EMDR Therapy

Is The Past Stopping You From Enjoying The Present?

Do you feel as if you will never overcome a distressing event from your life? Are you experiencing flashbacks that force you to relive painful memories? Is the amount of time you are asleep reduced because of constant nightmares?

Although you try to live in the moment, you can’t seem to shake away distressing moments from your past. You know you don’t want to be defined by your past, but moving on from a painful experience is harder than you thought.

If you were the victim of abuse, you might be struggling to trust anyone again. While the scars others left on you have faded, the internal wounds still won’t go away.

As you grapple with anxiety and depression that are the result of your experience, you may find that you are no longer living the life you want for yourself. Perhaps debilitating headaches, stomach aches, or a lingering sense of fear prevent you from ever wanting to leave the comfort of your own home.

Or maybe you are the parent of a child who is no longer acting like themselves. Withdrawing from their friends, not eating, and no longer talking to you, you may be worried that something deeper is going on with them. As a parent, it can be hard to pinpoint what is going on with your child–is it just a phase? Or are the effects of a past event causing stress and behavioral changes?

No matter what the event was or the age it occurred, trauma can have lasting effects on the person that experienced it. Yet, going to therapy for your trauma can help you heal from the past.

Trauma Can Impact Any Person At Any Stage Of Life

We have all heard the phrase “time heals all wounds,” and unfortunately, many people believe that this old adage is the absolute truth. It is common for people to think that distance is healing. That as more time passes, wounds will heal then you will feel better. Sadly, this is not always the case.

At some point, we will all experience a traumatic event in our lives — but not everyone will react the same way. What could be considered traumatizing for one person might hardly affect another. As such, traumatic events can be broken down into two main categories: big “T” trauma and little “t” trauma. Some examples of big “T” trauma are car accidents, sexual or domestic abuse, mental abuse, and neglect, while little “t” trauma may refer to the build up of distress over time.

These instances of little “t” trauma may seem inconsequential at the time but can have dramatic effects on a person’s mental health. For instance, if you are noticing changes in your child’s behavior or mood, it could be related to something simple. Your child could be experiencing PTSD from a bullying incident, embarrassment from an incident at school, or a learning disability that causes them to feel shame.

Trauma can be tricky because we may not experience symptoms from PTSD in a timeline that seems logical. It could take months, sometimes even years, for the effects of trauma to sink in. As we reach adulthood, we may still have unresolved trauma from our childhoods that are still causing us distress.

It can be hard not to feel hopeless when you are trying to overcome past trauma. Seeking treatment for your trauma can feel scary, and you may be hesitant to talk about it. Working with a trauma counselor, however, can give you a renewed sense of hope for a better future.

 

Trauma Therapy Can Help You Defeat Your Past

I understand how difficult it can be to try and not be defined by the past. So much of who you are is because of the experiences you went through. And though your history is what has shaped you, that does not mean that your experiences need to hold you captive. As a trauma therapist, I want to help you overcome the obstacles that have blocked your path.

We will begin your therapeutic journey through an intake session where we will discuss the symptoms you are experiencing and how long you have been dealing with them. We will look at various aspects of your childhood, parents, and past relationships to better understand what has molded you into the person you are today.

If you believe that your child is suffering because of a traumatic event, I will meet with you separately to get their history and what they are experiencing right now. We will discuss what goals you hope your child can achieve through counseling for trauma.

Trauma is best approached through a treatment process called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This is a scientifically backed and well-known method to help people of all ages overcome trauma. While the name makes this therapy approach seem scarier than it is, it is a really simple process with major benefits.

When a person experiences something traumatic, the moment becomes frozen in time in their brains. As time goes on and the person remembers that event, the images, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with that event are embedded into their brains — causing them to feel as if they are reliving the event all over again. This in turn triggers symptoms of PTSD, leaving the person feeling as distressed as they were during the initial event.

Before I begin the reprocessing phase with EMDR, I will help you build the necessary coping skills to regulate your emotions in a healthier manner. These tools that you will learn during my counseling sessions will help you learn how to deal with PTSD and anxiety more effectively.

I will then initiate the EMDR session by focusing on a specific issue you are trying to overcome. As your brain recalls the event, what you felt, heard, and saw, we will focus on what your current thoughts are towards the event. Using guided eye movements as you focus on the past event, you’ll begin to take notice of whatever comes to mind. Continuing these sets of eye movements, we will repeat this process until the memory becomes less disturbing and we turn your thoughts towards the event into something positive such as, “I know I did the best I could.”

Instead of focusing solely on the details of the traumatic event, EMDR places emphasis on the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that are occurring when the memory is being reprocessed. And by the end of the session, you should find that the traumatic event you experienced no longer holds you completely captive. With the right support, you can overcome traumatic experiences and fully live in the present.

You may still have concerns about trauma therapy…

I’m worried that I will have to talk a lot about old trauma.
With EMDR, the focus is not on the details of the trauma. Instead, we focus on the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations surrounding the traumatic event. Trauma treatment does not focus on making you forget about the event, but rather, it helps you cope with how your body responds to the memory of the trauma. As an adaptive response, EMDR will teach you how to reprocess these negative emotions and feelings you are experiencing into something more adaptive and positive.
Will EMDR cause me pain?
EMDR is a gentle and verified approach for trauma treatment. You may experience intense or heightened emotions and some people may experience bodily sensations as their brain reprocesses the event. The thoughts, feelings, and body sensations are a part of the old trauma memory, so when we do EMDR, it helps the brain to reprocess and digest the event better.
I’m afraid of being judged...maybe what I went through really wasn’t that bad.
We all process distressing events differently. Just because someone else may have experienced something worse than you, does not make your situation insignificant. Whatever your situation is, it is worth it to receive support to overcome it. You will never be judged for anything in my office.

Trauma Counseling Can Help You Find Peace

If you are unsure if counseling can help you with your PTSD, I am happy to offer you a free 20- minute phone consultation. Or you can contact me through my website’s form or call me at (678)740-3990.

Introduction to EMDR Video

Courtesy of EMDR International Association

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Sunshine Child & Family Counseling

Location:

4080 McGinnis Ferry Rd. Suite 1304
Alpharetta, Ga 30005

 

inquiry@sunshinechildcounseling.com

Tel: 678-740-3990
Fax: 844-903-4670

 

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