Of the many different types of therapy for trauma, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has become one of the most trusted forms. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment modality, meaning that there is scientific evidence to demonstrate that it works. Compared to other treatment modalities, it is very effective and lasting, while it also works very quickly as well. What is EMDR, and can it help heal your trauma?
Breaking Down the Concept of EMDR
The idea behind EMDR is to reprocess traumatic memories in the brain so that you feel safe again, especially around those memories. When trauma occurs, the flight or fight response is triggered, which is meant only to be a temporary state. However, sometimes, it stays activated, leaving you to feel like you are constantly in danger of causing you to relive those traumatic memories constantly.
EMDR uses tapping or eye movement as a physical distraction while the therapist guides you in recalling the traumatic memories. The physical stimulation allows these memories to be reprocessed, deactivating the flight or fight response and allowing your body to relax and feel safe again. Your body’s breathing and heart rate can return to normal, and your mind can return to a normal state as well.
Why EMDR Is Used for Trauma
Trauma is something that you witness or that happens to you, often with little to no control over the situation. Unlike other emotional pain that can build up over time with a sequence of events and thoughts, trauma often happens in single episodes, even if they are recurring. These events are like packets of memory in the brain that are embedded like splinters and fester and impact daily function.
The EMDR technique reprocesses these memory packets, changing them from splinter-like foreign objects to free-flowing memories that coexist with other memories in the brain. The power to deactivate the fight or flight response and help the mind and body return to normal function makes EMDR a go-to source of healing for trauma.
A Tool for Healing Childhood Trauma and PTSD
Trauma from childhood that turns into PTSD can be like a ball of yarn that starts small and then just gets bigger and bigger and bigger as the years go by. Trauma like this can encompass your thought processes and behaviors and influence not only your daily life but also ingraining itself into your long-term habits and lifestyle. Trauma like this can take months or sometimes even years to unravel and heal in talk therapy or other methods of treatment because there are so many layers to work through before you get to the actual event.
This is why EMDR is such a great tool for even long-term trauma and PTSD because it targets the memory itself. EMDR goes directly to the source of the trauma to heal it, which helps to diffuse all of the outward layers of behaviors and thought processes because the pain is gone, and you can find peace again.
Why EMDR Works So Quickly and Is So Lasting
While traditional talk therapy can take time to get to the actual source of the pain, EMDR works almost instantaneously, providing immediate relief. This is due to the fact that the therapy itself involves the immediate reprocessing of the traumatic memory. The therapist does not need to work through the language process and break down emotional walls to access the trauma; EMDR goes straight to the root of the problem.
Some say that EMDR is like flipping a switch. For this analogy, that switch would be a permanent switch. Once those memories are reprocessed, your brain hangs onto the new safe version of the events indefinitely, so the healing is lasting. Therapy lasts just a few sessions instead of many, and maintenance sessions are generally not required.
The Power of Feeling Safe Again
For anyone who has lived with trauma or PTSD, the potential of living without that trauma offers tremendous emotional freedom. EMDR can bring that freedom of being able to feel safe again, in any circumstance, even in situations that might have previously brought flashbacks or bad memories of the traumatic events.
There is great power when a woman can wake up and feel safe again after living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, especially for many years. She is free to enjoy her life again. She can also heal from her addiction, which often goes hand-in-hand with trauma and trauma-centric behaviors and lifestyles. EMDR is a powerful tool for healing that can help you heal from trauma, even if it was from your childhood.
What is EMDR, and can it help heal my trauma? EMDR is an evidence-based treatment modality that focuses on healing trauma at the source by reprocessing traumatic memories so you can feel safe again. EMDR is quick, long-lasting, and even effective for childhood trauma or for PTSD. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women is a detox and residential treatment program for women with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a quiet refuge for healing away from conflict and dysfunction. In addition to other evidence-based and complementary therapies, we use EMDR to treat trauma and PTSD for quick and complete healing. Our trauma-informed care helps you heal in an environment that is safe and empowering. Contact us at The Ho Tai Way at (714) 581-3974 to learn more about our program for women.