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Enjoy More Peace

Is what I experienced trauma?

Many people perceive "trauma" as limited to extreme experiences such as war, sexual assault, car accidents, and similar events. However, it is often chronic neglect, abuse, bullying, or any other experience - whether a single event or pattern of treatment - that constitutes trauma. A question to ask yourself is, "Did what happened to me negatively change the way I view myself and the way I interact in the world?"

It’s hard to make lasting changes if you don’t really understand why you get in your own way – where it started and why it started. So, of course, many well-intended people make great effort toward change that doesn’t last because they stay on the surface of the problem. You can get what you want.

If you have been the victim of a crime in Colorado or Arizona, you may qualify for payment of some therapy through Victim Services. Contact me to learn more.

 

 

EMDR

 

 

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a well-researched and established therapy that combines imagery, mindfulness, and cognitive techniques to treat PTSD and disturbance from traumatic events, abuse, or neglect. EMDR is recommended as an effective treatment for trauma in the Practice Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association, and those of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. EMDR therapy is included as a valid, evidence-based approach in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

EMDR therapy integrates elements of several traditional psychological orientations and is based on the Adaptive Information Processing model (AIP). The AIP model suggests there is an inherent information processing system in the brain that gets blocked when disturbing events occur, causing these events to get stuck in the brain with the original image, sounds, thoughts, emotions and body sensations. Whenever a reminder of the disturbing event is triggered, those pictures, thoughts, emotions, and sensations can also be triggered. EMDR therapy helps the brain reprocess these painful memories, and as a result alleviates the emotional and psychological distress.

 

The process of EMDR typically involves focusing on a disturbing memory while visually following an alternating visual and/or tactile pattern. Alternating tones via earphones may also be incorporated. This process, combined with specific, proven protocols enables the brain to resolve emotional trauma and gain insight into the circumstance or event in a way that is often more effective than traditional talk therapy alone.

Denver EMDR therapist couples counseling

The number of sessions required for EMDR varies depending on the issues being addressed. A single traumatic incident that is the subject of EMDR treatment can typically be resolved in five or six sessions, including the intake and preparation. However, for multiple traumas or a history of past abuse, trauma, or neglect, EMDR can take longer for resolution.

EMDR Intensives

In addition to standard EMDR sessions, I also offer intensives. Intensives can work in ways that are more efficient than utilizing standard talk-therapy techniques. With EMDR processing, we can desensitize negative experiences and change the negative belief about yourself that has been encoded onto the memory in order to reframe the brain's negative meaning and truly heal. This means more material can be processed and healed more quickly in an intensive session than is possible in traditional weekly therapy. These typically are 2-3 hours of EMDR work, a 60-90 minute break, and another 2-3 hours.

Denver EMDR therapist couples counseling

Frequently Asked Questions

How does EMDR work?

 

While the precise mechanisms that enable EMDR to work continue to be researched, many researchers believe that bilateral stimulation – the alternating eye movements and/or tactile sensations – enable internal associations to arise that allow you to process disturbing events and heal. When you incur a physical injury or illness, treatment assists your body to work toward healing the wound. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. Your brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. Using the protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, I help you activate your natural healing processes.

 

Can I still be treated with EMDR if I have a history of migraines or eye issues?

 

While some studies suggest eye movements may be more effective than the pulsers alone, many clients prefer to use only a tactile option and are equally able to successfully process disturbing events.

 

What does it mean if a therapist is EMDR Certified?

Some therapists have taken the basic and maybe even some advanced EMDR training but are not certified. EMDR Certification means the therapist has not only performed a minimum number sessions over at least two years using EMDR, but has also been EMDR supervised for a minimum number of hours and demonstrated a level of competence to be considered certified. I am EMDR Certified and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and offer consultation to therapists learning this method.

 

What can I expect in EMDR sessions?

 

After EMDR has been identified as the appropriate treatment method for the presenting concern(s), and preparation including history-taking, assessment for readiness, and resource development has occurred, an EMDR session begins with identifying a belief you have about yourself in the context of the disturbing event or circumstance, and identifying a belief you would prefer to hold. While focusing on the disturbing event or image, you will experience a series of bilateral stimulation (BLS) – this can be watching lights on a light bar or screen moving back and forth and/or holding a pulser in each hand and feeling alternating vibrations in your hands. In online therapy, you may lightly tap near your collarbones using a method called, "Butterfly Hug." Between BLS, you will be asked what you notice, and sometimes what physical sensations are felt, if any. Progress is measured by monitoring the level of the event's/memory's disturbance, typically using a 0-10 scale. At the end of a session, many clients report that while they continue to recall the event, it no longer feels disturbing to them.

After we process the past memories in a specific memory network, we process the present triggers associated with the memory network in a similar fashion. You then envision a future scenario that might have previously triggered an undesired response but this time with the new view of yourself.

 

More information about EMDR can be found in the videos below and at the EMDRIA website:

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