Trauma is a natural response to an unnatural event. Period.
Trauma and, more importantly, our response to trauma is really not something that we have much control over.
Once a threat is sensed, our brains and bodies go into hyper overdrive to shut down all non-essential systems in an attempt to keep us alive in the most efficient way possible.
For this, I am in awe of our brains and eternally grateful that they do this for us.
Unfortunately, after this happens and the threat goes away, our brains are sometimes not so ready to go back to the way things were.
Because they are so good at protecting us from danger, they are constantly on the ready just in case the threat returns.
Our brain normally works like a filing system, taking in information all day long. It’s able to sort out the important things to hang on to from the boring every day details that you don’t need. However, this filing system is one of those non-essential functions that gets shut down in the face of a shocking or scary event.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of treatment that works with your brain to be able to mimic that filing system. By doing this, we are able to reactivate that filing system and return the traumatic memory, as well as thoughts, emotions, and physical symptoms associated with the event to its proper place for storage. EMDR is one of only two treatment modalities that is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) to treat children, adolescents, and adults with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
As much as people have requested it, EMDR does not allow you to forget the memory. But it does allow you to have a more balanced perspective of the event.
While most people feel some amount of relief after experiencing EMDR, it can be especially helpful for those who are dealing with the following issues or conditions:
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