The mind has a natural ability to heal just as the body does. Most of the time the body routinely processes and manages new information without our awareness.
When trauma is experienced, either by an overwhelming event, maybe a car accident or by being repeatedly subjected to distress, our bodies undergo certain physical responses. These symptoms may present as increased heart rate, high blood pressure, sweating, hypervigilance, or shutdown. The body is using what is an adaptive response to a threat.
When we experience a physical injury, our bodies work to repair the tissue and heal itself. The same is true for a traumatic experience. While it is normal to experience heightened physical and emotional symptoms as a result of a traumatic event or prolonged stress, if these feelings persist for a longer period of time, it can stunt our ability to heal, cope or trust others. Your mind is working to cope, but if the stress becomes too much to handle, it causes emotional trauma, which prevents your mind from healing on its own (EMDR Institute, Inc.).
What is Emotional Trauma?
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, panic, and other psychological conditions can cause you to experience chronic stress, leaving you vulnerable to emotional triggers. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, you may feel increased anxiety or fear at just the thought of getting inside a vehicle. Or if you’ve experienced child abuse or domestic abuse, you may have difficultly establishing personal relationships with others or find yourself using substances or behaviors to help numb feelings of loneliness, vulnerability, or anxiety.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an effective psychotherapy treatment that’s used to help individuals living with anxiety, PTSD, or other forms of trauma. EMDR was developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro and is appropriate for patients of all ages (Psycom). It was also the first evidence-based treatment to help returning Vietnam veterans cope with the trauma associated with their tours of duty.
How Does EMDR Work to Treat Trauma?
EMDR seems to replicate the benefits that occur with REM sleep and helps the brain to process the traumatic memory in a new way. Bilateral stimulation (e.g. lights, sounds, or the therapist’s fingers) are paired with a particular memory. The therapist uses short sets to facilitate processing and the client is asked to report back on the experience after each set. The experiences generally include changes in thoughts, images, and feelings. EMDR allows the client to experience the trauma as a past, distant event, not a present one.
Start on the Path to Better Mental Health & Wellness
At the Calli Institute, you’ll discover a host of supportive services that range from medication management to individual, family, or group therapy sessions. Our team of advanced practice nurses, psychologists, and therapists are specially trained to help you cope with a variety of mental health care concerns, including anxiety, PTSD, trauma, and more. You don’t need to go at this alone. Find the support you deserve at Calli.
Contact us to schedule an appointment.