How EMDR Can Help You Cope with Tough Childhood Memories

There are so many ways you can help yourself at the present moment. You can probably list just as many ways to prepare yourself for the future. The past, however, is fixed in time. All the ruminating in the world won’t change the events of the past.

For someone who lived through a traumatic childhood, this may sound like really bad news.

Fear not, however, because it is well within your power to learn ways to cope with your tough childhood memories. An increasingly popular and proven form of psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), just might be your ticket to letting go of the past.

EMDR Basics

Unlike traditional talk therapy, EMDR is a short-term protocol. It relies on visualization and eye and hand movements. Simply put, EMDR involves your therapist’s active guidance while helping you choose and focus on a specific trauma, feeling, or memory.

Once that happens, they will execute rapid hand movements directly in front of your eyes. Just as your brain processes a given day’s events during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, EMDR taps into a similar mechanism. Optimally, this process helps you work through older, “stuck”, or unhelpful memories.

This combination of your focus and their movements promotes a state of deep concentration. In such a state, research shows a remarkable record of success in processing and moving on from past trauma. It is believed that memories cemented in your brain need to be fully resolved or readdressed. EMDR facilitates this crucial process — usually in 6 to 12 sessions!

The Impact of Tough Childhood Memories

Each year, there are over 3 million cases of child abuse reported in the U.S. These instances include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment

Studies find that children left to cope with these tough memories are more likely to experience any or all fo the following as adults:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Incarceration
  • Financial, relationship, and other difficulties
  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • Chronic physical illnesses

Needless to say, this situation represents a crisis. Fortunately, many modalities are available to address the damage. One of the most effective and time-efficient is EMDR.

How EMDR Can Help You Cope with Tough Childhood Memories

Trauma lives in the body. Left unprocessed, it will manifest in flashbacks, nightmares, a desire to isolate, hyper-vigilance, and more. All of this can make you feel as if you are re-living the childhood event.

Are you triggered by an adult experience that (even remotely) calls to mind your past suffering? For example, does the sense that someone is ignoring you remind you of early abandonment or verbal abuse during your childhood? That’s all it may take to trigger the trauma cycle.

EMDR therapy challenges this cycle. It shifts your perception of your memories. With the help of your EMDR therapist, you access long-suppressed trauma or inaccurate judgments. Once those images/memories/ perceptions are present, you can remove their power by

  1. Facing them and processing the experience
  2. Conjuring up positive memories or thoughts as replacements

A major benefit of EMDR therapy is the speed with which it meets your need for relief and forward movement. Because you’re the one choosing what to focus on, when to focus on it, and how to replace it, EMDR returns a much-needed feeling of control back to you.

This helps counteract the negative self-talk that inevitably follows childhood trauma. Being in control and feeling less at the mercy of unpredictable triggers offers the balance you need to focus on your strong points.

Dealing with trauma is serious work. It’s made easier, though, when you experience lasting results in just a few sessions. Learn more about EMDR therapy and let’s get started on your recovery journey. Please reach out for a free consultation soon!

Trauma Therapy in the Denver Area

Trauma therapy can be an effective way for individuals to process and cope with the effects of trauma. If you or someone you know has experienced a traumatic event, consider seeking the support of a qualified trauma therapist who can help guide you on your healing journey.  To get started, you can email us, use the contact page, or call 720-551-4553 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation.  You can also read more about our Trauma Therapy services on our Trauma Web Page.