Understanding Trauma

Most of the time, your body routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. However, when you are traumatized by an overwhelming event (such as a car accident) or are repeatedly subjected to distress (such as childhood abuse), your natural coping mechanisms can become overloaded. This overloading can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain or they remain "unprocessed”. Such unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the limbic system of your brain in an emotional form. These stored traumatic memories can be continually triggered when you experience events or emotions similar to the past experiences you have been through. The memory may often be long forgotten, but painful feelings, such as anxiety, panic, anger, or despair continue to be triggered in the present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can become inhibited. Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way.

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy technique that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols which incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages to relieve various types of psychological stresses. Below is a brief description of EMDR therapy.

The amount of time the complete treatment will take depends upon the history of the client. Complete treatment of the targets involves a three-pronged protocol (1-past memories, 2-present disturbance, 3-future actions). This protocol is useful to alleviate the symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process the experiences which are causing problems. In this context "processing" does not mean talking about it, "processing" refers to setting up a state which will allow negative experiences or memories to be stored appropriately within your brain. That means whatever is useful from a negative experience or memory will be learned and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded. The goal of EMDR is to leave you with the emotions, understanding, and perspectives that will lead to healthy and useful future behaviors and interactions.

What can EMDR help with?

Scientific research has established EMDR can be effective for post-traumatic stress. However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addictions
  • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Self harm

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