If you fall and scrape your knee, the best course of action is to clean the wound so the body can go through its natural healing process. As the body is not as able to heal a wound effectively if debris is left, when our system is overwhelmed by an experience that happens to us, the brain often cannot heal completely from the memory. These memories remain current and powerful, stored in the mind and body. These unprocessed memories can show up in all kinds of ways, including thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, how one feels about oneself and the world, or in behaving in ways that aren’t helpful and cause more pain.
Everyone experiences trauma. It sometimes shows up with a capital “T”, in a single traumatic episode that overwhelms the system. It can also show up with what we call small “t” traumas. These experiences can lead one to feel insecure, highly self-critical, or to experience difficulty trusting one’s self or others.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety, grief, panic attacks, and negative beliefs carried from many different experiences. It is an exciting and powerful therapy which targets distressing experiences that have become stuck in the brain and body. This approach is guided by the adaptive information processing (AIP) system, which is like the immune system for your mind. When it’s working well, it’s akin to your body’s ability to fight disease. The adaptive processing information system can help you respond to events that are emotionally disturbing in healthy ways. This system allows you to take in information through your senses, and integrate new experiences with past experiences. If everything is working well and the system is not overwhelmed, it allows you to be make thoughtful, resourceful, and proactive meaning from life experiences.
EMDR assists clients in processing distressing memories and beliefs that have overwhelmed the adaptive information processing system. Studies show that EMDR has a direct effect on how the brain processes information, and following successful treatment you may no longer relive the images, sensations, and feelings of the stressful event. The memory is still there, but your relationship to it and what you believe about yourself in light of the past event has changed. By processing and moving through the distressing experience, unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that seemed deeply ingrained and impossible to overcome are transformed. EMDR can allow you to connect with yourself at a deeper level of understanding. Clearing up the past frees up choices for the future.
I am a certified therapist in EMDR through EMDRIA (EMDR International Association).
There is more information about this dynamic form of therapy here: www.emdria.org, or feel free to contact me to discuss more fully.