Want to Overcome Trauma in the New Year? Try EMDR
Posted by Soribel Martínez
Trauma impacts thousands of people in the U.S. alone. Some realize it immediately. Others have repressed their traumatic experiences for years. You might have gone through something as a child that is starting to show its effects now.
Or, maybe you went through something more recently and you can’t seem to escape things like flashbacks and feelings of guilt.
No matter what your trauma story is, you don’t have to live with it for the rest of your life.
The memories may never go away, but how you handle them and the control they have over you will make a big difference in how free you can feel.
If you want to overcome trauma in the new year and “start fresh,” one of the best ways to accomplish it is with EMDR.
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds.
In fact, the process was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980s. Dr. Shapiro was out walking and noticed that a few negative and disturbing thoughts she was having suddenly gone away. Upon further research, she discovered that moving her eyes back and forth while thinking of something negative or disturbing would cause it to fade away faster.
Obviously, it took more time, attention, and research to end with EMDR, but the basic idea remains the same.
With EMDR, patients use bilateral stimulation. You’ll focus on your specific trauma while rapidly moving your eyes back and forth under the direction of a therapist. This can help to ease the effects of the trauma and make you more desensitized to it.
From there, you’ll work with a therapist to reprocess the way you experience that trauma, so you’ll be in more control.
Why is EMDR Different?
When most people think about therapy, sitting and talking is the first thing that comes to mind. While there is talking in EMDR, it’s not about hashing out everything you’ve gone through and trying to talk your way through it.
Rather, EMDR relies on your own rhythmic eye movements to weaken the emotional memories of past trauma.
The reprocessing stage is also different. Once the “block” is removed, you’ll start to experience less distress over the memories, and may even be able to see them in a more positive light.
EMDR uses a phased approach. That’s important for a treatment solution like this, since being monitored every step of the way is crucial to make sure the process is working. At any point, if you become distressed, your therapist can work with you through a set of procedures to get back on track. These phases are crucial for taking one step at a time and measuring success. But, the timeline itself is flexible.
Is EMDR Right for You?
Some experts label EMDR as controversial because it’s so different from traditional talk therapies like CBT.
But, it’s also been proven extremely effective. So much so, that it has grown and evolved to be used for more than just trauma cases.
If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, EMDR might be the best solution for you. While it isn’t right for everyone, it can be helpful if you’ve tried other things in the past that haven’t worked. It can also be beneficial if you’re not comfortable with traditional talk therapy methods. For some people with trauma, it can be difficult to open up about the past, making EMDR an effective way to work through it without having to show that kind of vulnerability.
If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR or how it can help you overcome your trauma in the new year, feel free to contact me.