EMDR is the process of getting to the core of a traumatic event and helping to release the hold it has on a person’s mental well-being.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. I changed the words to mean “Every Memory Does Release.” This happens is we go through life and have experiences and traumas from the time we're born until the time that we die. EMDR is a type of psychotherapy and an art form. EMDR gets to the “target” or traumatic event that is at the core of what’s happening with a person. To get the most benefit from an EMDR session we have to find the right target. After finding that target, or multiple targets, EMDR helps us process and “release” these traumatic events. Certain experiences and traumatic events can disrupt, and even rob us, of a “flow” in our natural state. Success with EMDR is to discover and address those targets, which in turn, help address the resulting ailments such as anxiety, depression, anger, trouble sleeping and overall upset, so we return to that “flow” in our natural state, to comfort and happiness.
How do you use it in Practice?
There are all kinds of experiences and difficult things that happen to us throughout life. There are bumps in the road. But the more traumatic the event, the more it impacts our energy system, impacts the wiring of our brains or thoughts or feelings. This leads to more anxiety, trauma, trouble sleeping, depression, anger, and addictions. All of these things come from a basic break in the “flow” from something disturbing that’s happened. We aren’t able to process these disturbing things and release them. Some traumas may include small things to much larger things like, not being fed properly; trying to handle the pressures and repercussions of pleasing one’s parents; suffering in a car accident, or being sexually assaulted. Sometimes having thousands or millions of little cuts or events that have occurred over time, create these memory networks or patterns of trauma that are actually more complex and take a little more time to unravel through the process of EMDR.
How do you combine it with other therapies?
Parts of EMDR are similar to Narrative Therapy in that you are trying to rewire the way your brain thinks about specific events and recast them in a more positive, or at least less traumatic, light. It also often crosses over with Somatic Therapy as many of the events or circumstances that caused this mental trauma also caused physical trauma at the same time.
What are some examples of this in practice?
Let’s say you are the survivor of a large car crash, or of domestic abuse, or perhaps a violent robbery. All of these are events that are difficult to remember and can cause significant hardship to try and remember. Using EMDR, we can go back to these traumatic events and try to explore the impact it had on you from a safe distance. By engaging with these painful memories, we are able to slowly lessen their effect on us as we revisit them more and more.
Eventually, you’ll be able to call upon these memories, see them for what they are, and let them go as events that happened in the past. Once this is accomplished, we can begin rebuilding the narrative. We talk about what that past version of yourself needed in that moment and we give ourselves permission to provide it and visualize a better outcome for the event. Through this we are able to take greater control of the events of our past.