When we reflect on our past, we are often unaware of how the small challenges we experienced actually impact how we feel and act today. Stories about the first day of school and separation anxiety, or the first sleepover at a friend’s house, to the first sexual experience, to a challenging job interview can impact us in ways that are significant and could be the root of anxiety, anger, or chronic stress.
How Does EMDR Help You Access Memories?
Memories can sometimes get stuck in the brain in the original state along with the emotions and the physical sensations. Typically, when something bad happens, it is felt physically first, then emotionally, and then the brain processes it. As you continue to work through your experience, you think more about it, perhaps seek out support, and then through the passage of time, you make peace with the situation. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) targets the situations or memories that are not processed and utilizes what is thought to be an accelerated conscious version of REM sleep.
What Happens in an EMDR Session?
In an EMDR session, you are asked to think about a troubling situation at the same time as bilateral stimulation is happening (i.e. taps, eye movement, beeps). The metaphor of a train is used to help an individual understand processing and provide assistance when they get stuck. Noticing what is coming up and letting the brain go where it needs to go is key to EMDR. Throughout the session you will be asked at regular intervals to report what you are thinking, feeling or sensations in your body. This self-report allows the therapist to monitor the reprocessing and to ensure that you don’t get stuck on the “train tracks”. As the reprocessing and desensitization occurs the situation begins to feel less and less distressing. The goal of EMDR is for you to make peace with the situation and be able to say, “That was bad, but I am ok.” Learn more about EMDR for PTSD and Trauma Counselling by contacting Annette Poechman today.
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