What is EMDR
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and it is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Our past can contaminate our future
Sometimes you might think that your past experiences haven’t impacted you. You might think, oh I’m over it now, just because you don’t necessarily feel upset about it.
But oftentimes, the negative experience we go through contaminates our current thought processes, emotions, and our behavior. This means, if you don’t process your past the proper way, your past can bleed over your present, no matter how long ago or how hidden in the back of your mind it lives.
We are held back because of our inner core beliefs and fears. The reason behind the toxic relationships, dysfunctional reactions, emotional dis-regulation, lack of self-discipline, lack of achieving what you set your mind to, incapability to love deeply, lack of confidence, experience of shame, doubt and fear, or depression and anxiety could be caused by our past understanding of ourselves and others through the lens of our past traumas or experiences.
Regardless of what the negative experience was, it influenced the way you are today if your experience wasn’t processed or healed in the most helpful way. Recovery comes after surviving the event, surviving isn’t the same as thriving.
EMDR therapy is founded on the basis that our emotional well-being is branched with our physical or somatic state. EMDR employs a body-based technique called bilateral stimulation during which a therapist will guide the client through eye movements, tones, or taps in order to move a memory that has been incorrectly stored to a more functional part of the brain (EMDR Institute, Inc).
How EMDR Works:
During trauma our brain processes and stores memories incorrectly. This incorrect storage can lead to past memories feeling very present. And that is why related or unrelated stimuli in the present can lead to the person being triggered and reacting as they did at the time of trauma. The brain feels as if the past disturbing event is happening currently. EMDR therapy corrects this mis-storage so that the painful memories associated with the trauma lose their charge or lose power. After EMDR, the client can react to stimuli in the present without the past interfering (EMDR Institute, Inc).
For example, if there was parental abandonment or divorce, our brain looks at our current situations through that trauma lens and once triggered, the same brain takes control and reacts and concludes based on its emotions connected to our past negative experiences. At this triggered place, it becomes very difficult to not be triggered as if the past event was currently happening.
Why does Rapid Eye Movement (REM) works:
EMDR uses a natural function of the body, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) in the same way the mind uses REM during sleep time to help it process daily emotional experiences. There is some evidence that the eye movements in EMDR perform a similar function to those that occur during REM sleep (when we dream), which has a vital information processing function. When trauma is extreme, this process breaks down and REM sleep doesn’t bring the usual relief from distress. EMDR is thought to be an advanced stage of REM processing. As the brain via the eye-movement processes troubling images and feelings, resolution of the issue can be achieved (EMDR Institute, Inc).
If you are interested in clearing the slate and removing the effects of past trauma in your life, I would be honored to walk with you on that path. Contact me today and schedule a complimentary phone consult to see if EMDR is the right therapy for you.
Sadaf Shalchian P., MA, AMFT
S.A.G.E. Holistic Health & Wellness Center