EMDR (eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy focuses on trauma. Developed in the late 1980s, EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (like eye movements, auditory tones, or tactile pulses) to help the nervous system integrate and metabolize lots of information very quickly. In essence, it jump-starts your brain, and entire body really, to stitch together many, many fragmented pieces of trauma memory.
Why does this help?
First, disturbing things happen to all of us. We don’t always think we’ve been traumatized – in fact, we often downplay our feelings about negative events. But if something sticks with us, triggers negative beliefs about ourselves (e.g., “I’m a failure”), there’s some level of trauma there. But that sort of memory (e.g., “what happened that night”) doesn’t always get stored like everyday memory. It’s often splattered throughout the nervous system in the form of anxiety, anger, shame, and thoughts about ourselves that feel miserable.
EMDR takes these splattered bits of memory and pulls them into a coherent whole. Quickly . . . Sometimes before a client even realizes it. When bits of trauma, like thoughts and emotions, are integrated in this way, they lose their power to make us panic or hate ourselves – the anxiety drops out of them and the memories can simply be filed away.
EMDR is a whole-body process, yet is non-invasive and gentle. And EMDR can be used to treat everything from panic attacks to relationship problems. I even use it to help students, professionals, and artists do better at the things they love to do.
EMDR THERAPY BLOGS
When Anger Corrodes: Anger Wisdom, Part XXII
When anger corrodes. Wait, does it? How can you tell when your anger morphs from a moment of clarity and self-protection to something else entirely? Anger has its destructive side . . . at least Ursula K. Le Guin believes it does. I reserve the right, at the end of...
White Resentment: Anger Wisdom, Part XX
The Political is Personal The other night, I listened to Michelle Obama’s speech for the DNC, and I had a curious reaction. I felt so glad to see her, and at the same time, resentment. Everything she said made me cheer on one level; but on another level, feel...
Exiting a Sick System: Anger Wisdom, Part XIX
How does anger help us exit sick systems? Anger helps us exit sick systems. How? Anger allows information processing, because it is a part of the learning curve. So, let’s look at how anger facilitates timely exit when we need it. First, sick systems tend to have...
Anger Work De-Stress Now: Anger Wisdom, Part XV
Deliberate, controlled anger work helps people de-stress and feel better, immediately. Anger De-Stress People are stressed out right now. They feel the stress of the pandemic and the seeming hopelessness of our political circus. I hear people say: I can't believe so...
Anger & Forgiveness: Anger Wisdom, Part VIII
The heart wants to forgive. No matter the offense or the offender, we desire the release of letting it go. Our need to forgive is universal and I believe clear, grounded anger bridges us from hurt to forgiveness. In other words, when we feel angry with the other, we...
Anger Grooming & Dissociation: Anger Wisdom, Part VII
“Angry People” So here’s where anger gets really complicated. Not only do we dissociate in response to anger triggers when we fear being angry . . . we numb our anger based on heavy grooming that starts as soon as we’re born. My client, David (not his real name),...
Sixteen Truths About Anger: Anger Wisdom, Part IV
16 Anger Truths This list of anger truths comes from my own and other people's research, as well as my nearly 30 years in the mental health industry. I'll be back soon to discuss each item here. For today, I want to put the list in front of you. It matters to me, as a...
Anger Wisdom, Part II: Anger Insight
20 years after The Anger Advantage was published, new insights about the emotional spectrum, based on EMDR therapy and mounting medical research show anger as part of something larger. Anger functions as part of a process of trauma recovery, both in everyday life and in therapy.
Anger Wisdom, Part I: Protest and the Healing Process
Anger signals distress and helps us heal. If we allow the natural protest and listen to our anger, we engage in a process of healing.
Religious Trauma into Soul Healing, Part VI: Reading Good Fiction
Lift Up & Away from Religious Trauma Fiction (and memoir) reorganizes our internal narratives, and allows us to try on the emotional resources of others. It does this, not by selling us products or threatening us with what we MUST-do-or-be-damned, but by...
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