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Women's Trauma and how EMDR Therapy can Help

We continuously see the effects of trauma on the female population. Infertility, repeat miscarriage and difficult deliveries can inflict life long traumatic memories, depression, anxiety, poor sleep…and the list goes on…and on. If you are suffering from any of these I would like to share my healing through EMDR therapy.

My experience involved a car accident. I had to take the ditch to avoid a head on collision, due to someone reaching for their cell phone. Even though I took evasive action, I was still sideswiped when the approaching driver veered into the ditch with me. It took awhile to feel comfortable driving again. When I did get behind the wheel I had to look at the white line so as not to panic when approaching cars came towards me. My knee jerk reaction was to grip the wheel and brace myself for impact with the last words of the accident “She is going to hit me, I’m going to die” replaying in my mind. It became very difficult to get behind the wheel or be a passenger.

Reprocessing this traumatic memory through EMDR brought a sense of empowerment when a successful conclusion “I evaded the head on collision” was exchanged for the defeating one mentioned above. Triggers no longer evoked painful emotions but new positive feelings of calm and empowerment. After three sessions, I could drive again. Talk therapy precedes the actual EMDR sessions. Depending on trauma levels (single vs multiple lifetime accumulation) getting to the root of the trauma may take longer, and each trauma will need to be processed individually.

What is EMDR?

Although it may sound scary and technical it isn’t. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy coupled with right to left movement of the body which replicates REM sleep in the brain. This enables people to heal from emotional distress and disturbing life experiences. If you suffer from mild symptoms or small events, don’t ignore them. Get help. In as little as three sessions from a licensed therapist trained in EMDR you can recover.

Traumatic experiences have the onion peel effect. A traumatic event triggers a cascade of emotions. Another trauma forms another layer of the onion. The outer layer may be a small disturbing event that triggers a paralyzing emotional storm. Treating trauma with timely EMDR interrupts this pattern of layering. What once took years of therapy can now occur in a few sessions. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. Through EMDR therapy, the mind can heal from psychological trauma similar to the body recovering from physical trauma. Recovery occurs in as little as 3, 90-minute sessions for single trauma events and multiple trauma or PTSD can be cured in as little as 6 sessions.

How can this occur?

Our brains naturally process memories to move toward mental health. This system can become blocked or imbalanced by a disturbing event. Healing processes may halt, leading to mental anguish, depression, panic attacks, sleep disturbance and more. If this system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound builds. EMDR therapy is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense.

Due to its effectiveness it is now being used for “everyday” memories that can lead to low self-esteem among other issues . Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.

EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. Also, it is given to current situations that cause distress, and to developing the skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. With EMDR therapy, these items are addressed using an eight-phase treatment approach. I hope you will take time to read more about his healing approach here to see if it might help you in some way with any emotional/mental difficulties you may be experiencing. It is used for many things other than trauma and PTSD. Read more about EMDR here

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