EMDR & TRAUMA RECOVERY COUNSELING
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a groundbreaking, integrative therapy that has been widely studied and proven to be effective for psychological trauma. EMDR includes elements of many psychotherapeutic approaches in its standardized, empirically-supported protocols. Since its development in the late 1980s, therapists have helped thousands upon thousands of people transform their lives by using this brief, cost-effective therapy.
The standard EMDR protocol is an eight-phase treatment procedure to address therapeutic goals by targeting past memories, current triggers, and future responses. EMDR works by directly altering how the brain processes traumatic memories by using rapid-eye movements (REM) that occur naturally during sleep.
The precise mechanism that makes EMDR so effective is unclear because researchers are just beginning to understand how the brain processes and stores intense, traumatic memories. However, what is clear is that trauma causes disruptions in how the brain is able to process memories associated with the traumatic event.
Everyday experiences that are not traumatic are fully processed and stored in the brain’s memory networks in the neocortex, the part of the brain associated with higher brain functions. Fully processed, everyday experiences can be recalled and are integrated into the individual’s felt sense of who he or she is. These memories become a part of the person’s story.
Trauma, however, causes disruptions in processing experiences into memories. Such disruptions mean that the brain cannot process the traumatic memories and feelings associated with them. Nightmares, intrusive thoughts, feeling “triggered,” and flashbacks are the mind’s way of “reliving” the event in order to try to process those memories that are being dysfunctionally stored.
EMDR uses eye movements or other forms of stimulation delivered on both sides of the body (bilateral stimulation) to help the brain process traumatic memories more adaptively. With EMDR treatment, one can stop “reliving” the traumatic event and integrate it into normal memories, so that it no longer disturbs the person as it once did. The memory that used to flood the individual with anxiety, shame, or other overwhelming feelings loses its power to disconnect him from himself and others.
If you’re struggling with substance abuse, out-of-control sexual behaviors or you are the partner of someone who is, you have almost certainly experienced some kind of trauma. For sex addicts, a staggering 97% have been emotionally abused, 81% have been sexually abused, and 72% have been physically abused. For partners, simply learning about your loved one’s sexual behaviors is deeply traumatizing.
For these reasons, EMDR is an invaluable treatment for substance users, sex addicts and their partners alike. Full recovery from addiction must include healing from the trauma that contributed to it. For partners of sex or porn addicts, EMDR can help to get symptoms of the trauma of learning about your loved one’s betrayal under control.
Starting counseling can be tough because trauma can be difficult to talk about. Reaching out for help is nothing to be ashamed about and can lead to a fuller life, and I applaud your courage in seeking the support you need. And trust me, I know how you’re feeling and can journey with you through the discomfort and awkwardness.
If you’re ready to begin, please call me at (805) 256-3497 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your initial session or a free 15-minute consultation. It would be my privilege to meet with you and for us to discuss how I can help you.