Orlando Therapist Treats Trauma with EMDR
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an interactive psychotherapy technique proven to effectively treat trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, phobias and panic disorder. Dr. Francine Shapiro originally developed EMDR to treat Vietnam vets with PTSD but discovered that it worked well for any type of trauma.
Trauma can result from a multitude of experiences: personal tragedies, illnesses or other distressing situations. These disturbances can cause unwanted thoughts, feelings or images which keep repeating in the mind, making one feel stuck, trapped and unable to move forward.
What Happens When You’re Experiencing a Trauma?
Very simply, the left side (or hemisphere) of the brain is where thoughts are stored, and the right side of the brain is where feelings are stored. The corpus callosum is a thick nerve tract in between that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain and acts like a switchboard operator (or computer server for you kids out there).
The corpus callosum allows thoughts and feelings to communicate with each other between the left and right hemispheres of the brain every second of the day. When a traumatic event occurs, the corpus callosum says, “There’re too many lines coming in . . . I’m going to lunch!” And it just freezes. So, without the “middleman,” thoughts only cycle with thoughts and feelings only cycle with feelings; there is no connecting between the two sides. Therefore, there’s no resolution to the traumatic event and the person feels stuck.
People experiencing trauma say things like:
“I know I’m safe now, but I feel like I’m not.”
“I know it’s not my fault, but what if it was?”
“I know there was nothing I could do about it, but I feel like I should have.”
Notice the difference between what they “know” and what they “feel”.
How Does EMDR Work?
The brain only knows two states: “It’s happened” or “It’s happening.” This is why a person gets stuck in the trauma: when the corpus callosum shuts down during the traumatic event, the brain never gets to process it, so it believes that the event is still happening. EMDR therapy gives the brain a second chance to process the trauma it didn’t get to process before. Once processed, the traumatic experience no longer causes a disturbance. This is permanent shift and the individual is free from the trauma’s negative impact.
EMDR is not hypnosis. It’s not a Jedi mind trick. You’re not getting amnesia. EMDR simply detaches the emotional disturbance from the experience so you can remember the event without being emotionally charged.
EMDR works with all ages and all types of traumatic events. For more information, visit the EMDR Institute.