EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

5/5/2010

Reduce and Eliminate Intrusive Thoughts with EMDR

Have you ever had Intrusive Thoughts such as when you can’t stop thinking about the abuser or when a thought about him pops into your head for no apparent reason? Have you ever had a trigger (a person, place, thing, scent or event) that reminds you of a good memory of the abuser which is then immediately followed by a bad memory of him? The good and bad memories together are called Cognitive Dissonance and can be very distressful for the person experiencing it. Have you ever wondered why would you have two belief systems at the same time? It’s because you’ve been in a relationship with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Most of all, would you like all those symptoms to stop?

EMDR which is now being offered by The Institute during selected retreats which is a phased treatment approach (developed in 1989 by psychologist Francine Shapiro), that has been extensively researched and proven to be effective for the treatment of trauma-based disorders. (See www.emdr.com)

The most common trauma disorder is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This disorder develops after a person experiences an event (or multiple events) so disturbing that they are unable to process what happened to heal from it.

The kinds of “Big T” traumas that can sometimes lead to PTSD include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Childhood or adult abuse (physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual)
  • Rape
  • Combat
  • Extreme illness or sudden death of a loved one
  • Assault (experiencing or witnessing)
  • Natural Disasters
  • Dog bites
  • Auto Accidents
  • And we now know, Pathological Love Relationships

Not everyone experiences the full spectrum of symptoms listed below, but if you are experiencing several or all of these, you may be experiencing a “trauma-based” disorder:

  • Heightened sense of danger
  • Exaggerated startle response (Hyper-vigilance)
  • Anger/irritability
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Flashbacks (as if it’s happening again, right now)
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep Difficulties
  • Numbing
  • Substance Abuse
  • Difficulty focusing, making decisions, poor judgment
  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Obsessing about the Abuser or an incident
  • Decline in work performance
  • Feelings of insanity or loss of control
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Distress at exposure to events that resemble or symbolize an incident
  • Avoidance of activities or situations that arouse memories of an incident.

Sometimes we suffer from “small t” traumas. While they are more common, they too are extremely painful:

  • Divorce of parents
  • Bullying
  • Teasing
  • Shaming
  • Humiliation or constant criticism.

These kinds of experiences can pile up during childhood and affect our behavior in adulthood. As an adult, you may not consider them traumatic, but to a child they can be. The belief systems that are established during small or large traumas can set the stage for problematic intrusive or obsessional thinking. EMDR is found to be one of the most effective methods for reducing and/or eliminating those problematic symptoms.

Why did I get involved in EMDR and How Can It Help You?

My name is Bill Brennan L.M.H.C., C.A.P. I am a psychotherapist in private practice in Ormond Beach, FL and began using EMDR in a dual diagnosis hospital treating addicts who had additional psychiatric diagnoses. Patients reported (and continue to report) positive resolution of traumatic memories in at least 98% of the sessions. EMDR helps clients to heal more fully and deeply than with just ‘talk therapy’. That’s because the desensitization and reprocessing removes the pain of the memory while empowering you to choose and install new positive beliefs to cancel out the lies and emotional contradictions the abuser gave you. Intrusive thoughts are one of the top three symptom complaints in the recovery of Pathological Love Relationships. The good news is that EMDR is highly effective in reducing and/or eliminating the intrusive imagery.

The Institute will be offering a powerful combination of their Healing the Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationships Retreat + several days of my EMDR treatment. Stay tuned for when this retreat will be offered to be part of the Power Practices to get your recovery back on track!

Join me in the next issue when we’ll talk more about PTSD and other types of trauma and what an EMDR session consists of.