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Dear Trauma: EMDR changes lives

Heather Edwards Mental Health Counseling / Anxiety  / Dear Trauma: EMDR changes lives
trauma, emdr, therapy

Dear Trauma: EMDR changes lives

Dear trauma, I don’t need you anymore. You served a purpose and kept me safe in the face of danger. But now you’re getting in my way. I got this. Yours truly.

When trauma happens, your central nervous system reacts in one of 4 ways to protect you: 

  1. Fight – physically defending yourself 
  2. Flight – running away
  3. Freeze – if I don’t move, they won’t see me – think deer in headlights
  4. Faint – playing dead

It’s involuntary and automatic. It’s your body‘s way of protecting you in the moment. So, thank your body for doing that – and let it know you’re safe now.

In the case of PTSD and limiting beliefs, it’s not enough to know you’re safe. Your body’s protective mechanisms get frozen in time and stay stuck on high alert.  It’s on the lookout as if danger is lurking around every corner, all the time. You feel anxious, easily startled, and constantly question your gut instincts.

EMDR is an information re-processing therapy that uses your brain’s natural mechanisms for healing. It supports a re-do of emotionally charged material. It reprocesses information the way it was intended in the first place.  

By reestablishing a stabilization of your central nervous system, traumatic events become a thing of the past, no longer impacting you as if they are happening now. It gets you unstuck.

In the overwhelm of imminent danger, free will gets overridden. Your body goes on autopilot. EMDR helps engage the gears of information reprocessing to distance and desensitize what was once a living recurring nightmare. Limiting beliefs that prevent you from living your best life are reframed. 

trauma, emdrImagine beginning therapy with the belief:

“I’m unsafe.”

“I’m unworthy.” 

“I’m stupid.” 

“I’m lost.”

And ending therapy with the belief: 

“I’m free to be myself.”.

“I AM God’s daughter.”

“I’m capable.”

“I’m loved, and feel so fortunate.”

These are examples of actual EMDR therapy outcomes. Negative beliefs get stored in your body and brain because of powerful reactions to trauma or emotionally charged experiences. At the time of the event, it made sense. Now, it doesn’t and it’s holding you back. Reprocessing allows your brain to rewrite your life story – a story that’s accurate and free of fear.

As with any therapy, there are no promises in regard to outcomes and length of treatment. Both vary by individual and the issues being addressed. Single incident traumas can sometimes be resolved in a few sessions. Chronic childhood abuse and neglect can take a few months or more to clear. It’s hard work, but the benefits are life changing.

Heather Edwards, LMHC, BCC

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