Unresolved Trauma and EMDR


“Healing does not mean the damage never existed,
it means the damage no longer controls our lives.”

– Akshay Dubay

Many times, people may not call their past negative experiences trauma (whether they be circumstantial, natural, intentional, or not). It is difficult even for professionals to define what is a traumatic experience and what is not because people will often react to the same experience differently. For others, they are able to easily identify traumatic experiences of their past and have a clear understanding of how it is impacting them in the present. Although no two people have the exact same reaction to trauma, many do experience similar symptoms.

 Symptoms can include:

  • Depressive symptoms and/or anxious symptoms
  • Feeling a loss of safety
  • Confusing emotional experiences
  • Difficulty creating and maintaining healthy, long-term relationships
  • Loss of connection with self and spirituality
  • Self-defeating behaviors
  • Addictions and compulsive behaviors
  • Having an over-reactive or under-reactive response (more than or less than the situation warrants)
  • Feelings of personal defectiveness
  • Physical symptoms

What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy treatment that enables individuals to heal from symptoms from traumatic or difficult life experiences.  It uses a client's strengths in mind, body, and spirit to desensitize their distress, reclaim and nurture their wounded self, and connect to their feelings. With EMDR a client can experience a new freedom, a sense of new power, and a spiritual connection.

Numerous controlled studies have shown EMDR to be a very effective form of psychotherapy with a significant reduction of symptoms that traditional talk therapy cannot accomplish alone. It is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs as one of the most effective treatments for PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

EMDR is a more brief and effective treatment for the following issues:

  • Traumatic experiences and events
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Disturbing memories
  • Past sexual, emotional or physical abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Fear to a specific situation
  • Depression and a sense of powerlessness
  • Grief and loss
  • Low self-esteem
  • Compulsive Behaviors or patterns
  • "Stuck Points" in your life that you can't seem to move past
  • Relationship Problems
  • Health Problems/Health Conditions
  • Habitual negative beliefs about self or others

How Does EMDR work?

During the EMDR sessions, I will ask you to focus on a disturbing memory, emotion, body sensation or trigger while applying bilateral stimulation which repeatedly activates the right and left sides of the brain.  Bilateral stimulation just means that the client will be asked to listen to tones in earphones that go back and forth from left ear to right ear while they hold vibrating pulsers or "buzzers" in each hand or focus on a moving object.  While the bilateral stimulation occurs they will also be asked to mentally focus on their "target" (memory image, body sensation or emotion).  Bilateral stimulation assists the neuro-physiological system to release emotional experiences that get stuck and return the mind and body to a greater sense of ease and self-agency. Clients often express a sense of "freedom" from the experience being processed with reduced emotional distress, new insights, and a new sense of ability to handle and overcome the distressing situation. EMDR can be effective for those troubling memories or ingrained patterns of behavior that traditional talk therapy has not fully helped you shift.

Contact me to see how EMDR may help you gain freedom from your past! I provide in-person appointments at my offices in Troy & Ann Arbor locations. Online appointments are available for residents of Michigan and Arizona




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