfying relationships, greater self-esteem and confidence, and finally, empowered to create positive change in our lives. Don’t just imagine. Call me now for further information.

“EMDR is proving to be the silicon chip of psychotherapy; it allows people to process incredible amounts of material in a shockingly short time.” – Michael Elkin,Ph.D. Director, Center for Collaborative Solutions

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