Mental Health & Wellness Monterey - EMDR and Trauma

EMDR and Trauma

In EMDR, Trauma by Mary-Anne Wijting

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a proven counseling technique to address the negative emotional effects of suffering trauma. But what is trauma? Most people usually first think of obvious traumatic events, like losing your house in a fire, or witnessing a crime, or a soldier witnessing atrocities during war. These and others are obviously devastating events are indeed defined as trauma. We refer to them as large T-Traumas. However, there are many life events that are not that catastrophic and yet can have an equally negative impact – these are the small t-traumas and they are much more common than one might think. Maybe you have had an argument with a friend or a loved one and no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get over it. Or maybe you experienced some seemingly trivial incident, but you keep ruminating on it again and again. As hard as you try to ignore it, this thing remains locked in your psyche. When this happens you are not able to enjoy life or relationships like you did before.

Coping with Trauma

Regardless of whether the trauma is big-T or small-t, you react to them. Sometimes you process the experience without any negative consequences but other times your nervous system absorbs the trauma and seems to lock it away. Once it is stored like this, it will affect the way you react and respond to everyday life situations.

How does one cope? Some experience a deadening or numbing of emotions to help them cope. Others may ‘space out’ at times and no longer be fully present as it seems to help to get them through their day. These are negative coping strategies and can cause you to feel even more isolated and detached from the world around you.

EMDR for Trauma

EMDR is a psychotherapy that has been proven to be able to undo some of these dysfunctional strategies.

  • EMDR integrates the fragmented memories associated with trauma believed to be stored in the right hemisphere of the brain by using bilateral stimulation.
  • Bilateral stimulation helps the brain move the traumatic fragmented memory from the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere where meaning is made of it and where it can then be filed away.
  • The memory becomes dull and no longer vividly unsettling or re-traumatizing every time you think about it.

Somatic therapy and EMDR

Somatic therapy is a holistic therapy that studies the relationship between the mind and body in regard to past traumatic experiences. The underlying thought is that these events cause an involuntary physical response to the traumatic memory. In a way, the body has stored away the disturbing memory. Somatic therapy combined with EMDR is powerful counseling approach. This includes noticing and responding with curiosity to what is happening inside the body. Somatic psychotherapy combined with EMDR helps the therapist and the client track how the nervous system has reacted to the trauma and how these reactions have influenced subsequent behavior.

Are you suffering from traumatic memories like mentioned above? Contact me for a free counseling consultation today. My counseling practice is situated in Monterey and my contact number is 831-444-1747.

Mary-Anne Wijting, Counselor

PS: I accept payment from several insurances and payers: Aspire, Coastal, MBIPA, MHN, HMC Healthworks, Victims of Crime. Check on your insurance card under Mental Health benefits to verify what coverage you have.

Many clients pay cash for their sessions (my fee is $125 per session or lower negotiated rate in special circumstances) and then submit the superbill provided by me to their insurance for possible reimbursement. See here under the FAQ section for some more information.