Are you living with symptoms that impact your life? Maybe you’re too anxious do something, having trouble sleeping, or have chronic pain. Whatever is currently happening, it’s possible that your brain hasn’t been able to properly process something from your past.
When a disturbing or traumatic event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feeling and body sensations. If your brain isn’t able to properly process this information, it gets stuck in your memory networks. This is why it can often feel like we’re reliving a traumatic (or shameful, embarrassing, upsetting) experience when we think about it. Your brain is hanging on to that memory and filtering your current experience through it.
EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic approach that helps release and reprocess stuck information from our brain’s memory networks. It’s one of the most well researched and empirically validated trauma treatments. Not only is it the gold standard for PTSD, it’s been shown to effectively treat a wide range of symptoms, including anxiety, grief, and depression.
What are the Benefits of EMDR Therapy?
Benefit 1: Relief from severe symptoms
Whether you struggle with nightmares, panic, or chronic pain, having “stuck” memories in your brain can be a significant cause of these symptoms. Living with these symptoms every day can be so exhausting. EMDR helps reduce the intensity and severity of your symptoms by releasing this information from your nervous system. They may still be present, but will seem much more insignificant, much quieter, and not as draining.
It’s like turning down the volume on your symptoms, completely changing your experience. So even if you recognize its there, it will no longer have the same negative impact as before.
Benefit 2: New perspectives on old events
When a disturbing or traumatic event gets locked in our brain, we often hold on to childlike notions of responsibility, control, or safety. If you felt unsafe at the time, this uneasiness can carry into adulthood, creating an unhelpful road map. As we’re processing and releasing these stuck memories, we get the wonderful benefit of examining them with an adult lens.
My clients often report gaining new and interesting insight into past events or remembering details they’d forgotten. This has helped them reconnect with loved ones, or see them in a different light. It helps us let go of anger and resentment, which prevent us from fully letting go and moving on.
Benefit 3: Positive self-talk
Negative experiences have an enormous impact on our internal dialogue. Most of our negative self-talk can derive from our relationships, boundaries, conflict, or traumatic events. EMDR therapy can not only resolve a traumatic memory, but can also change the perspective a person has about themselves.
Through this process, we install new, more positive self-beliefs that are applicable to a wide range of experiences. Positive self-talk and self-beliefs can improve confidence, mood, and relationships. When we think kindly of ourselves, we’re better able to create and hold boundaries, manage conflict, and connect with others. If our internal dialogue changes, we begin to experience the world differently.
When we can release information that no longer serves us well, this opens the door for healing and growth. If you’re suffering through symptoms, know that relief is possible! If you’re wondering if EMDR therapy is right for you (or your child), check out our EMDR page to learn more about the process. You can also reach out for a free 20-minute consultation.