Events that are life threatening, like car accidents, war, and witnessing violence can be traumatic. Past abuses in childhood, verbal abuse, neglect, are other examples of traumas. Sudden losses, or situations that “pull the rug out from under you” can also be traumas. These are situations that can create traumatic stress.
One of the leading treatments to relieve traumatic stress is EMDR Therapy.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a method of psychotherapy that has been extensively researched and shown to be effective for the treatment of trauma. In 2013, the World Health Organization recommended EMDR therapy as one of the two effective advanced treatments for reducing traumatic stress.
When you experience a traumatic event, so many things are happening at once. There’s the sight of it, the sound of it, how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking. Not to mention the fall out. The premise of EMDR Therapy is that all those parts of the experience get piled together into one memory, neurologically. So, that’s why if you’ve had a bad car accident, just the smell of burning rubber can bring you back to that traumatized state, feeling that intense anxiety again, or feeling frozen.
EMDR can untangle the past from the present. After successful EMDR therapy, you are no longer experiencing the negative effects of that past trauma in the present time. It’s just a bad smell; it doesn’t mean you are in danger now. You may also have a new confidence in those core strengths that got you through it all, real inner assets that are still working for you now.
If you feel “triggered” or “hooked,” if you have a strong gut-dropping reaction to something you think should be manageable, EMDR therapy may be able to help. After EMDR, you may no longer “relive” the images, sounds, and intense feelings when you recall what you went through. Even though you still remember what happened, it is much less disturbing.
Research has firmly established that EMDR is an effective treatment for post traumatic stress.
I am an EMDRIA certified EMDR therapist. I host an ongoing consultation group of EMDR therapists in Sacramento, and am immersed in the EMDR community here in Northern California. This way I can be privy to the latest protocols and research, and stay on top of what works.
For more information about EMDR visit http://www.emdria.org