The entire divorce process can be traumatic. From the conflict, and betrayal that causes it, to the massive changes it can wreak in the way that we live our day-to-day lives. Even the proceedings in court to make the divorce official can be upsetting and emotionally draining.
Psychologically speaking, divorces tend to be classed as small t trauma. That means there are non-life-threatening, emergencies. But still involved huge emotional upheaval, loss, grief, and even betrayal all of which can take their toll on the people involved.
The good news is that even with small t traumas, there is a therapy that can offer fast, and effective results. This treatment is known as EMDR therapy and it is increasingly being used to help those dealing with divorce trauma. Keep reading to find out how.
How EMDR therapy can help people with the trauma associated with divorce
EMDR therapy can help to process the emotional trauma associated with divorce
Firstly, EMDR therapy can benefit people going through a divorce, helping them to process the emotional trauma they are experiencing. Studies show that EMDR is effective in reducing subjective distress, as it can help reinforce adaptive beliefs and understanding related to trauma.
Of course, this is good news for people that find they are experiencing a trauma response from their divorce or separation (which by the way is totally normal) because they can use EMDR to help correctly process the pain they are feeling and right their emotional ship.
EMDR therapy does this by using bilateral stimulation to move traumatic memories from the emotional centers of the brain to the areas that deal with logic. The effect of this proper processing is that upsetting memories associated with your divorce no longer trigger you in the same way. In essence, the memories of your divorces transform from being triggering to neutral.
Therefore after EMDR therapy individuals experience a reduced trauma response, because the painful memories are filed away in the correct place, no longer trapped in their consciousness. This means these memories are no longer condemned to be dredged up every time something triggers them.
EMDR therapy can help minimize the undesirable feelings associated with divorce
There are plenty of undesirable feelings that can be associated with divorce or the dissolution of a relationship. Common ones include anger, guilt, and feeling betrayed or let down. Distrust, paranoia, and hypervigilance are also frequently experienced.
Happily, EMDR therapy is effective at reducing undesirable feelings like these, because during your sessions you will be asked to briefly focus on the upsetting experiences associated with your divorce while performing bilateral stimulation. Don’t worry though because your therapist will be there, right by your side, and will have already coached you in grounding practices.
Bilateral stimulation in EMDR is useful here because it allows you to be exposed to your upsetting thoughts about the divorce, while simultaneously distracting you. This combination of focus and distraction lessens your psychological response, and so over time helps to lessen the impact of the memories.
Therefore after EMDR therapy, you can expect memories and thoughts about your ex and your divorce to have less of an impact on you.
EMDR therapy can reduce the anxiety triggers associated with divorce
It’s only natural that talking about, thinking about, or having to deal with tasks related to your divorce can trigger anxiety. However such feelings can be both upsetting and frustrating, especially when you are in a situation where you need to act as an advocate for yourself, such as arbitration.
Of course, EMDR therapy can help stop your divorce from being a major trigger for your anxiety too. Indeed, experts state that EMDR therapy can be particularly useful in reducing anxiety and its associated triggers in three critical ways.
The first way EMDR therapy can stop your divorce from triggering feelings of anxiety is it can help you better cope with your anxious thoughts. By going through the desensitization of bilateral movements, you can rewire your nervous system, something that means you will be able to recall memories of your divorce or ex, without the anxiety getting triggered.
Another way EMDR therapy can help stop your divorce from triggering your anxiety is by helping cope with any physical sensations you are experiencing.
Often when anxiety is triggered, those experiencing it sensations such as constriction in the chest, feelings of heat or cold, or their heart beating faster. The good news is that during EMDR therapy (through focus and distraction) the body learns to better deal with these sensations and to recognize that they are not a threat, something that can lead to a reduction of anxiety in triggering situations.
Last of all EMDR can be effective at healing the emotional damage that comes along with divorce. The emotional damage associated with divorce is often the result of a very human feeling of fear. Indeed, when your world has been turned on its head, it’s only natural to feel fear, it’s your mind’s way of protecting you from getting hurt so badly again. Unfortunately, this fear can be so strong that it becomes problematic, causing you to feel uncomfortable and to engage in safety behaviors such as avoidance.
However, by using EMDR therapy you can better process these powerful fear feelings, and so experience a reduction in the associated anxiety.
EMDR therapy can help to create an overall sense of wellbeing
All sorts of well-being issues are associated with the trauma and emotional stress of a divorce, undying depression, sleep problems, how stressed people feel, as well as a reduction in their perceived quality of life.
However, the financial way EMDR therapy can be used to help those suffering from divorce or separation trauma is by helping to combat these and foster a greater sense of well-being, even as they are in the midst of this challenging time.
Indeed, evidence suggests that EMDR therapy can have a positive impact on a range of factors common to those going through a divorce, including boosting ratings in the area of perception of stress, quality of life, and even sleep quality. What that means is that by using EMDR, those going through a challenging breakup or divorce can get the support they need to not just survive but thrive, and move on into the next phase of their lives with confidence, and the energy to embrace it.
Starting Your EMDR Treatment in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado
Finally, as you can see, there are many reasons to consider Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. But you probably have more than a few questions. This is normal and I’d be happy to help you find the answers you seek. I would love to help you directly address the painful grief that is impacting your life. EMDR can help get you unstuck. It all begins with a free and confidential consultation. We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with a marriage specialist. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online anxiety counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with. We look forward to hearing from you!
About the Author
Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples & groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.
Author, Alayna Baillod, LCSW, EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant/Therapist, Level 1 & 2 Gottman Couples Therapy, Trained in Emotion- Focused Therapy, CBT, DBT, IFS (Internal Family Systems), Attachment Theory, Narrative Therapy, Solution- Focused Therapy. Alayna is as real as-it-gets! Clients see Alayna as down-to-Earth, relatable, having a good sense of humor (and using it!) and confident in sharing her therapeutic expertise. She is an extensively trained, passionate therapist who strives to meet clients where they’re at while providing an appropriate amount of challenge to gently push clients to grow beyond their comfort zone. You can expect a supportive, guiding and grounded presence in the therapy room with Alayna.