Life is full of beautiful moments, belly laughs, and loving memories.
Yet, life also takes us through times of pain, loss, and heartbreak. And while some of those experiences may be temporary or leave us with a meaningful lesson, others may stay with us and hurt us along the way.
You may have suffered an accident, a violent encounter, or the death of a family member. Or perhaps you have been carrying the wounds of abuse for a long time and haven’t been able to talk about it.
You may not realize it, but those disturbing experiences can be traumatic and impact your thoughts, emotions, and relationships.
Trauma can hinder your life. But it doesn’t have to.
I believe that human beings are resilient creatures capable of change and growth. And I am here to support that transformation.
If you, your partner, or anyone in your family is in pain due to trauma, I can help.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a natural emotional reaction to a disturbing or distressing event. Trauma can have short-term effects such as disbelief or denial and long-term consequences like impulsive emotions, flashbacks, and physical pain.
Some experiences that may cause trauma include:
- Transportation accidents (e.g., vehicle, train, plane)
- Natural catastrophes (e.g., hurricane, earthquake)
- Global crises (e.g., pandemic)
- Physical or psychological abuse
- Criminal or animal attacks
- Death of a loved one
- Military combat or warfare
- Divorce or end of a relationship
Events of less severity, such as bullying, public humiliation, or discrimination, can also have a traumatic impact.
Do I Need Trauma Therapy?
While some people can move past traumatic experiences, others struggle to process them and remain at a loss on how to cope. Unprocessed trauma can bring physical and emotional consequences that may prevent you from functioning and enjoying your life.
These lasting effects are also known as symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While not all trauma survivors meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, the symptoms can be debilitating.
Some of the common signs of post-traumatic stress include:
- Flashbacks or nightmares about the trauma
- Disturbing thoughts about the experience
- Persistent worry or alertness
- Moodiness or being constantly on edge
- Withdrawing from people or places
- Difficulty focusing or finding motivation
- Feeling helpless and lost
- Restlessness and trouble sleeping
PTSD signs can vary in severity and may not all show up at the same time. Some people struggle with remembering the event, avoid thinking or talking about it.
I understand that speaking about painful experiences is not easy. Even if these incidents happened a long time ago, they might still be very much alive in you, causing distress and fear.
If you are battling with any of these kinds of post-traumatic symptoms, EMDR therapy can help.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR therapy was developed to treat PTSD and other disorders in the late 80s. The goal of EMDR therapy is to help individuals reprocess the memory of the upsetting incident to ease the lingering effects of trauma.
When we experience a traumatic situation, we enter our “fight-or-flight” mode, responding with specific thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations to protect us from perceived danger. If the event remains unprocessed, those emotions and physical signs may stay with us and show up unannounced in the future.
EMDR therapy is a mind-body technique that helps you focus on the traumatic memory while undergoing bilateral stimulation (e.g., eye movements, vibrations, or tones). The objective is to activate your nervous system to help you reprocess trauma and lessen the symptoms linked to it.
Some of the benefits of EMDR therapy include:
- Remembering blocked or repressed traumatic events
- Gaining insight into your trauma and where it comes from
- Understanding and becoming desensitized to triggers
- Reducing harmful symptoms
- Changing limiting thoughts or behaviors
- Learning sustainable coping strategies
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
EMDR therapy enables your brain to restore and recover. The idea is to help you change how the memory is stored so you can process it, adapt, and move forward with your life.
EMDR therapy has eight phases:
Your therapist will get to know you, gather your history, and perform an assessment. Together, you will identify treatment goals and targets for the session.
Then, your therapist will explain how EMDR works, show you coping strategies, and introduce the bilateral stimulation technique.
3. Assessment of Target Memory
Next, your EMDR therapist will conduct an assessment, choosing and activating the target memory to be reprocessed. You will also identify your target’s components: image, cognition, emotion, and sensation.
During this stage, you will focus on the target memory while practicing bilateral stimulation to start desensitizing and reprocessing.
Bilateral stimulation is a standard procedure that consists of eye movements or rhythmic activities with oscillating light, synchronized tappers, or alternating tones that stimulate your nervous system. Your therapist will ask you about your target as you receive the stimuli.
This phase may be challenging, but keep in mind that your therapist will be there to support you through the entire process.
Your therapist will incorporate a positive cognition to go along with the bilateral stimulation and make adjustments as necessary.
6. Body Scan
Next, you will be prompted to scan your body’s sensations while thinking about the traumatic experience and the positive cognition. If there is residual distress, your therapist may use bilateral stimulation or other procedures to process it.
EMDR sessions end with a debrief, where you discuss how the treatment went and prepare the next steps. If the memory is not fully reprocessed, your therapist will provide recommendations until you meet again.
During and in-between future sessions, you and your therapist will work together to track your progress, check if new memories or triggers emerge, and evaluate possible new targets.
EMDR Therapy at Self Compassion Life
I started Self Compassion Life to help individuals heal from trauma and overcome life’s challenges.
I have advanced training in EMDR therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), among other specialties. I use a mind-body approach, combining EMDR, self-compassion, and mindfulness to empower you with coping skills and find the balance you deserve.
Services are currently provided online, both in English and Spanish.
If you or someone you love are fighting with trauma, I’m here for you.
Call me at 407.968.6534 or contact me today.