The voodoo that EMDR do.
I wanted to briefly post about EMDR. What is it? How does it work? Why does it work? Well the simple answer is voodoo. Crazy, cool, effective voodoo. EMDR is a very interesting process, it has a sound research base and has been around for many years. It was founded by Francine Shapiro in 1987 (read the entire story: https://www.emdr.com/history-of-emdr/). The basic idea is to use bilateral stimulation in conjunction with trauma memories and specific cognitions to help you heal or reprocess your trauma experiences.
To do the reprocessing, we will do a history gathering interview in which we identify trauma memories, lump these into categories of negative cognitions (ex: I'm not good enough, I'm not safe, it was my fault) then identify specific times (earliest, most significant) you have had these thoughts, then you identify how your body feels and emotions that are coming up; you will notice these feelings then I engage the bilateral (eye movement or tactile).
With the virtual platform I use a website called emdrremote.com, on this you log in and connect to me. Then I control a light bar; in person I use a tactile method of creating the bilateral stimulation.
Why bilateral stimulation you ask? Well the thought (or rather how I think of it) is about the activity it creates in the brain. This brain activity allows you to "refile" the trauma memory so you feel less flooded by the memory or by the emotions. The goal is that you will be able to be moving through life: seeing, hearing, smelling or thinking and feeling things that align with the trauma narrative (trauma associations) and not get lost in the past trauma. You will stay grounded in this moment; this dual awareness allows for you to feel safe and notice your thoughts/feelings while moving forward in the here and now. A common metaphor used to help with this is to notice the scenery pass by while you are a train, or (my personal favorite visual) watching a leaf float on a river while you stay on your comfy picnic blanket. With our trauma we can watch our trauma memories and not become disconnected from the comfort and safety of who/where we are now.
By leaning into this treatment protocol and all of those uncomfortable trauma memories, you can heal and resolve some painful memoires from your past to no longer be held hostage by it.