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PROFESSIONAL LIMITATIONS. INSECURITIES. TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES.
What is it? What can it help with? What's the research?
What iS EMDR?
AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
It might first be important to explain what trauma is. When the average person thinks of the word "trauma", they may think of a combat veteran struggling with PTSD or someone recovering from another violent experience. While these are part of what the word trauma refers to, it is really so much more. The word trauma just means "wound", and we can think of it psychologically that way too. Anything that has wounded, stuck with you, or in anyway limited your ability to live out your full potential or be your full self is some form of trauma.
Most of us have experienced many many traumas throughout our lives. For example, something someone said in third grade that has contributed to how you think about yourself to this day. Or maybe a time you really needed a parent to hear you and they didn't. Our beliefs about ourselves are co-created with the world around us and how it treats us. Traumatic experiences leave us with strong beliefs about ourselves that feel like truths. These beliefs can make us respond with fear, avoidance, anger, or sadness. This can limit us from taking important risks, because we don't believe in ability to succeed. It can make us take on more than we should because we feel overly responsible. Or it can rob us of our ability to feel loved and worthy in relationships. These are all examples of what is often referred to as "insecurities". EMDR helps to target those insecurities directly. The cool thing about EMDR is that it doesn't come with a ton of homework or involve visiting the same topic again and again. We actually process the experience in a way that lets your brain LET IT GO. EMDR is designed to allow you to disconnect the emotion and beliefs about yourself from the experience that created it.
EMDR is an evidence based (well researched) therapy that uses a combination of neuroscience and traditional talk techniques. It involves something called bilateral stimulation, which can usually be achieved over Telehealth by watching an image on a screen (during certain parts of the process) as you talk to your therapist. This helps the brain to process information more easily, take in new information better, and confront memories you might not otherwise be able to confront without feeling overwhelmed. It is not like hypnosis, you are awake and in control throughout the process, but better able to let your own brain go where it needs to in order to heal.
What CAN IT HELP with ?
What kinds of things is it used for?
EMDR is not just for PTSD. While it targets traumatic experiences, it can be used for a number of different issues. Here are some common issues we use EMDR for:
Professional Issues: High stress, nervousness, procrastination, limiting thoughts or fears, fear of change, difficulty setting boundaries or work/life balance.
Personal Relationship Issues: Difficulty saying no, difficulty trusting, feeling alone, feeling disconnected from others, difficulty saying what you need to, fear of upsetting others, difficulty communicating.
Emotional Issues: Not feeling good enough, feeling anxious, experiencing lots of worry or fear, feeling lots of sadness, feeling lost or overwhelmed, experiencing insecurities, guilt, or difficulty getting though a loss.
Childhood Trauma: Experiencing a difficult relationship with a parent, experiencing abuse, experiencing the loss of a parent or close person, being around fighting or violence as a child, abrupt changes, being around drug use, having a parent that struggled with mental health issues, or any other experience that you believe still effects you in some way today.
Adult Trauma: Experiencing any sort of assault, abuse, disaster, violence, or otherwise stressful experience. This can also include difficult losses and pandemic related stress.
WHAT'S THE RESEARCH?
Articles & Info
The following links and videos are provided courtesy of EMDR International Association.
Shapiro, F. (2014, Winter). The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: Addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experience.
If anything here sounds familiar and you're wondering if counseling is the right step, I want to connect with you! Let's talk and see.
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