3 Benefits of EMDR Therapy

emdr therapy austinAre 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.

Continue reading “3 Benefits of EMDR Therapy”

Shame vs. Guilt

I’ve written before about the effects of childhood abuse and neglect. Among adult survivors of abuse it is common to see a persistent feeling of shame, which is characterized by an overall feeling of worthlessness, of “there’s something wrong with me.” This feeling is so painful that it is often suppressed and poorly understood. Furthermore, some individuals may have difficulty differentiating between guilt and shame. This article is to discuss the differences between shame and guilt, as supported by research.

Shame vs guiltTo start, shame, in itself, is not inherently negative. It is a uniquely human emotion, evolved to allow individuals to live both a moral and a social life. Along with other self-conscious emotions, such as guilt and pride, shame allows humans to reflect on their behavior and adopt society’s standards. When developed appropriately, shame is an adaptive response to inappropriate behavior, that is, to a specific situation. However, when shame develops pathologically it can result in negative outcomes leading to significant impacts on mental health.

Shame

When triggered, shame takes over the whole self of the person. Shame acts as a judgment on our whole sense of self, proclaiming us worthless, inadequate, and powerless. This negative view of the self may start from the critical remarks of another person, yet becomes internalized as an integral part of the self. When in the grip of shame, the individual has difficulty differentiating their behaviors from their identity; he or she feels a lack of empathy; and is more likely to turn anger and blame towards oneself (or others).

When in a state of shame one’s internal dialogue may look something like this:

“I’m a terrible, awful, horrible person and will be until the end of days.”

“Nothing I do is ever right. All I do is screw up.”

“I’m so bad that no one will ever love me.”

“I don’t deserve others’ care, love, or compassion.” Continue reading “Shame vs. Guilt”

The Effects Of Childhood Abuse And Neglect

Have you or a loved one experienced childhood abuse or neglect? Read on for the effects of childhood abuse on the self, relationships, and life adjustment.

What is childhood abuse and caregiver trauma?

Childhood abuse is defined as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, and/or neglect. In the United States, more than 3 million cases of abuse and neglect are reported annually. Often the abuse occurs at the hands of a caregiver or family member and can have lifelong consequences. These relational and attachment traumas are highly associated with future life distress and mental health problems. Overall, childhood abuse often leads to worsened physical and mental health in adulthood.

What are the effects of childhood abuse on children and adolescents?

Childhood abuse therapyChild and adolescent survivors of early childhood abuse experience consequences in multiple areas of functioning: emotion and behavior regulation, relationships with others, and processing their thoughts. When abuse and neglect begin early in life, the effects are particularly detrimental due to children’s lack of coping and soothing skills. Repetitive and prolonged abuse or neglect by a caregiver, or trusted adult in a child’s life, can lead to acute stress and a possible diagnosis of complex trauma, also thought of as developmental trauma. Continue reading “The Effects Of Childhood Abuse And Neglect”