Who Is A Good Candidate for EMDR Therapy?
Is Trauma Keeping You From Moving Forward In Life?
Are you haunted by traumatic experiences from your childhood? Do you struggle with memories, images, sights, and sounds that come back to you after trying to push them away? Does a voice inside your head tell you that you’re worthless, lazy, and no good?
Maybe you can’t sleep and feel weighed down by the ever-present past. If your trauma stems from abuse in past relationships, perhaps you’ve lost trust in others--and now you constantly wonder if your partner is for or against you. Or maybe you feel powerless and like an unworthy imposter. It’s as if you have no control over your career or your life goals—you’re just drifting from one phase of life to the next without any real stake in your future.
Trauma can leave you tense and cause you to suffer from low self-worth. And underneath these feelings lie difficult memories that you may struggle to control, memories that resurface at unexpected times. Repressed or not, trauma can take away your sense of safety. You may even lose your ability to gauge a person’s true intentions because when you assumed the best in the past, the worst happened.
The impact of trauma is long-lasting. You might feel that you live in the shadow of your hurtful experiences and that these experiences follow you wherever you go—ready to sabotage your life and hopes and dreams for the future.
Yet no matter how heavily your experiences weigh on you, there is hope for tomorrow--trauma therapy can be the bridge to the future you want. Treatment can help you face trauma from your past and experience joy in life again.
Trauma Is Incredibly Common
According to a survey from the World Health Organization, 70 percent of people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives1. And that is despite gender, economic background, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (though women and minorities do have a higher likelihood of trauma due to unique societal vulnerabilities.)
Dealing with trauma is challenging because it causes us to lose the control we once exercised in our lives. And admitting momentary powerlessness can make us feel weak or as though something is wrong with us, even when the experience happens through no fault of our own.
What’s more, unlike many negative experiences that we can just shake off, trauma embeds itself deeply into our psyche and can lead to complications such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and a number of mental and physical health challenges that require professional treatment 2.
Ultimately, when we don’t have the right tools to access the innermost parts of ourselves, we can’t release the painful experiences that come from trauma. And this inability to access our pain is only exacerbated by living in a culture that rewards external success more than sound emotional health. We have been socialized to place our emotions second to achievement, and therefore may struggle to connect with our pain.
Additionally, as young people, many of us may have lacked a positive role model to show us what dealing with painful experiences in a healthy way looks like. So again, we struggle to see, feel, and connect with our pain. Furthermore, maybe we avoid therapy because we fear being stigmatized and called “broken” for seeking help for trauma.
Yet you are not broken. You are, like anyone, a person impacted by tough experiences in life who is in need of healing. And a trauma therapist can help you work through these experiences so that you can strive for your goals without the past weighing you down.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Heal From Your Past And Take Ownership Of Your Life
If your past feels too present in your life and it seems impossible to let it go, then maybe you could benefit from trauma therapy. Counseling can give you the skills to cope with trauma and help you build a plan for the life you deserve. Cedar and Oaks Counseling PLC offers a warm, inviting, and encouraging environment where you can get to the root of your experiences and explore as much as you feel comfortable without judgment or re-traumatization.
The intake process consists of filling out forms along with a questionnaire through a secure online portal. In our first in-person meeting, you will have the chance to share additional information such as symptoms, your current support system, educational background, medical history, spiritual beliefs, and hobbies and interests. This information, though it might seem unrelated, can actually serve as a foundation for ongoing sessions to rest on. It will help us understand what resources you already have access to for healing.
Our sessions together will start by cultivating a safe space where you are in the driver’s seat and can “pump the brakes” as needed. if you need to stop communicating at any point, you can. As we create a safe environment together, we can explore the traumas you’ve experienced and coping strategies (e.g. positive thoughts, a supportive partner, movement) you can use to deal with them. We will identify strategies that work for you to effectively manage stress and recurring memories.
Trauma treatment also can help you:
Regulate your nervous system toward a calmer state
Create a safe space within yourself
Develop healthy boundaries
Assert yourself and say “NO”
Reestablish trust in others and rebuild relationships
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one modality that has helped many of our clients reconnect with themselves without re-traumatization. Through the use of rapid-eye movements, EMDR can allow you to gently revisit images, sensations, and emotions in order to process them in a healthy way. In reprocessing negative memories, you can develop the strength to replace these memories with more positive self-beliefs. From here, when you revisit the negative memories, you can feel more at ease and experience fewer adverse reactions like nightmares or flashbacks.
The unique benefit of EMDR is that you can define boundaries for therapy and share as much or as little as you need while still fully processing your trauma, images, sensations, and emotions in order to process them in a healthy way. In reprocessing negative memories, you can develop the strength to replace these memories with more positive self-beliefs. From here, when you revisit the negative memories, you can feel more at ease and experience fewer adverse reactions like nightmares or flashbacks. The unique benefit of EMDR is that you can define boundaries for therapy and share as much or as little as you need while still fully processing your trauma.
Since 2004, we’ve had the honor of helping many people move past trauma to build more fulfilling lives. We would love to help you do the same. Trauma therapy can give you the tools to process and resolve painful memories so that you can find joy in life and hope for your future. Whether your struggles relate to sexual assault, neglect, or physical, mental, and emotional abuse, we are confident that we can help you process and resolve painful memories.
But you may still have questions about trauma therapy...
I don’t want to talk about the past because it will make everything worse.
At first, working through your experiences might feel painful. But we like to think of trauma as a splinter--if you have a splinter, it might hurt less at first to leave it in, but the wound could become infected and worsen over time. Yet the moment you remove the splinter, you begin to heal, even if removing it hurts. EMDR treatment is similar, since you may initially feel worse after bringing up past memories. But once these memories are processed, you can move through life free of the emotional weight that they carry.
I’m worried that a therapist would misinterpret my trauma and would drag my family’s name through the mud.
When you talk about a difficult family experience, it might ring differently if an outsider speaks negatively about them. As a result, you can become defensive. And the last thing we want is for you to speak in a way that dishonors your family relationship or who your parents truly are. Additionally, we don’t expect you to say anything more than what you want or need. We are simply here to listen and help you find solutions while honoring your boundaries.
Are You Ready To Take The Next Step Toward A Safer, Happier, And More Fulfilling Life?
If you’re struggling with the heaviness of your past, trauma therapy can help you breathe again. Contact us for a free 15-minute call to see how we can help you heal from your experiences to live the life you deserve.