Trauma Takes Many Forms
You may not see yourself as a “victim” of trauma. That’s because even when we experience “big T” trauma – accidents, fires, assault, combat, rape – we don’t always recognize the effect it’s had on us.
And if it’s “little T” trauma you’ve experienced – bullying, verbal abuse, neglect – you may even feel guilty thinking of yourself as the victim of trauma.
But if you have experienced trauma, that trauma will affect your life.
When Yesterday Haunts Today
For those suffering from trauma, the past is present. Whether you’re having nightmares and flashbacks or you’re just feeling anxious or scattered in reaction to everyday events, the past is like an unwelcome guest barging into the living room of your life. And that guest just won’t go away.
Sometimes you may find yourself thinking about the same past events over and over again, even when you don't want to. At other times you may find yourself repeating negative patterns, like reacting to certain triggering events with a flood of emotion despite your best intentions.
However it plays out, trauma left untreated can damage your personal and professional relationships, and it’s just no way to live.
Talk Therapy: Is It Enough?
Talk therapy can help by providing you with the tools and strategies to better understand and manage your emotions and reactions when triggered. However, talk therapy only helps you manage your symptoms better, it doesn’t keep them from occurring in the first place.
It’s Physical, Not Just Emotional
When we experience trauma, it affects how our memories of those events are stored. Instead of being integrated and properly stored away in the past, the memories are fragmented and seem “present”. This is why talk therapy alone may not be enough. Since there is a physiological component to trauma, shouldn't there be a physiological component to its treatment?
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy that employs a highly structured, therapist-guided, one-thing-at-a-time approach to safely and properly process traumatic memories. However, it also has a physiological component: Bilateral Stimulation.
What is Bilateral Stimulation?
Imagine wearing a set of headphones that clicks or plays a sound that alternates between your left and right ear. This is an example of Bilateral Stimulation, which is a rythmic, back-and-forth pattern of auditory, visual, or tactile stimulation that alternately activates the left and right halves of your brain.
Bilateral Stimulation can also be achieved by following a light in a light bar back and forth with your eyes; holding a pair of pulsators which alternately vibrate your left or right hand; or simply following your therapist's finger back and forth with your eyes.
Why is Bilateral Stimulation important? Because alternately stimulating the left and right halves of your brain helps it to finally organize and file away your fragmented, traumatic memories.
EFT + EMDR = HOPE
Just as with EFT, EMDR is a well-researched and proven-effective form of therapy. Among the more than 30 positive controlled-outcome studies on EMDR, some even show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after only three 90-minute sessions.
If you believe you may be suffering from the effects of past trauma, large or small, please contact us today and begin your journey to healing.