When adults experience anxiety, depression, body image issues, as well as, just feeling stuck in their lives, that’s when they often come into therapy to experience EMDR Therapy. EMDR therapy allows clients to release beliefs that have been holding them back from reaching their potential and connects them with who they are, underneath the pain and confusion of past trauma and/or having experienced their parents not attuning to them in early childhood. As a somatic psychotherapist, who specializes in EMDR Therapy, I am inspired by the work my clients do everyday.
When clients experience EMDR Therapy, I notice an internal wisdom arise in my clients; they seem to open doors to positive beliefs about themselves and an ability to connect information that helps them feel settled and alive in their bodies. It doesn’t surprise me these experiences exist in my clients, and I yet I am filled with joy and amazement every time I see and hear shifts in my clients. I can see the stuck trauma unlock and start to move through their bodies as they make sense of the past through a felt experience.
When EMDR Therapy first begins, I have clients start by starting to feel positive things in their lives, to make sure that the client and myself feel ready to work on the uncomfortable or traumatic experiences. I teach clients tools to ground in the present and support their nervous system in knowing it’s safe enough to rest.
Trauma can get locked in the brain that can cause client’s distress and negative symptoms. Negative pictures, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations can cause the client to feel distress and negative symptoms. Some of the negative thoughts that are common to hear from clients are, “I don’t matter” or “I’m not good enough”. In EMDR Therapy, clients will get a felt sense of this trauma and how it is held in the brain and body.
How EMDR Therapy works is what Francine Shapiro postulates is the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) system. The AIP system is the inherent system in the brain that knows how to heal. The AIP system brings different parts of the brain back online and helps make sense of unprocessed events and interactions through our bodies, and impacts perceptions and beliefs which in turn influences the way we relate to ourselves and the world around us. EMDR therapy facilitates an integration of unprocessed information that leads to an adaptive perspective; even though those events happened, “I matter” and “I am strong”. New information comes forth and clients are able to put pieces together that were unattainable before. It is a retelling or recreating rather than a reliving; bringing in information that was always there, yet distant and unconnected.
One of the key components of EMDR Therapy is the use of Dual Attention Stimulus (DAS), which consists of the eyes moving back and forth or other tools to facilitate the crossing of the midline to access both sides of the brain. With the use of DAS, clients have the opportunity to integrate information of feeling safe in the present with what happened in the past, letting all systems know the past is over and that the present is different and safe.
One step in the process involves solidifying positive beliefs and helping clients truly feel and believe what they need to in order to show up in their daily lives and relationships and responsibilities. These are realistic beliefs that have always been alive in them but got lost due to traumatic events.
EMDR Therapy continues to amaze me as a psychotherapist because I get to see the resilience available to clients as they heal trauma and become more whole and present in their lives.
This blog post was written (revised) by guest blogger, Sarah Rose, MA, LPC and was originally posted on her website.
About Guest Blogger: Sarah Rose, MA, LPC
Related EMDR Trainings and EMDR Advanced Workshops:
Sarah Rose, MA, LPC is an EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist, and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant. She has a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University, and is in private practice working with adult women individually and sees couples with her partner, Andy Rose, MA, LPC. Sarah also trains third year master level interns at Boulder Emotional Wellness. She uses a strength based approach, helping clients access their internal wisdom that can be beneficial in the healing process.
Image Source: “Mr Pipo speech balloon” by Nevit Dilmen (Wikimedia Commons)