Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful psychotherapy method designed to alleviate distress associated with disturbing or traumatic memories, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here’s how EMDR works and why it’s effective:
The EMDR Process:
The Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP):
Four Key Stages of EMDR:
Who Can Benefit from EMDR?:
Why EMDR Works:
In summary, EMDR offers a unique approach to trauma healing by reprocessing memories and changing their impact on emotions and behaviors. 🌿🌟
Source: Cleveland Clinic
EMDR has been shown to help people who have experienced trauma, stressful events, or persistent anxiety/depression. It can help others, and below are the treatment areas we can target either in-person or online:
PTSD - Anxiety - Depression - Phobias/Fears - Grief/Loss - Birth & Medical Traumas - Negative core beliefs - And more…
With all therapy approaches and unique individual goals/concerns, it depends. Some people who have one isolated incident of trauma can process material in just a few sessions. Some people who have gone through complex events over many years may take a year or longer to target all of the material with EMDR. This will be something that you and I can talk about together to come up with the most beneficial and supportive length of treatment for you.
EMDR works by gently bringing the targeted material to mind, and pairing it with bilateral stimulation (this can be done with eye movements or dual attention stimuli with buzzers, lights, or tapping). These movements are regulating for the nervous system and allow the level of disturbance to decrease. In my office, I have buzzers that altnerate in each hand and can be a good option if eye movement is not an option for you. We can also use an online platform that allows for eye movement or use other forms of Dual Attention Stimuli such as tapping or sound.
There is no cost difference with EMDR unless we do 90-minute sessions, which is the recommended amount of time for EMDR. We can do 50-minute sessions, it just may take longer to work through a target. You can refer to my rates page for more information.
Somatic therapy is a powerful approach to healing trauma, recognizing that traumatic experiences are not only stored in our minds but also imprinted in our bodies. Here’s how it works and why it’s effective:
Body-Focused Approach: Somatic therapy emphasizes the mind-body connection. It acknowledges that trauma can register within our bodies on a cellular level. By tuning into bodily sensations, we can release trapped energy and promote healing.
Origins of Somatic Experiencing: Developed by Peter Levine in the late 1970s, Somatic Experiencing (SE) aims to help clients draw their attention to their bodies. It focuses on two types of awareness.
Revisiting Trauma Safely: Unlike traditional talk therapy, somatic therapy allows individuals to revisit trauma without necessarily recalling specific events or emotions. Instead, they focus on physical sensations. This approach is particularly helpful for those with chronic stress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Completing Unfinished Responses: Trauma disrupts our natural responses (fight, flight, freeze, or fawn). Somatic work provides the body with time and space to complete what it needed to do during the traumatic event. It helps us move beyond being “stuck” in survival mode.
Emotional Regulation: One of the main goals is to develop a strong body-mind connection and enhance emotional regulation. By integrating body-oriented techniques like deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and meditation, somatic therapy helps manage distressing symptoms.
Research Support: Emerging research shows that somatic therapy is effective for trauma recovery:
In summary, somatic therapy offers a holistic path toward healing by honoring both our physical and emotional selves. 🌿🌟
Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy is a powerful approach that views the mind as a complex system composed of various “parts.” Developed by Richard Schwartz, IFS recognizes that we all have multiple sub-minds interacting within us. These parts play distinct roles and have their own beliefs, feelings, and characteristics. Let’s explore how IFS can be used in therapy to heal trauma:
Inner Child Work is closely related to IFS. It involves connecting with the younger versions of ourselves—the inner child—who carry memories and emotions from our past. By nurturing and healing these inner child parts, we can address unresolved trauma.
How Does It Heal Trauma?
In summary, IFS and inner child work offer a holistic approach to healing trauma by honoring the complexity of our internal world and fostering self-compassion. 🌿🌟
Experiential therapies and creative-based therapies offer unique pathways to healing trauma by engaging the mind, body, and emotions in profound ways. Let’s explore why these approaches are so effective:
Drama Therapy (Informed by Gestalt Therapy) :
In summary, experiential and creative therapies honor the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—offering transformative tools for healing trauma’s wounds. 🌿🌟
Polyvagal Theory, introduced by Stephen Porges, offers a profound approach to understanding and healing trauma. Let’s delve into why it’s so impactful:
Understanding the Nervous System:
Three Key Principles:
In summary, Polyvagal Therapy offers a roadmap to healing by honoring our body’s wisdom and promoting safety. 🌿🌟
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