For many people, working on our trauma is scary. The idea of reliving the most terrifying experience can make us stuck – even want to run away from ever thinking about it again. When we’re overwhelmed by the past, it can be hard to look into the future and see a successful outcome. Often our trauma is stored in our body, mind and beliefs, which affect our family, relationships and school/work life. Let’s make this process less intimidating and scary.
One way to help process our trauma is through EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It involves having both sides of the brain become regulated through eye movement, tapping, brushing and other bi-lateral movements. from the outside without the overwhelming feelings and thoughts inside.
It may sound scary to be asked to re-visualize a trauma experience, but the process of EMDR allows us to replay the movie without feeling the overwhelming thoughts and feeling. In fact, a large part of EMDR is setting the client up to have skills to bring these uncomfortable emotions to a manageable level before we ever start dealing with the trauma.
EMDR allows our brain to process in a safe, effective and gentle way…but talking about that trauma can still be scary! By incorporating play and sandtray therapy, we can “see” our experiences. For more information about how EMDR work, skip to the bottom of the page.
EMDR is one of the Trauma Focused therapies offered at Berger Counseling Services. We are trained in incorporating these services into our on-going therapy program. If you would like to learn more about EMDR services and how it might help with trauma, reach out today.
After a terrifying or life-threatening event may trigger PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). When someone has PTSD, they may experience a host of unwanted thoughts and feelings. These experiences may include flashbacks, nightmares or be startled by everyday sounds which may bring them back to their trauma experiences. Some people with PTSD feel like the event occurred just a moment ago - even when it was months or years in the past.
When we experience trauma, our brain's filing system categorizes the events. These are linked to thoughts, sounds, smells and sensations. For a example, a person with PTSD might smell burnt toast and it triggers a full-on reliving of domestic violence. Or a car might backfire and a retired Marine might hit the ground, re-experiencing a perilous mission.
Often people have a very negative belief or thought associated with the experience. They might believe "I'll always be a failure," "I am unworthy of love and respect," or "I am powerless to change." You can imagine if they held that belief, they might have difficulty with relationships, self-care, addiction and abuse.
This be incredibly difficult to live with, as you can imagine. EMDR allows a trained therapist to help change the linking of sights, smells, tastes to the trauma experience. Another aspect is the change in the underlying negative belief system that can be so dis-empowering.