Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
A psychotherapy method that
builds resiliency by resolving the emotional impact of traumatic experiences, including from childhood and addiction.
EMDR is a well-established and highly effective therapy intervention that assists with healing from traumatic experiences, including those that may be deeply buried and hidden from ourselves.
Fairly often, overwhelming and threatening experiences become "unthinkable and unspeakable" and will drive unconscious behavior that avoids deep emotional pain.
Sometimes, descriptive memories or words may not be accessible to describe early childhood or extremely painful memories. EMDR can be a very effective solution for healing, overcoming, and thriving because of the transformative effect.
None of us sign-up for trauma. It may not be ours to own. However, it is ours to transform from the
unthinkable and unspeakable
thinkable, speakable, and flourishable.
- Susie Wiet, MD
A Patient's Experience with EMDR - by Olga F.
“What happens to me during EMDR? I mean, what does it feel like?” This was the first question that I asked my provider (at Sovegna) before I agreed to even consider EMDR. She told me that it (EMDR) looks like “hoodoo voodoo” on the outside but that the technique can have a powerful effect to develop insight into past issues. That sounded scary to me. Did I really want to “look” at my past – at least parts of it? She assured me that we would first work on emotional safety, as well as new strategies to manage anything that would come up during a session or even afterward. I trusted her skills already, so, I agreed.
The preparation was easy and clear. I learned how to create a personalized “mindful container” (aka visualizing what kind of container and how I would use it) for stressful emotional content. I also learned how to assist myself with reducing perception of stress (aka reframing), along with a few other easy in-the-moment calming techniques. Later, I realized these skills were foundational for recovery and were essentially building my emotional resilience, setting the stage for healing. And I continue to use these very helpful techniques all the time, which continue to add to more inner strength, healing, and resilience.
Getting into the thick of the EMDR sessions, I quickly understood why my therapist had recommended this to me. We selected a starting point – a memory that was of particular importance for me to understand because of the uncertainty about myself and sadness that it created within me and that I had carried for years. Then the eye movement combined with structured guidance began.
The first couple of rounds
(about 45-60 seconds each)
felt awkward. With
reassurance, I was able to
let myself “see” that memory,
while knowing I was in
control of the session and
could elect to stop
at any time.
Much to my surprise, and once I allowed myself to observe the memory during the course of the eye movement, I was seeing myself and my experience of the experience in a whole new way. I recall telling myself to observe and remember what the process of EMDR was actuall doing, how or why it was helpful. And, as we continued with sets and sessions, each produced a similar phenomenon – I became the observer of myself and experiences.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Eye movement, bilateral sound, and/or tapping
YES, THIS DOES SOUND WEIRD
The initial sessions set the groundwork and roadmap for treatment. Creating safe space and emotional containers are essential havens for the in-depth resolution work. Sometimes this safety phase may be a bit longer for some clients vs. other clients, and readiness is determined by the skilled therapist.
The intensive work begins linking emotional memory with the executive center of the brain (prefrontal cortex). This is critical for the stubborn buried memories that have been neurobiologically disconnected from the area of the brain that makes sense out of our experiences, including those experiences that may have been overwhelmingly traumatic.
Such memories may have caused fight, flight, or freeze reactions and a myriad of dysfunctional behaviors. These challenging states will predictably be repeated over and over again, until we opt-into make those those memories fully conscious and presented to ourselves in the executive center, where the emotional memories that were previously hidden from self can finally be understood and let go.
I was going into my memories, noticing themes and influences across my life – as if I was observing frames of a movie somehow linked together through a stream of consciousness that was not observed, recognized, or understood during my day to day life across many years of depression and anxiety. And, each session, I felt lighter, even though I may have tackled some
emotionally intense content.
The coolest experience was when I started seeing myself making healthier choices in my daily activities, because I was now able to be my true self. I was no longer living by the beliefs I had learned because of experiences that had clouded or lied about my understanding of who I was and what I am truly capable of doing. The compassion for myself has been a tremendous gift that I know I wouldn’t have - nor the forgiveness that I'm now working on for others who caused me harm - if had not gone through EMDR.
I am deeply grateful to my therapist at Sovegna who encouraged me and helped me to heal from history that I never believed would be possible from which to recover. I would do it all over again, but I am so grateful that it is now behind me."
Compassion for self
and forgiveness of others...
gifts from EMDR