EMDR and Trauma Resolution
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique designed to remove the profound effects of prior traumatic experiences. It is considered a cutting-edge treatment to help rewire the brain.
Emotional problems and destructive behavioral patterns are impossible to overcome when fueled by the ongoing influence of trauma. Enduring change requires the elimination of the potent effects of these memories or experiences. EMDR is effective in facilitating the elimination of pain from trauma, even when events are repressed or forgotten. Unconscious conflicts blocking desired change are identified, resolved and cleared out.
EMDR is a Rapid-Resolution Therapy
EMDR is often indicated in the treatment of victims of accidents and crimes, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, PTSD, loss, performance anxiety and anxiety/panic. Whether the trauma is a single incident or something to which someone is exposed over a long period of time, EMDR can provide quick and lasting relief.
During sleep, REM is responsible for processing data and information that is collected throughout the day. Either because our sleep patterns are interrupted or through today’s overstimulation, information that is left unprocessed joins on neural networks to create unhealthy patterns of behavior. It is through this processing that these networks open up, and the experiences soften. Through the use of specific protocols, the traumatic memory is retrieved, bilateral stimulation, either via eye movements, tappers, or both, or alternating tones, is presented and the powerful effects of the memory are reduced.
The length of treatment, like any therapy, varies depending on the process and goals of the patient. EMDR is typically incorporated into a more comprehensive therapeutic approach. EMDR sessions are generally done in longer sessions. Dr. Winter offers EMDR Intensives, whereby there are longer sessions scheduled consecutively, to meet your individual needs.
Feeling-State Therapy and the Feeling-State Addiction Protocol
According to feeling-state theory, every addiction has a positive feeling state attached to it, whether it be the associations from the beginnings of an arousal template or later feelings elicited by the drug use. Through the use of bilateral stimulation and within a time span much briefer than traditional therapy, these states can be cleared out and the associations weakened, both leading to a lesser or no desire to engage in the addictive behavior(s). In the end it weakens or eliminates urges and cravings of both substance and behavioral addictions.
The feeling state addiction protocol (FSAP) is an evidence-based treatment based on the principles of EMDR. It has been found to be effective in the treatment of substance-abuse as well as behavioral addictions (sex addiction, porn addiction, eating disorders, gambling, smoking) and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Following the de-linking of the arousal with the behavior, treatment for behavioral addictions resumes to assist in the development of healthy relationships with sex, food and money and to repair the betrayal bonds within the couple and/or family.
Trauma Treatment Requires a Skilled Clinician
It is important to emphasize that, like any form of therapy, EMDR is just one piece within a strong therapeutic alliance, a commitment to your process and a background and core skills in emotional and affect regulation. EMDR deliberately activates traumatic memory networks; as such, please take caution with anyone who presents themselves as “an EMDR therapist” without the basic training and experience in human development and trauma treatment. While EMDR itself is easy to master, when administered without expertise in working with trauma, this protocol proves challenging, fear-inducing and oftentimes traumatic for clinicians and re-traumatizing for clients. Again, EMDR offers powerful assistance, albeit one piece, of a process of recovery from trauma. And whether it be ongoing (developmental) trauma or single-episode (shock), trauma, it is critical to have someone adequately prepared, preferably certified in EMDR, to help you through your process.
Initially trained in 2007 by Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR, and later by EMDR Consulting, Dr. Winter is certified in EMDR by the Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing International Association (EMDRIA). She utilizes EMDR for both shock and developmental trauma as part of a treatment plan developed specifically for you. She is also trained in and utilizes feeling-state therapy and the feeling-state addiction protocol in the treatment of substance and behavioral addictions as well as obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
EMDR therapy is an accepted treatment for PTSD by the American Psychological Association (APA), Veteran’s Administration (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), and The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS).
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EMDR is considered a rapid resolution therapy. EMDR was developed, albeit by accident, in order to rewire the brain. Through the presentation of bilateral stimulation during the retrieval of the traumatic event, the power of the memory can shift into a place that is softer and palatable; it can weaken in strength. No, it does not make you forget or take away a memory but it creates distance from it such that it loses its hold on you and allows you to move on with your life.
Sleep provides an opportunity to defragment the brain, as a computer is defragmented. Think of a file room that, at the end of the day, that is cleaned up and put back in working order. With an accumulation of distressing moments coupled with poor lifestyle habits, like erratic sleep at best, there becomes a relatively untidy file room. With that, EMDR is indicated.
Over the years, patients have told me that EMDR can be painful. That is opens up their pain, as in ‘breakthrough’ and does not shut it down. This is, in fact, one of the benefits of EMDR. Often, and it has been the complaint of some, there is a need for a more intense protocol wherein the pain network opens and there is sufficient time, successive days even, in which to process the memory. Those same patients have reported that continued processing and/or a real fear to open the trauma occurs and can prevent them from doing the work that they need to do when the work is done in weekly sessions. That said, weekly EMDR is effective as well but this protocol provides more an opportunity for more rapid processing and a space for safety.
This powerful process is now available to you in a more condensed format. With daily sessions that span two (2) hours over five (5) days you can address that which burdens and limits you to create the life you want. Through this process, you can dig deep into the pain and release the powerful nature and control that is has and has had on your life and decisions. You have the opportunity to do weeks, even months of work, in just 5 days.
Please contact Dr. Barbara Winter for information on how this process can help you. There is an assessment process, initial consultation, treatment sessions and recovery. There are also two one-hour follow-up sessions via online portal or phone in order to assess your progress and provide support if needed. Intensives are typically done in a 5-day format and for 2 hours per day.
Pain From Trauma Can Be Unrelenting—Healing Starts Here
As a trauma specialist, I am able to guide you through your healing journey. Connect with me via phone or email today to begin the process of mending.
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