The World is a Dumpster Fire!: Can EMDR help me right now?
The World is a Dumpster Fire! Can EMDR help me right now?
The short answer: Yes! EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that is well known for its ability to help people heal from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but did you know it can also be used to prevent PTSD?
First, let’s take a look at trauma: what is it? Trauma comes from experiences that threaten our sense of safety and well-being, such as a threat to our life, or witnessing a threat to someone else’s. These experiences can lead to a sense of overwhelm and an instinct to escape the threat. As we experience trauma in real time, our amygdala (the body’s alarm system responsible for our fight, flight, freeze response) gets activated. If the situation does not resolve, it can continue to send out an alarm that “we are not safe”, which can lead to post-traumatic stress, which if left unaddressed, can eventually lead to a condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The mechanism of our amygdala is meant to keep us safe and it actually does help keep us safe. For instance, when our ancestors met up with a saber tooth tiger, their amygdalae were the catalyst that prompted them to flee to safety or fight back to save their own lives. Once they got to safety, the amygdala’s alarm system quiets down and a state of calm is restored. However, when a trauma continues in a chronic way, such as with the current Coronavirus threat, or the political upheaval and social violence we are currently witnessing, our amygdalae understandably are working over-time as we face this chronic stress to our nervous system. An over-activated system can become worn out, resulting in sleep problems, irritable mood, anxiety, as well as other symptoms in the physical body like headaches and stomach aches.
To help ourselves and our bodies, we can assist our amygdala and our nervous system by attending to our thoughts, emotions, and body sensations now, rather than when the cumulative impacts of PTSD settle in. We can do this in many ways, and one way we know can help (thanks to much research over the last few decades) is with EMDR Therapy. The mechanisms of EMDR Therapy can help people process through their current distress so that these disturbances to our nervous system can be released, rather than stuck in their original traumatic state and held in our bodies as trauma. EMDR Therapy is a comprehensive therapy that intervenes to assist our natural healing mechanisms to restore a stressed-out system to a more balanced mind, body and soul.
For more information about EMDR and its mechanisms check out my previous blog posts at: https://www.coherenceassociates.com/blog
If you would like to know more about how EMDR can help you right now, please contact Coherence Associates- we’re here to help!
Connie Glenn, LMFT, Certified EMDR Therapy Clinician
Connie Glenn has been with Coherence Associates for over 5 years. She has utilized EMDR Therapy in a wide variety of areas. She is currently consulting with other EMDR clinicians to help them grow in their understanding and implementation of EMDR Therapy. Connie has a passion for clinical excellence and helping people heal from the impact of trauma. Her creative ways of meeting clients where they are, while guiding them to a more expanded sense of themselves and the world, is among the many gifts she shares with all those she comes into contact with.
Getting Past Your Past, by Francine Shapiro, PhD, 2012, Rodale Books, New York, NY
EMDR Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures, by Francine Shapiro, PhD, Second Edition, 2001, Guilford Press, New York, NY
Trauma Made Simple, by Jamie Marich, PhD, 2014, PESI Publishing & Media, Eau Claire, WI