Posts Tagged ‘emdr treatment’

When Is It Time To Consider EMDR?

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

The field of psychotherapy has advanced a great deal in the past  20 years. Since Freudian time, therapy was commonly referred to as “talk therapy”. Over the years, however, many different forms of therapy have evolved including psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, and later, cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive therapy.

Most of these therapies consisted of a patient doing the talking and therapist mostly listening whiles interjecting every so often, and in the case of psychoanalysis – making interpretations. In other therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the therapist was more active and directive with their patients.

Over the past 20 years, other types of therapies been developed which include EMDR, Somatic Experiences (SE), Sensory Motor Integration, and many others. What makes these therapies different from the ones previously mentioned is that the principles of these therapies are grounded in developing an understanding of the brain and the nervous systems, as well as making a connection between mind and body.

For this reason, these therapies are sometimes referred to as “mind-body therapies”.

EMDR, in particular, is a therapy based on an assumption that all traumatic events get stored in a fragmented form in both the brain and nervous system. At the time of the incident, our minds are capable of assimilating only certain parts of the incident usually in an incomplete form.

Some parts of traumatic events are stored in the right hemisphere of the mind while others are stored in the left. During EMDR treatment both hemispheres are stimulated in order to bring all the pieces together to create a coherent and complete experience and understanding of the event. In subsequent sets of stimulation, the memories of the event lose their emotional charge and become neutral rather than dormant in our system which allows them to be triggered again and again.

Many patients seek EMDR treatment after being in traditional therapies for many years while still experiencing the same triggers and reactions to events. These triggers are occurring because in some way they are reminding the patient of the original traumatic incident.

For example, a young female patient who was assaulted by a man in a blue jacket at age 10, may become panicked every time she sees a man in a blue jacket. However, she did not know why this was triggering panic until she received EMDR treatments which targeted her seeing man wearing a blue jacket. From there, a memory rose up connecting the two pieces. After this was discovered, treatment was able to ensure that men wearing blue jackets were no longer a trigger for her.

While EMDR therapy is not for everyone it is worth exploring as it can often facilitate relief from troubling symptoms.

What Circumstances And Conditions Can Be Treated By EMDR?

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Many patients falsely believe that they only need EMDR after enduring a major, catastrophic event in their life. Such events could be a terrible car accident, death of a loved one, violent attack or sexual assault.

However, this is not the case.  In regards to EMDR treatment, there is a concept known as “Big T Trauma” and “ Small T Trauma”. The examples listed above are considered Big T Traumas and are common types of reasons someone may require EMDR treatment.

Small T traumas may include a break-up, getting fired from a job, difficult relationship, a major interpersonal conflict or disappointment, experiencing a failure or an event where one is humiliated or embarrassed to name a few. In these cases, EMDR is extremely useful and can often be an efficient treatment modality for these lesser traumatic events. EMDR is very effective in the treatment of procrastination, avoidance, and phobias and can also be very helpful in treating depression, anxiety, stress, and substance abuse issues.

If you feel stuck in a situation or in emotional reactions that feel old,  compulsive, familiar and may be somewhat extreme, chances are there is a traumatic situation attached to it. Whether it is due to something big or small, the trauma you experienced may make you a good candidate for EMDR.

Ways You Can Benefit From EMDR

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

There are many benefits to receiving EMDR treatment, but to understand them, it’s important to first understand how EMDR therapy works. Therapists who specialize in treatment of trauma, and use EMDR, start with a premise that trauma is stored in our nervous system in a fragmented and maladaptive way that prevents us from truly being present. This is what causes traumatized people to react to anything that appears to be a trigger in an extreme manner, whether it be dissociation or extreme emotional outbursts, like fight, flight or freeze or avoidance. The idea behind EMDR is that the trauma itself in some way causes an imbalance that prevents adequate processing and coping.

EMDR therapy provides patients with a safe opportunity to reprocess the traumatic event using an 8 step protocol.  This reintegrates and reorganizes the experience in a way so it is no longer the centerpiece of their daily life experience.

It is important to understand that while this is a very effective treatment, EMDR treatment is not appropriate for every client and can only be done by a trained therapist.

When done by a therapist trained in this area, EMDR can be extremely helpful in dealing with depression, anxiety, interpersonal problems, processing of past traumatic situations, phobia, addiction and procrastination.

While EMDR can take some time to clear various traumas, when compared to traditional therapies,  the length of treatment needed is usually much less. As the traumas are cleared, the therapy can often come to an end.

How Trauma Leads to Depression and Anxiety

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

A few years ago years ago after the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, I contributed to an article for Everydayhealth.com discussing Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress and its impact on Mental Health. This week I wrote an update to this article mentioning more recent events in the past 2-3 years, such as the Boston Marathon shootings in which three people were killed and hundreds injured, murder of a teacher outside a preschool by her husband on March 11, 2014. Not to mention unspeakable executions by ISIS. In doing research for this article, I was shocked about how many violent acts of random violence have occurred in the past two years in schools and colleges all over the country.

Actually this week a patient of mine in marriage counseling, came to the session and announced that she is not really here, there was a “crazy” incident that occurred at her workplace that day. To be sure, she works in a state of the art security building in Midtown Manhattan. Apparently a coworker’s husband was able to get past security and entered their office with a knife. He suspected that his wife was having an affair with a co-worker and intended obviously to use the knife on both of them. He first went after the male and basically was eventually wrestled down by other men in the office who were able to get the knife from him. Security was called and he was luckily arrested. My patient was in a state of shock and was able to talk a little about her fear and what would have happened if he had a gun….

I think that being a New Yorker and having lived through 9/11 has forever changed our nervous systems. Many of us are more on guard and are looking for potential dangerous people or elements in our environment. Fortunately nothing of this magnitude has happened in this city or country since but oftentimes, we all think it will, may be happen again and it certainly has in other parts of the world.

What makes trauma what it is, is the element of it being completely unexpected and out of nowhere. It shakes our basic assumptions about our lives, order and predictability and makes us different. There is a sense of loss that occurs which leads to depression as underlying issues in depression are often loss, disappointment and helplessness. All these feelings are experienced in trauma as the shock lifts. Another related feeling is that of fear, a pervasive fear of this or something like this happening again and the need to be worried and hyper vigilant all the time. There is a sense of life not being safe.

These feelings are common and normal after traumatic experience. However, if they persist, one should seek professional help. Psychotherapy such as EMDR ( Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) is especially effective in clearing trauma so we do not have to live in the grip of sadness and fear.

Children may also experience these symptoms. There are therapists who specialize in treating children after trauma and they use same approaches, such as EMDR. It is important for parents to become educated about this and take an