Holding space so you can have the capacity to safely remember
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was originally developed in 1991 by Dr. Francine Shapiro for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but is now used in a wide application of clinical problems. As humans sometimes we experience Trauma (with a capital T) – the big stuff: natural disasters, war exposure, rape, severe abuse, shootings, bombings, cataclysmic and life threatening events. Most times humans experience trauma (with a lowercase t) – the subtle, day-to-day impactful things that our brain is forced to store. This trauma remains unprocessed and fragmented in the brain, so much that it is avoided (sometimes repressed) but our mind is aware that the memory is there, waiting to be triggered and the flash of the experience is re-lived all over again causing pain and distress. EMDR is a therapeutic technique in which the client and his/her trusted clinician work through the trauma by utilizing a series of rapid eye movements. By doing these eye movement series the client can begin to store the memory in a new part of the brain where it is accepted, acknowledged, and will no longer cause distress. This concept is similar to the experience we have at night when our brain goes into REM sleep, that is where our eyes flutter as our brain moves information from one stage of processing to the next.
Time does not Heal All Wounds
In a study conducted in 2014 by the World Health Organization on trauma it was concluded that without treatment (either CBT or EMDR) the person who has experienced trauma will not be able to resolve the issue. The amazing thing about our brain’s is the concept of neuroplasticity, we have the capacity to heal our brains. We cannot change the past or take away the experience but together we can safely shift the relationship you have with this traumatic memory.
Adaptive Information Processing
According to Francine Shapiro, PhD the basis for EMDR is designed behind the concept of “psychological self-healing… For instance, when you cut your hand, your body works to close and heal the wound. If something blocks the healing, such as a foreign object or repeated trauma, the wound will fester and cause pain. If the block is removed, healing will resume.” Our brain intuitively wants to return to stasis and heal, EMDR removes the block and allows the brain to metabolise information smoothly.
Process and Expectations
As with any therapy there can be risks, in my professional and personal opinion the benefits of EMDR outweigh the risks. Sometimes the brain wants to hold on to trauma, there is an identity associated with it. You may ask yourself, who am I without this event. Sometimes that is a scary answer. The EMDR experience does not take away the trauma that occurs, it does not hypnotise you nor does it make you forget. It allows to you to accept the experience and process it with a new perspective. It helps you change the negative script in your mind that is shaping a core belief about yourself. You are in control of this experience and if ever you wish to discontinue treatment we can.
Self Care Plan
I highly recommend you let a few people who know you and support you in on what is happening so they can be available if you need extra help during this time. Please refer to you self care section and utilize it! Remember your Safe & Comfortable place is always a resource. I am available to assist in between sessions. Please note that I have a phone consultation fee if there is a call longer than 10 minutes. Also, be aware of your crisis resources. Processing can continue after each session, if we have an incomplete session we will do a containment exercise as well as a regulation/calming treatment to assist you in de-escalating your mood. Sometimes people find that they are unable to drive home or to work, you are welcome to wait in the lobby until you feel safe to drive or may call an emergency contact or a driving service to come pick you up. We will be processing intense emotions at times and this does stir some past up but trust that this is part of the process in Desensitization & Reprocessing.
Journal / Tracking Sheet
Each week you will be provided a tracking sheet. I encourage you to note any triggers that come up for you so that we can process them in session. Also it is helpful to keep a journal of things you are experiencing or noticing from the treatment.