Are You Struggling To Overcome The Pain Of The Past?
When you feel as if you can’t move on from something, it leaves you feeling stuck. Does it seem as if every step you take is three back from where you want to be?
For many people, this is the reality of their present and future after a traumatic experience. Anyone, for whatever reason, can experience something that is traumatic to them. Whether from abuse, witnessing crimes, or even a car accident, trauma is something that many people experience throughout their lifetimes.
Feeling traumatized isn’t a choice; rather, it’s the body's response to highly distressing events or situations. These events can leave you with a number of symptoms including:
Fears or phobias
Some people are able to move on from their traumatic experiences and not be affected by them. However, other people find it more difficult to move on. This doesn’t mean that there is something broken with them or wrong, though. Our brains are complicated, after all.
Traumatic experiences are stored differently in our brains. When something really stressful is happening, our brains will try to protect us by almost shutting down. It seems helpful, at first, right? But this doesn’t mean we aren’t experiencing the event. As the situation is over, we are often left with fragmented pieces of what happened. Or, when we do remember them, they aren’t remembered in full detail.
Because of that, processing the traumatic experience is not always the easiest. They are processed and stored not only as memories but also alter how we see ourselves and the world around us.
For some people, traditional talk therapy is enough to work through the pain of the past; whereas others will still struggle with it. Thankfully, there is a type of therapy that can help people who haven’t found traditional therapy methods useful.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR Therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing was specifically discovered as a way to reprocess traumatic events and to help those experiencing PTSD symptoms.
During one of our sleep stages, REM, scientists discovered that this is the sleep stage where we process memories the most. During this stage of sleep, our eyes rapidly move back and forth as it recalls specific memories of the past. Using this science, eye movement therapy is used when someone is awake to reprocess painful memories of the past.
Working with a counsellor specifically trained in EMDR, a client will be guided with specific bilateral eye movements as they recall a painful memory. Although this may sound like a scientific experiment at first, it’s a non-invasive and one of the safest ways for someone to work through past events.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
There are eight phases to EMDR treatment. That doesn’t mean there are only eight sessions for EMDR. Depending on the client and the situation, each phase of EMDR may involve at least a few sessions. While EMDR is a time commitment, it is still quicker for people to help them through trauma, PTSD, anxiety, or depression.
Phases Of EMDR Treatment
1. History Taking
This phase involves the therapist and client discussing why they feel EMDR Therapy would be useful for them. This is also the phase where a dedicated treatment plan is developed.
2. Preparation & Explanation
During this phase, the process of how EMDR Therapy works is explained. During this time, clients are encouraged to ask any questions or raise concerns about their therapy plan.
The assessment phase is when the memory or event that needs to be reprocessed is identified. Here is where the client can feel free to share any thoughts, feelings, beliefs or sensations they experienced during that they remember.
Phases 4, 5 & 6
These three stages are when the reprocessing begins. Using eye movement therapy, clients are guided with specific eye movements, sounds, or tapping as the memory is recalled.
It may seem as if phase 7 starts right after phase 6. However, that isn’t the case. Phase 7 is actually conducted as a closure stage after each of the reprocessing phases. This is to help return the mind to a calm state.
Phase 7 is done at the end of each phase. Phase 8, alternatively, is actually done at the beginning of each of those phases. Known as the reevaluation phase, this is where the previous phases are discussed to determine the success of each. Then, a change of treatment plan can be discussed depending on how the client feels.
EMDR Therapy is one of the most empowering and efficient treatment options out there. Most importantly, EMDR is one of the least invasive therapy options for treating trauma, anxiety, or depression. This level of safety is important after the level of stress the body has been forced to endure.
It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since you went through the traumatic experience. Healing is always possible and I would be honored if you would let me help you to feel safe and whole again. My main goal as an EMDR therapist is to help my clients reach a point where they no longer feel confined by the past. Connect me with me soon to get started.