What is Trauma?
Trauma involves a deeply distressing experience. Often these experiences generate emotional shock that creates significant and sometimes lasting impacts on a person’s mental, physical and emotional capacities.
A traumatic event can be a single experience or a series of experiences. Trauma often occurs when our basic life assumptions are shattered (such as “the world is safe,” “people are good,” “I am in control”). After a traumatic event, an individual may experience feelings of powerlessness, fear, or hopelessness.
Trauma can also result from long-term exposure to situations such as extreme poverty, or enduring racism, discrimination, and/or oppression.
What is the impact of trauma?
Traditional talk therapy primarily focuses on changing limiting beliefs leading to insight and problem solving strategies. These interventions can be helpful, however, the part of the brain responding to traumatic experience may not benefit fully from cognitive-based interventions.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.