Trauma & EMDR
“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.” Dr. Peter A. Levine
Processing and healing from past trauma can feel daunting and overwhelming, but it is far too heavy a burden to carry for long. Long-term unprocessed trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, disordered sleep, avoidance, and chronic fatigue, pain, and illness, as our bodies and minds have a difficult time coping with a high state of stress over a long period of time.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is defined as a significant and distressing experience that exceeds your capacity to cope. Big “T” Trauma can occur from a wide variety of experiences such as:
Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
Cultural, racial, gender, or intergenerational trauma
Exposure to violence or a disaster
Growing up in an unstable or stressful environment
It is also important to understand that little “t” traumas like bullying, loss of a pet, moving, loss of a job, or hospitalization, can also cause overwhelm in our ability to cope and also deserve to be addressed.
No matter how long ago these traumatic events occurred, they can continue to show up in daily life. Often, even though you might try your best to move forward from these experiences, you can still struggle with the remnants leading to emotional dysregulation, anxiety, upsetting memories, fear, trust issues, or unsatisfying relationships in your life.
What Is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care is an approach that identifies the widespread impact of trauma on your life and aims to create an environment of safety, trust, and compassion. It acknowledges that traumatic experiences can overwhelm our ability to cope and emphasizes the importance of sensitivity and understanding in the healing process.
Breaking Free from Trauma Responses
Trauma-informed therapy will help you identify automatic responses and coping mechanisms that once served you, but may no longer be helpful. You will develop healthier ways to cope with stress and anxiety, breaking free from the cycle of trauma-related triggers. As you gain insight into your responses, you will begin to harness the power to make conscious choices that align with your values.
In trauma-informed treatment, you will find a safe and supportive space to heal and rebuild trust in yourself and others. The role of therapy is to guide healing with compassion, exploring the impact of traumatic experiences on relationships. This work addresses emotional wounds and fears, and establishes healthier boundaries and secure connections with others.
Rediscovering the “Self”: Gaining Insight and Reflection
Trauma often causes a disconnect from your true “self,” making it challenging to stay grounded and centered. Through therapy, you will be encouraged to engage in introspection and reflection, exploring your authentic self beyond the lens of trauma to gain insight into your strengths, goals, and values. This will help you develop a sense of identity separate from your traumatic experiences.
Addressing "Ticker Tape" Thinking: Breaking the Loop of Racing Thoughts
As a result of trauma, you may find yourself trapped in a relentless loop of racing thoughts, what I often refer to as "ticker tape" thinking. Therapy will offer you tools to quiet this constant chatter of intrusive memories, fears, and negative self-talk. With various therapeutic techniques, such as EMDR and talk therapy, you will learn to process and reframe traumatic memories, reducing their intensity and hold on your daily life and offering you greater agency in working with your thoughts.
I take a comprehensive approach to trauma therapy, tailoring treatments to your unique needs. My specialty areas in working with trauma include women's issues, sexual trauma, incest, child abuse & childhood parentification, intimate partner violence, narcissistic abuse, and cultural or racial trauma.
EMDR for Trauma
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach developed to alleviate the distressing symptoms of trauma. It involves a structured process where you will be led through the reprocessing of traumatic memories while safely anchored in the therapeutic space.
During EMDR, you will use specific eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, like to facilitate the brain's natural healing processes, to help you process and integrate traumatic experiences more adaptively. Through repeated sessions, EMDR aims to reduce the emotional charge and distress associated with traumatic memories, allowing you to develop a healthier perspective and response to your past trauma, ultimately promoting emotional healing and symptom relief.
EMDR is an evidence-based practice that is an effective therapeutic intervention for trauma, offering you a path toward recovery and improved mental well-being.
As you start your healing journey, you’ll be empowered to embrace resilience and develop coping mechanisms. Therapy can help you redirect toward personal growth and positive change so that you’ll be prepared to face anything life throws your way.