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EMDR and Trauma

Trauma lives in the body, more specifically the nervous system. When we experience triggers (seeing someone who looks familiar, a smell, a touch, a song, a noise, being in a place or hearing someone talk about something etc) our brain flips us back to re-experiencing the trauma. We have a body response like an increase heart or breathing rate, flashback thoughts or sensations, or may just be more emotionally reactive or numb than the real time situation warranted. 

"Time heals all wounds" right? Wrong. We as humans have many ways of dealing with pain and often it looks like trying to separate from it. When we separate from it, we cannot effectively process the experience and let go of the emotion. EMDR seeks to go back (could be 30 years!) and re-experience the situation in a controlled environment so it is safer to feel the feelings and work with the maladaptive thoughts. Its like going in and stirring up the pot of emotions to allow them to be sorted (kicking the difficult emotions and negative thought patterns out the window) to allow for a more peaceful existence. 

EMDR works. It has been effective in my life and I have seen so much benefit for clients in a short amount of time. Sometimes I ask about the trigger or issue the person came in with and I get a response similar to "What? Oh, it's fine. Let me tell you about....." We are like onions. The most disturbing layers peel off first and you may find something else is also contributing to residence in meeting your full potential. This is person specific. Some people come for 3 sessions and have experienced great movement. They may come back in 1-2x a year if something pops up. Others have more complex and deeply rooted issues stemming from childhood, and while you will see good movement immediately, 8-12 sessions may be more appropriate.