What is Trauma?
Trauma changes the way our brains function. We don’t choose what our brains store as trauma, and what is traumatic to one person is different than what is traumatic to another person. While most of us think of traumatic events as a terrible car accident, physical or sexual assault, or combat trauma, there are so many other events that our brain processes as trauma. Some examples of trauma include emotional abuse, parental substance abuse, the unexpected death of a loved one, the unexpected end of a significant relationship, infidelity, parent’s divorce, poverty, the loss of a job, the loss of a home due to a disaster, or the significant illness or injury of a loved one. Anything that threatened the safety of you or something you hold dear can be traumatic.
What are the effects of trauma?
Once your brain is in trauma mode, your amygdala is on high alert (think fight or flight). This can cause a person to be easily triggered by relatively mild events or interactions in the environment, causing responses or reactions that are not in line with what they would normally choose or how they would normally act. It also leaves a person vulnerable to chronic and acute anxiety. It is also common that traditional talk therapy isn’t very effective in providing relief from past traumas.
What is EMDR?
EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a specific treatment protocol that helps access these memories that have been ineffectively stored and process them in a way that allows for adaptive storage. Memories that we process and store in adaptive ways no longer hijack our brains and our bodies, and instead take their rightful place as part of our story that allow us to learn, grow, and become stronger. The process of EMDR involves identifying negative or false beliefs that permeate the memory, activating the memory while ensuring that the whole brain stays online through bilateral stimulation and various cognitive and imagery techniques. I know it sounds complicated but I assure you that I will guide you through the process step by step to allow your brain to heal.
I received my training through the EMDR Institute which was founded by Francine Shapiro in 1990. They were the first organization to develop the treatment protocol, to ensure empirical validated research, and to implement thorough clinician training and supervision. They continue to be the flagship EMDR training organization in the US. I am currently fully certified in EMDR through the EMDR Institute, but I believe that those who have trauma histories deserve the best treatment to resolve their trauma, so I am continuing advanced supervision through the EMDR International Association.
For more info, visit http://emdr.com. You can also verify my certification there through their clinician search.