A variety of therapy techniques can be used together or alone to help you resolve the effects of the traumatic incident and the accompanying distressing symptoms. Trauma can come in many forms from small, seemingly insignificant events to major life changing events and the symptoms can range from sleep disturbance to racing thoughts and uncomfortable bodily sensations. Counseling for trauma can help “turn down” the distress and be less affected by the traumatic experience.
Nothing short of a miracle, that’s what it is! The letters stand for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). It is a psychotherapy technique that allows trauma that is stuck in immediate thinking to be turned down, and the upsetting symptoms relieved. EMDR therapy technique does two very important things. First it "unlocks" the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain to successfully process the experience. The EMDR therapy sessions continue until the traumatic memories and or emotions are relieved.
Have you ever been in a car wreck? The memory is all you think about while driving your car after that. You hear the sounds, you smell the smells, and it is ever present in your brain and causes fear, anxiety, and emotional pain. That is trauma – and it is stuck in your brain. This is where a therapist would use the technique called EMDR to help you get relief. On the scale of 1-10, let’s say the disturbance is stuck at a Level 10. After EMDR, the memory moves from a Level 10 to a Level 1 or O in as little as 2 to 4 sessions!!! The brain does the work. The thoughts no longer have any charge/bodily sensations/feelings associated with them, or they become much less. It has no more power to haunt you. Incredible! And, there is not a lot of talking about the event in the EMDR process. You just think about it, then do the EMDR process. The brain does the rest.
EMDR was not discovered in a research laboratory. It happened quite by accident. Francine Shapiro, PhD, was a bright Scientist. One day in 1987, she was walking out in nature among a lot of trees in a forest setting. She was processing her own troubling emotions. Francine noticed her eyes moving back and forth on either side of a path as she was thinking about distressing thoughts and she started to feel better. She excitedly began studies to see if other people had the same relief using an eye movement technique.
This procedure is so effective that the military is using it to treat victims of PTSD after being in wars and traumatizing conditions. Car accident victims are gaining relief from the horrifying memories and sounds that haunt them. Therapists often find that many patients can trace their current symptoms back to a trauma in their life, allowing the use of EMDR to offer relief, often within a few sessions. Abuse and rape victims have found relief from the horrible memories and trauma. Dr. Nicci is a trained therapist in EMDR for trauma treatment.