Some issues are so deep that traditional talk therapy can't reach them. When you are exposed to something that is "too much" for your nervous system to process in the moment, that experience gets "stuck" in the body. Essentially, your nervous system feels overwhelmed and shuts down. This happens with the events we typically think of as trauma (war, sexual assault, a car accident, etc) as well as less dramatic incidents which cause us to feel humiliated, intimidated, or terrified, for example.
Often, it is not a singular event that causes trauma but an accumulation of painful and overwhelming incidents. Sometimes we aren't even aware that we have been traumatized!
Why is unresolved trauma a problem?
Some people think, "It's over. There's nothing I can do about it now. What's the point of dwelling on it?". Unfortunately that statement is entirely false. If you have been traumatized and not treated for it, your body doesn't realize the trauma is over.
Have you ever noticed that you can be going about your day, feeling fine, when something happens and you become overtaken by emotion and adrenaline? Your trauma (that is stuck in your body) may have gotten triggered. It flares up, and in that moment, we lose the capacity for rational thought. A part of us literally thinks we are back in that old danger.
Unfortunately, when our trauma flares up, we don't heal from it. It erupts, and then it retreats back into its hiding place in our bodies....until the next time it's triggered.
Here's the great news: there is something you can do about it now. You are no longer a victim of your past. EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, can help access and heal the trauma, once and for all. And this is done without re-traumatizing you.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is an empirically validated, internationally respected trauma treatment. Essentially, it accesses the trauma which has been trapped in your nervous system and allows it to heal.
Our bodies are naturally self-healing. When we use EMDR to access and heal our pain, we do it in a way that connects it to your unconscious' built-in ability to process and release it. Just as our body knows how to heal a cut on it's own, our nervous system can heal psychological pain on it's own when it's no long "stuck".
During EMDR, you will not re-live the trauma. You may experience some uncomfortable emotion, but much of this process happens deep in your unconscious and at a physical or symbolic level. It is processed and released in a relatively short amount of time, and after it is healed, you won't be triggered by it anymore. You will get relief from that memory or series of memories which have haunted you and disrupt your life.
How do I know if EMDR is right for me?
If you are drawn to this page and are still reading, there's a likelyhood that a part of you is saying, "Hey! This speaks to me!" or "I want more information!" Some people have never considered what they experienced as "trauma", and speaking with me about it is one way to know if EMDR could help you and to get more information about it.
EMDR is not right for everybody. If you are constantly triggered and dealing with overwhelming emotion, we may need to work on giving you tools to find more stability and a sense of safety before we can explore the trauma itself. Luckily, there are all kinds of fantastic tools and practices that can give you a sense of greater empowerment and calm. Once you have these skills, then we can revisit EMDR and see if it's the right tool for you.
EMDR may be perfect for you if:
You already have some skills to manage your emotions, have good social support, and your basic needs are taken care of (a sense of stability)
You have some issues or symptoms that aren't being helped by traditional talk therapy
You are tired of being triggered and becoming overwhelmed by your feelings
You are ready to be released from the pain of your past
You feel excited or intrigued when you read this info
What's my next step?
Give me a call! When can set up a meeting to discuss this further and see if EMDR is the right next step for you or if I can help you move in that direction. We live in an amazing time where there is hope for issues we used to think were hopeless. Give yourself the gift of healing.
Brooke Nielsen, LMFT, MFT # 0001325 Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist firstname.lastname@example.org (858) 876-5043 100 Arapahoe Ave. Ste 12, Boulder, CO 80302