How EMDR Can Help You
All of us have received some negative programming.
Negative programming can drain our joy and energy, leaving us dissatisfied with life and with ourselves. Mini-traumas occur in moments of ridicule, threat or rejection by parents, teachers, peers, employers and spouses. The emotions, beliefs, physical reactions and methods of coping we learn through trauma are locked into our minds and not easily updated. Trauma can block our learning of positive emotions and coping skills.
Experiences that aren't obviously "traumatic" can leave us with dysfunctional beliefs about ourselves. Examples include: "I can't do anything right", "I never finish what I start", "I'm worthless", "It's all my fault". Such beliefs can easily create problems such as fear of success/failure, stage fright, writer's block, lack of focus, addictions to people, places and things, and self-defeating habits/attitudes.
EMDR stands for "eye movement desensitization and reprocessing". Initially it was thought that only eye movement was the key to stimulating changes in brain activity that moved the mind past traumatic experiences. Later, it was found that a left/right alternating sound or tapping on the hands was equally effective. Perhaps someone will invent a new term.
The procedure involves discussing a trauma, or dysfunctional belief, or current issue with the counselor. As the teamwork continues, the counselor stimulates eye movement using a light display or uses headphones to present an alternating tone or hand-held plastic tabs to present alternating vibration. As the discussion continues clients experience a flow of memory, thought and emotion, which moves from negative to positive. . It's impossible to paint a clear picture of what the experience is like. Only your own experience can tell you that. My experience has been that it is a very trustworthy process that guides itself.
A recent evolution in the EMDR field is called Biolateral, developed by Dr. David Grand. His unique healing musical recordings are available at his website www.Biolateral.com
Traumatic experiences can produce long-term effects.
A common myth is that we "should" simply "get over" trauma and neglect from the past. Time does not heal the effects of abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect actually powerfully damage brain structure and biochemistry. The earlier in life the traumatic experiences occur, the more powerful and lasting the effects. The best intentions to "forgive and forget" don't truly work until the damage is understood and healed. When we can experience a sense of safety from further abuse and have faith in our own strength and judgment, then we can afford to forgive.
Physical and emotional trauma due to violence, accident or natural disaster affects our minds, emotions and bodies. Severe trauma results in post-traumatic stress disorder. This can involve nightmares, dissociation, flashbacks and intense distress in situations that remind you incident. It can involve a constant sense of danger, emotional numbness, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, self-mutilation, loss of feelings of love and trust, sexual dysfunction, memory blocks intrusive thoughts and images, and a sense that your future is bleak and limited. Symptoms of anger, edginess, insomnia and poor concentration are common. Even without full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder some of these effects can develop and persist for years.
The locked in reactions were probably adaptive, even life-saving at the time. Because they are locked in they cannot be easily updated.
Information for both the public and therapists can be found on David Baldwin's Trauma Pages at
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