One of the hallmarks of trauma is the feeling of being “stuck.” As common as this symptom may be, it is not something you must accept. Your traumatized brain wants to heal and it’s entirely possible with the right support.
First, it is crucial to understand what trauma can do to your brain. From there, the follow-up involves finding ways to help the healing happen. Traumatic events can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and this is not something to be tackled alone. All of this adds up to you educating yourself about what has happened and then getting the help needed to facilitate recovery.
Are You Living with A Brain on Trauma?
Trauma impacts those parts of your brain (the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex) that alert you to danger, analyze the threat, and choose the actions that need to be taken. Studies of people with PTSD have found many of them show and under-active pre-frontal cortex and a hyper-reactive amygdala. What does this mean?
Your brain keeps you in a state of hyper-arousal. Thus, you may be easily triggered by events, sensations, or conversations that remind you of the traumatic event you endured. To put it more simply, you stay in a constant state of fight-or-flight. You may react impulsively or with disproportionate anger. In addition, all the chemical changes caused by the trauma lock you into a negative mindset. You find it difficult to feel positive emotions.
What is EMDR
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR) is unlike many other forms of therapy. Rather than talking and analyzing, it focuses on eye and finger movements. Generally, treatment sessions can last up to 90 minutes and are presented in eight phases.
Phases 1 and 2
This is where we talk, prepare, and plan. Based on your input, we decide what to target. However, in the meantime, you will learn some stress management tools.
Phases 3 through 6
Here is where the eye and finger movements come into play. First, you’ll be asked to choose a vivid memory. It may be connected to the traumatic event or to a negative belief about yourself embedded by the trauma. As you recall this memory, I will be moving my fingers in front of your eyes. Your task is to follow my finger movements with your eyes.
This can trigger some negative emotions related to the memory being recalled. But I will be guiding you into a shift. You will then replace the unpleasant emotions and memories with positive feelings.
Phases 7 and 8
After the intensity of phases 3 through 6, the final two phases have us assessing your progress as we move toward closure.
How Can EMDR Help Your Traumatized Brain Heal?
You may be wondering what finger and eye movements have to do with trauma. There are several theories but we do know that it is quite possible that when your brain has not processed a trauma, it needs a healthy, guided way to reprocess it. EMDR makes this possible in a proven, expedited way. Often the happen without continual, verbal reexperiencing as well.
Also, we know that trauma often feeds off the passage of time. The past can distort and become increasingly harmful if we do don’t deal with it. EMDR counters this problem by advancing the healing process via attention to the body and the mind. Rather than years of talk therapy, EMDR can helping PTSD sufferers improve their lives after as few as three sessions!
Get the Advice You Need in This Uncertain Time
Finally, the events of 2020 have sent all of us to the nearest search engine, looking for answers. For global events or for personal struggles, it makes the most sense to consult a qualified expert. That’s why I’m inviting you to reach out now to learn more — about trauma, about EMDR, and about healing. I am Level 1 trained in EMDR and happy to discuss how you might benefit from EMDR therapy. Please read more about EMDR and trauma therapy and contact me soon to start putting the past behind you and moving positively forward.
Getting Started With Trauma Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado
We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with. We look forward to hearing from you!