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EMDR = Awesome


My personal story and experience with EMDR therapy....

We had recently moved into our new house and I was excitedly vacuuming. (When you're excited about your new home even a normally boring chore is exciting.) I absentmindedly vacuumed into the base board which created a loud ‘THUD!’. I froze, my heart started to race, and I was wide eyed and on alert. My body tensed and I braced myself expecting another loud and threatening thud. But all I heard was the hum of the vacuum. I was safe now. There wasn't going to be another thud. I had accidentally created the thud myself and in reality was perfectly safe. I regained my composure despite my panic and eventually, after some time, finished my vacuuming.

The next day, I was unpacking glassware and dishes and arranging and rearranging them in the cupboards. Again, another fun task of living in a new space. But it was this task that make it extremely evident that I was experiencing a real problem. When I accidentally bumped the cabinet door and it slammed shut, I found myself frozen, bracing myself, and back in our townhouse terrified of the banging and harassment I was preparing to endure. It was that moment in our newly purchased home that I knew I had developed PTSD and needed help.

Even though we had removed ourselves from our toxic and harassing living situation and were now living in a safe, single family home, I was not ok.

{For a little more context- We lived in a townhouse and shared walls with a mentally ill person who would bang aggressively on our walls unprovoked at all hours of the day and night. Sadly conversations and assertiveness were not effective and we ended up having to move three weeks after our first child was born.}

It was EMDR Therapy that enabled me to overcome my trauma. Even though we were no longer subjected to such harassment and I “knew” I was safe, I didn't feel safe. The trauma I had experienced tricked me into thinking/feeling like I remained in an unsafe situation. I had heard about EMDR therapy as a relatively new and groundbreaking approach to treating trauma so I sought out an EMDR therapist. (Being in the mental health field I’ve done a lot of my own work on my wounds that have been brought on by living life, but just talk alone wasn't resolving my traumatic experiences in this case.) After numerous sessions and a lot of hard work on my part spent reprocessing my trauma I was thankfully able to overcome PTSD. It felt like a miracle that I could finally talk candidly about my experiences with a sense of calm and peace, and was no longer triggered or traumatized by what had happened.

I feel like it’s important to make very clear here that there is no definitive definition of trauma because trauma is individualized and on a broad spectrum. What is traumatic to one person is not traumatic to another- even if they both experience the same thing at the same time. In my case, my situation was detrimental to me, but it did not affect my husband in the same way.

Years later I can think, feel, and talk about my old living situation in a completely neutral way. That bad thing happened to me and affected my life but I am completely okay. Not only do I know now that I am okay but my inner world also confirms that I am okay. I will be forever grateful for the positive experience I had with EMDR therapy and the way in which it helped and healed my trauma.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is a rapidly growing type of psychotherapy for trauma.

EMDR is successful in treating:

  • PTSD

  • stress

  • grief

  • panic

  • anxiety

  • fear

  • disturbing memories

  • and other emotional challenges

EMDR enables people to reprocess and heal from the symptoms, memories, and distress from life experience(s). It also aims to alleviate distress, reformulate negatively held personal beliefs, and reduce physiological arousal through standard phases of treatment. It is a past, present, and future oriented therapy.

The length of time required to successfully complete EMDR therapy varies from person to person as there is no timetable to healing emotional pain and suffering. However, with time and dedication EMDR can facilitate healing.

EMDR therapy works by using dual attention stimulus (eye movements, audio, or tactile stimulation). The DAS stimulates the left and right brain simultaneously, which is a key component of EMDR therapy. Activating the opposing sides of the brain is what aids in releasing emotions and memories that are trapped in the body’s nervous system.

EMDR therapy does not require that the client talk in detail about his/her disturbing memories, unlike other therapies. It also shows that the brain is capable of healing the psychological, emotional, and physical wounds of the body as the brain has a natural inclination toward healing.

My personal experience with trauma and EMDR therapy gives me a unique and special perspective as I have been in the client seat with success. I am proud to have recently completed my training in EMDR therapy and am actively using it in my practice. If you have questions or curiosities about EMDR therapy and whether or not it might be right for you, I’d be happy to talk with you. To health and healing!

You can read more about EMDR therapy here

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