Trauma can be defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. The events that could be considered traumatic are wide ranging and could include anything from distress from a divorce, accidents and bereavement to extreme experiences of war, sexual assault, domestic violence, and childhood physical/emotional/sexual abuse. Everyone processes a traumatic event differently because we all internalize and recount these events through different lenses.
Because trauma reactions fall across a wide spectrum, psychologists have developed categories as a way to differentiate between types of trauma. Among them are complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and developmental trauma disorder.
Often, shock and denial are typical reactions to a traumatic event. Over time, these emotional responses may fade, but a survivor may also experience reactions long-term. These can include: Anger, Persistent feelings of sadness and despair, Flashbacks, Unpredictable emotions, Physical symptoms, such as nausea and headaches, Intense feelings of guilt, as if they are somehow responsible for the event, An altered sense of shame, and/or Feelings of isolation and hopelessness.
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. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. 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. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Whether you are recovering from past trauma, are going through a current crisis, or looking towards making future changes in your life, you don’t have to work through it alone.