Posts Tagged ‘EMDR’

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Part two: Recovering from birth trauma

Last week, we discussed the story of Betty’s traumatic birth here. This week,  we’ll discuss Betty’s healing plan from a traumatic birth. Betty ‘s husband helped her find a therapist who specialized in trauma and perinatal mood disorders by using Google and looking through Psychology Today profiles.  Betty was fortunate in that she had babysitting assistance from her mother and mother-in-law. Betty also was able to take extend time off from work, as she had been steadily employed at the same company for many years, her work was well respected and she had an understanding supervisor. Not all woman have these options. Betty knew this and she was grateful for the foundation that she had in place.

Betty approached her first visit with her therapist with trepidation. Betty was cautious. Like many trauma survivors, she didn’t want to endlessly talk about her trauma, because, somehow, talking about the incident felt like it might be re-traumatizing to her.  But she was feeling bad and she was curious about the new trauma treatments called Somatic Experiencing® (SE) and EMDR.  She had researched EMDR and found there was 30 years of research supporting its efficacy, so she was hopeful.

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Part One: Recovering from birth trauma

Part One: Recovering from birth trauma

 

 

Betty was feeling very down, anxious and disconnected. She had given birth to her third child just twelve weeks ago! Her new baby was a joy. He was beautiful and perfect. And so much work as well!  Betty had never missed sleep so much in her life! He was her second baby, her first son. She thought she should feel very happy.  But she just felt empty. There was so much work to do, so much laundry and so much responsibility!  She was crying often and felt distant from her family: her baby,  her other child  and her husband.

She felt happiness sometimes, but often felt removed from her life, like she was standing outside her body.  Her husband researched some therapists she could try to see close to her home. At the urging of her husband and her mother, she called three and settled on someone who was trained in perinatal mood disorders and trauma therapies.

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Does Clara have Anxiety or PTSD?

 

Clara had an accident about two years ago.  She had slipped on the ice in her driveway,  fallen and as a result, gotten a concussion. She then struggled with post-concussion syndrome, enduring neck pain, headaches and awful vertigo spells. She took lots of time and effort in going to multiple doctors trying to get help, including a neurologist.

 

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PTSD, Flashbacks and Post-Traumatic Growth

One day, Dave was having a quiet day in his workshop. He was working on his model trains, his favorite hobby. He was looking at the tracks, the way the lines interweave all around the room. And he started to think about what he had seen a few months ago in his work as a police officer. He remembered what it was like to be the first responder to the scene of a suicide. The image of the suicide scene was riveting; it seemed burned into his brain and into his retina.  In his workshop, he became very distressed and started to sweat. His stomach hurt,  and felt nauseated.  Tunnel vision occurred and he felt all consumed by this one moment in time. He couldn’t get out of himself. Suddenly there was a flood of intense emotions, his heart started  to pound, his breathing was  shallow and erratic thoughts overwhelmed him.

He stood up, trying to shake the swirl of emotions and intense body feelings, that seemed all mixed together. It was like his stomach hurt but it was all tied into his emotions, too. There was no line between the physical pain and the emotional pain; his emotions and his body feelings were all tied together. He pulled into himself and felt like no one could possibly understand what was happening to him. Intense fear gripped him and he felt like he was leaving his body.

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EMDR: Tapping in for Self Healing a Broken Heart

(IStock) EMDR Healing a Broken Heart

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a well researched therapy used to treat trauma and strong emotional states.  There are several components to EMDR.

Identify Positive Emotional Resources

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EMDR, PTSD, Neuroplasticity and “Limbic System Therapy”

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapy used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the Director of the Trauma Institute in Boston, is a strong proponent of EMDR for the treatment of trauma.

Learning and reconditioning of existing circuits occur when neuronal connections are built and rebuilt. What wires together, fires together. (Istock:Sahskinw)

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, over a lifetime of treating persons with trauma, has evolved the treatment of trauma to include what he calls “limbic system therapy” (van der Kolk, 2015). Limbic system therapy uses body-based therapies to focus on calming reactive hyper- and hypo -aroused emotional brain centers using body based therapies.

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What’s an EMDR session like?

When is it a good time for you to try EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a mindbody approach to therapy that’s effective with trauma and moving stuck emotional places. EMDR as a treatment modality, is best used with someone who is stable in his or her mental health treatment. For example, someone with untreated clinical depression needs to address the depression before beginning EMDR treatment. Or someone with bipolar disorder needs to be stable on their medication for at least six months prior to beginning EMDR treatment or a person struggling with addiction needs to be stable in recovery for at least a year before beginning EMDR treatment.  Persons with complex trauma, such as persons subjected to ongoing childhood sexual abuse, should have a good understanding of their abuse before undertaking EMDR. EMDR is appropriate for persons who suffered a single incident trauma.

Why use EMDR?

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Re-opening my private practice in Wayne, NJ

I’m announcing the grand re-opening of my private psychotherapy practice.

I’ll be returning to my former location at:
1581 Route 23 South in Wayne, New Jersey

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Part Three: EMDR & Listening to Women

This article originally appeared in Science and Sensibility.

In this series about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Part One looked at qualitative research evaluating EMDR as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (childbirth onset). In Part Two, EMDR clinicians weighed in on their feelings about the safety of EMDR during pregnancy.

Mend a broken heart When those EMDR posts were published, I received a lot of behind the scenes feedback from women who either loved or hated their experiences with EMDR; there didn’t seem to be a middle ground!

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