What is EMDR trauma therapy?

  |   counselling, trauma

Trauma is often misunderstood. Trauma is essentially any emotional experience that overwhelms our ability to process what is happening, at the time it is happening. The overwhelming event can be real or perceived.

Trauma does not have to stem from a major catastrophe. Two people rarely, if ever, will respond to the same situation in the same way. For instance, children who witness aggressive arguments can perceive the experience as life threatening, when in fact the actual argument is not. The experience freezes or blocks our cognition, and requires that we re-route the feelings and sensory overload in order to continue functioning. In short, if we do not have the resources to process what is happening, we adapt – but there is a price.

Unprocessed trauma wreaks havoc in our cognitive clarity and our overall health over time. The central nervous system (CNS) locks maladaptive neuro-messaging as normal, allowing these overwhelming experiences to affect all new life experiences. In the past, trauma therapy involved talking about traumatic events – this, unfortunately, does little to change or improve the situation. In fact, rehashing old memories does little more that re-arouse the CNS and leave the emotions raw, without resolution. Pioneers in the field of trauma research with PTSD, such as Levine and Shapiro, have enlightened practitioners about the treatment of trauma as both a physical and a psychological distress.

EMDR is the most advanced, empirically supported, therapy for PTSD and trauma related symptoms to date. Relief from the broad range of anxiety related conditions, that unresolved trauma contributes to in our daily lives and relationships, is frequently available through EMDR therapy.

EMDR is not talk therapy; but rather a non-drug, non-hypnosis psychotherapy procedure. The therapist guides the client in concentrating on a memory or emotion while moving the eyes rapidly back and forth (by following the therapist’s fingers). The bilateral stimulation of left and right hemispheres of the brain mimics REM dream sleep at a level, and naturally prompts your internal healing process. Freedom from the angst of unresolved trauma is possible with skilled and informed therapy. Read EMDR: FAQ to learn more.