Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
Have you wondered if you can overcome painful and traumatic experiences?
“If only I could erase certain memories that I’ve had in life”. This statement reflects the intensity of an emotional distress. While “erasing” may not be possible, there is a technique that may significantly reduce the intensity. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a psychotherapy technique proven to be successful in many situations to help with painful and traumatic experiences.
EMDR was created in 1989. After initial successful results, research on its effectiveness began. Consistent positive outcomes have been reported. While initially thought to be a treatment only for PTSD, it has been found to be helpful in treating a variety of situations such as helping to overcome disturbing memories, emotional problems and many other distressing conditions.
It works through the use of bilateral stimulation. This can be done with right eye and left eye movement, tones with binaural beats or tapping with back and forth right side and left side. These motions activate the left and right sides of the brain to release trapped emotional experiences. It results in the freeing of disturbing thoughts and creating a more peaceful state of mind.
Do you have memories that interfere with your joy in living?
You are not alone…
An estimated 5.2 million people have PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) during the year. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men. What makes EMDR effective for PTSD are the symptoms of daily living impedes on normal daily tasks.
While symptoms can vary from person to person, four areas are prominent: intrusive memories, avoidance of places or activities that remind you of the traumatic event, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.
More specific examples of these include nightmares that are frightening, difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. Poor concentration is common, along with feelings of hopelessness and feelings of attachment. Often a feeling of being emotionally numb is common with little understanding what is happening. Relationships can become difficult. People close to you may feel helpless themselves or feeling you should “just get over it.” This leads to you not feeling understood or supported. Easily startled is a frequent concern and being on constant guard for danger is common. You may experience angry outbursts and aggressive behavior. The sound of a car backfiring can stimulate traumatic memories or report of a sexual assault may reflect your own experience. Sadly, you remember the trauma as though it just happened.
Painful Memories Keep You Stuck
It can be difficult to move on from painful memories. They are haunting and relentlessly present. Below is a list of incidents that can get in the way of our daily functioning. Note whether they have impacted you in such a way where professional help could be beneficial. See the conditions below:
- Loss of a loved one
- Illness of a loved one
- Car Accidents
- Work accident
- Serious injury
- Chronic illness
- Witness to catastrophe
- Child abuse
- Childhood abandonment
- Childhood trauma
- Victim of crime
- Panic attacks
- Overwhelming fears
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Post Traumatic Stress
- Performance or test anxiety
- Self-esteem issues
- Relationship problems
- Witness to a crime
- Excessive worry
- Natural disaster
- Living in war zones
EMDR can be helpful in dealing with some of the above concerns. Managing major anxieties and the stressors are hallmarks that this technique is able to manage.
What happens when you’re traumatized?
There’s a story for each painful memory. Disturbing situations have a way of looping and staying alive. You try many techniques to make them go away and none last long enough. They just continue to torment you.
You may experience some of the symptoms below. Considering the intensity of the experience, some symptoms seem to run together or it is difficult determining the feeling. What you do know is the feelings are distressful, uncomfortable, and at times unbearable. Listed below are some of the situations you may be experiencing:
- Lack of motivation
- Memories of a traumatic experience
- Fear of being alone
- Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame
- Difficulty trusting
- Problems in relationships
- Sleep difficulties
Can EMDR heal your past?
What you may be wondering
I don’t want to talk about the experience
Negative experiences are hard to talk about. Why bring up the painful memories that stir up the very thing you wish to suppress? In EMDR, the devastating event is only addressed briefly. It is usually the most intense part of the technique. The memory fades and passes on to a new thought. These thoughts keep getting processed and making way for new thoughts. These new thoughts become more positive and diminish the original negative thoughts. Actually, much of the content of your thoughts are not revealed. They pass in silence.
How do I know if this will work for me?
Many factors are explored to determine whether this is a technique that is effective for you. In a confidential setting, we will explore what might be best in determining possible solutions. We will explore all of the relevant factors to help you move forward toward your goal. You can decide if this technique is right for you. It is always up to you whether you wish to continue the procedure.
Will I be in control?
During EMDR treatment, you will remain in control, and be fully alert. You can stop the process whenever you wish. The changes that take place are usually spontaneous and you will be supported throughout the process. The reprocessing usually brings new connections and insights that are usually insightful and empowering.
What happens in an EMDR session?
A thorough assessment is made to determine the nature of your concerns. Specific questions about your concerns are explored. If deemed appropriate, collaboratively we discuss expectations of the session to be determined. Sessions can last from 50 minutes to 90 minutes.
The experience is the use of bilateral brain stimulation. It’s similar to the eye movements during REM sleep. I find the binaural beats using headphones very effective. As you listen to these tones, you often “report” on your experience and the thoughts, feelings and memories of the experience. What you’ll begin to find is a neutralization of the memory and a change in thoughts and feelings leading to resolved feelings.
While some people see promising results in a session or two, others find results with more sessions.
Is it expensive?
EMDR’s costs are the same as other individual sessions. Insurance is not billed for these sessions and you must decide whether you wish to use insurance. To do this, you must have a psychiatric diagnosis for payment. However, I can provide the information you may need to submit to your insurance.
Therapy takes time and money. It is an investment for your wellbeing. Without such an investment, costs rise in other areas. Health costs increase. Since stress is the number one condition that primary care doctors see in their practice, payment is made for the office visit as well as the medication or other treatment that might be connected with the symptom.
Disturbing thoughts and traumatic experiences can create unpredictable and risky behaviors. This can cause accidents leading to emotional and health issues that can bring on more cost. Even breakup of a relationship has its costs, i.e. finding a place to stay, incurring costs that your partner may have incurred.
The bottom line how much do you pay for the quality of your life?
What you can do…
Ask yourself how much longer do you want to be in the cycle. When do you wish to end the suffering? Believe that you can accomplish what is a monumental task. Many have been right where you are and have found success in their lives and in giving back to others, and changing your way of life for the better. Maybe you can change for you.
Affect Change In Your Life.
If you’re in Cincinnati, Ohio and want to make or break a habit, create motivation and direction in your life or work through a life transition, I can help. I invite you to call 513-244-6990 for a free 15-minute call. I’m happy to discuss your needs and goals and answer questions you have about personal development counseling and my practice.