relational trauma

EMDR and Trauma

 

By Judith Asner

EMDR and Trauma

By: Andy Gear, LPC, EMDR Trained Therapist

What is EMDR? 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based treatment for trauma. More than 27 studies (since 1989) have demonstrated EMDR’s effectiveness in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, American Psychiatric Association, and the World Health Organization all recommend this treatment.

What are signs of Post-Traumatic Stress?  

  • Feel like you are reliving the event, have intrusive thoughts, memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.
  • Physical reactions to reminders of the event.
  • Avoid thoughts, feelings, people, places, reminders of the trauma, or can’t remember parts of it.
  • Feel detached, isolated, less emotion or interest in once pleasurable activities.
  • Problems with sleep, irritability, anger, concentration, hyper-vigilance, or are easily startled.

How does this happen?

PTSD occurs when a disturbing event overwhelms our brain in such a way that we are unable to effectively process it. This prevents us from being able to heal from the disturbing memory as we usually would. These memories do not properly fade into the background, but continue to impact us—most noticeably when we are faced with reminders of the event.

How does EMDR help? 

EMDR allows these memories to be processed effectively. By stimulating both sides of the brain (through eye movement, tapping, or sound), we are able to successfully reprocess the event. This allows the impact of disturbing memories to fade, so that we are no longer triggered and begin to feel safe once more.

For more information about EMDR or to set up an appointment, please contact Andy Gear, LPC, EMDR Trained Therapist at andy@avenuescounselingcenter.org.  

Finding My New Normal After Divorce

By:  Lianne Johnson, LPC

I have seen, and personally experienced, a tendency to overlook the impact of relational trauma on our functioning. Why is it that even when our life circumstances change – we live through a relational trauma or betrayal, we are separated from our spouse, we unexpectedly become a single-parent, we go through a divorce, we discover abusive realities in our partner – Why do we keep living (or pressuring ourselves to live) as though these changes haven’t happened?  Why do we keep living as though our bandwidth for interacting with life hasn’t changed?

Sometimes when I realize I am pressuring myself to live as though my life hasn’t radically changed, I just sit and shake my head at myself.  I ask myself in these moments, “Why am I pressuring myself?  What am I fearing?”  The answers to these questions are usually the same, no matter the circumstance.  Part of the answer is that I desperately want to live like I was living, before my life changed without my permission.  I want my normal back.  I want what was known to me.  The other part of my answer is that it saddens me to feel like I am letting people down by no longer being able to perform as I had been.  I fear others won’t understand, or won’t care to take the time to learn, the basic equation I now have to live by: My life radically changing when I experienced trauma and betrayal in my marriage + an unexpected long season of separation and suffering + ultimately getting divorced + being a single mom + running a business = having less bandwidth for life.

For a long time, I angrily fought the equation I now had to live my life by.  I didn’t fight it by taking on more than I could, I fought it by being angry with life and retreating.  It wasn’t until I started to accept my new normal that I started to enjoy life.

Part of accepting my new normal was learning to like the person I am now.  To accept the me I am now.  I am different.  My traumatic experience changed me.  Learning to be a single mom, a divorced woman, changed me.  I am not quite sure how I could live through all of that unchanged.  But I guess the biggest thing I had to learn to do was accept the new me, my new normal, and learn who I had now become.

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