Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

It would be the rare person to get through life without experiencing some form of trauma. Trauma can be the big “T” trauma or even the little “t” trauma. Traumatic events can stay with us a lifetime if we don’t do something about them. It is sometimes said that trauma is a “time traveler.” It moves through our lives with us and is awakened by triggers that stimulate the emotions and body sensations of the original trauma. EMDR treatment cannot erase the trauma, but it can help take the emotional charge out of the memory.

Sometimes traumatic events result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Events such as combat experiences, rape, and childhood molestation, domestic violence, are among the traumas that bring clients to treatment. There are other kinds of events that may stay with us throughout our lives. Being bullied at school, suffering humiliation at the hands of a teacher or family member are small, but are memorable indignities that surface when we least expect it. These experiences can leave us traumatized as adults. EMDR is the go-to treatment for these painful memories.

EMDR treatment desensitizes the painful memory and prevents big emotional responses when these memories are triggered in our present life. EMDR takes the traumatic images and negative beliefs about ourselves and works to desensitize them, replacing them with more positive beliefs and images that don’t elicit a highly-charged response. In essence, we take a trauma memory/Maladaptive Memory Network and create an Adaptive Memory Network.

This process is just one targeted trauma memory. Sometimes we have more complex trauma memories. The EMDR work will then be a matter of targeting each trauma memory. The good news is some targeted memories will be covered by work on one trauma memory. During the process, we will work on finding a calm place/calm state so that you will be able to self-soothe. We will also do a protocol to “beef up” your confidence.

Even if difficult things have happened to you, there is hope and a path to finding peace in your life. I encourage you to do something about it now, so that past traumas don’t continue to affect your present life.

The 8 phase of EMDR

Collecting Client History
Identify trauma targets

Describe EMDR process to the client, Establish Calm Place/Calm State, Beef up personal confidence/stability

Identify the target memory image, personal negative belief about self, level of personal disturbance, what positive belief you’d like to have and how true is it. Also in this phase look into emotional and physical sensations surrounding target memory.

Desensitize the target memory. Reduce the level of disturbance.

Install the positive belief.

Body Scan
Search the body for any stuck points and work on eliminating them.

Find some level of closure on targeted memory.

Check in on subsequent sessions to confirm that target memory is completely desensitized. Look for new targets are unresolved.