- Get overly excited or upset by seemingly ordinary experiences?
- Feel overwhelmed by life easily?
- You don’t seem to have very deep feelings about incidents in your life?
- You can’t remember parts of your life?
- You avoid certain types of people or experiences for fear you’ll get too upset?
- Feel that you aren’t like other people; you don’t get close to people easily.
If so, you may have suffered from traumatic experiences, and could benefit from psychotherapy to help you heal from your trauma.
“Trauma” has traditionally been defined as significant child abuse or sexual assault. However, with neuroscience developments and the ability to view how our brains process experiences, we’ve come to recognize the vulnerability and fragility of lesser types of “trauma” on the human ability to cope. Science now allows us to see how our brain stores memories and how traumatic incidents leave people with changes in their brain that prevent them from being able to handle current life experiences.
We now understand how experiences such as: growing up with an alcoholic or dysfunctional parent/sibling causes traumatic responses. Other traumas include: financial losses, health crisis of family members or self, accidents, divorce, high pressure workplace, witnessing abuse, experiencing unfortunate tragic events, loss of career successes, infertility/miscarriage and many other types of life experiences.
When we experience traumatic events/circumstances, it results in difficulties with emotional regulation. Emotional regulation is the ability to stay calm and centered when faced with normal life stressors.
Trauma treatment consists of many facets: exploring what happened to you, identifying your unique reactions to those traumatic experiences, realizing that your reactions are probably very human and normal (given your experience), learning to calm your nervous system whenever your nervous system becomes re-activated by triggers.
At Positive Self Center, we can help you…
- Learn to identify feelings related to your trauma
- Learn to cope more effectively with triggers
- Calm your nervous system so you don’t get so upset when thinking about traumatic events of your life
- Learn to utilize your feelings to positively navigate your life circumstances
- Live freely without going over and over your life experiences
- Lessen shame related to your past
Ultimately the goal is to live freely, without thought or concern about your past experiences.
Why use EMDR?
EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing, is an innovative, research-supported approach to psychotherapy for resolving disturbing and traumatic experiences, whether they occurred recently or decades ago. Survivors of natural disaster, combat, abuse, assault, accidents, chronic illness and other incidents of traumatic stress have all benefited from the skillful use of EMDR.
Many people have also found EMDR effective as a mind/body approach to treat a broad range of other emotional and physical conditions such as depression, anxiety, phobias and addiction. Others have used EMDR to enhance internal resources like self-confidence and determination, or to achieve peak performance in their professional or athletic endeavors.
What is EMDR?
Many types of therapy seek to resolve old trauma but EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information by accessing what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. In the late 1980s, Francine Shapiro, PhD, observed that eye movements could reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts under certain conditions. She initiated the scientific study of this effect, and in 1989 the Journal of Traumatic Stress first reported the success of EMDR in treating survivors of trauma. Since that time, therapists and researchers all over the world have contributed to its development and evolution.
Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols incorporating elements of many different treatment approaches. The standard EMDR protocol is an eight-phase treatment to address therapeutic goals by targeting past memories, current triggers, and future responses.
How does EMDR work?
There is no simple answer to how any particular psychotherapy works at the neurobiological or brain level. We do know, however, that when we are very upset, it overwhelms our usual ability to cope so that the brain does not process information as it normally does. Instead, the disturbing event—and our unique stress response to it—is stored in a network of associated memories and experiences.
The event becomes “frozen in time” because the brain has not been able to process the associated images, sounds, scents, feelings, and body sensations. When the memory network is triggered, all or part of the traumatic reaction can occur again and again, often with the same degree of intensity. Over time this kind of traumatic stress can have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way we perceive the world and how we relate to other people. This type of stress can also take its toll on our body’s ability to maintain physical health. Headaches, digestive problems, insomnia, pain, fatigue, lowered immunity, and other health issues often accompany unresolved trauma and loss.
In EMDR sessions, the eye movements support more adaptive processing in the memory network so that we no longer “relive” the event when we bring it to mind. We still remember what happened, but it disturbs us less in the present and we stay more connected to our inner strengths and resources.
Who practices EMDR?
Mental health professionals who have taken both Part 1 and Part 2 of an EMDRIA-approved training program are considered qualified to practice EMDR. Positive Self Center have EMDR trained clinicians on staff. When you call for your appointment let us know you are interested in EMDR.