EMDR and Trauma Therapy helps when faced with times like these:
- You react dramatically or excessively in response to what took place
- You get really upset compared to others
- You are so upset that you have trouble calming yourself down
- You feel bad about your response afterward and maybe even feel bad about yourself+
- Your loved ones are concerned about you after these reactions
- Your loved ones are angry about the way you treat them
- You tend to feel bad about yourself after one of these strong responses
These are various forms of traumatic responses to things. They leave us feeling isolated, angry, scared or alone. Emotional healing work is how we heal these wounds. Trauma happens when you experience events that involves actual or threatened death, serious injury or a threat to your physical, emotional or sexual self, or witness it happening to someone else; especially to a loved one.
I like to explain trauma as the mixing of the past and the present. Something happens today and you react to it as if you are in that past time where something bad happened. An easy way to see this is the example of the veteran who is walking down the street and there is suddenly a loud BANG! The bang was caused by some ordinary event, but the vet automatically dives for cover, assuming being shot at. In that moment the vet was reacting to past events in current time; mixing up the past and present timeline. Emotional healing work is how we stop this from happening.
Emotional Healing Work requires therapist and client to:
- Acknowledge the pain caused by the trauma and that it is OK to feel bad.
- Understand the environment that the trauma took place in, and what causes and conditions allowed it to happen.
- Realize on a gut level that you are entitled to a better life; to be happy, to not be afraid all of the time, and to have meaningful relationships.
- Recognize self-defeating thoughts due to low self-esteem and work to change them.
- Clear-headedly look at what happened to see what you can learn from it. This is an opportunity to make something good from a bad situation.
- Release the holding patterns in the body, the tight muscles, digestive problems and other associated physical symptoms of trauma.
- A holistic approach to trauma work that includes working with thoughts, emotions, the physical body and sensations, as well as relationships to self and other can bring lasting relief and healing from trauma. Body-centered psychotherapy combined with kind compassionate and skillful talk therapy is the leading approach to healing trauma.
Today, after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve come to know this as PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or more recently as Post Traumatic Stress. For most of us who were not involved in a war (or a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina), the type of PTSD we are prone to “catch” comes from problems that occur after a traumatic events such as:
- Car, plane or train accidents
- Miscarriage or untimely death of a child
- Or other life events that put us face-to-face with death or our own mortality
These are types of single-incident traumas and they create a need for emotional healing in order to move on and not let it affect us in our current life.
There is another kind of trauma that is less obvious. It’s probably even more harmful.
It is the trauma of growing up experiencing child neglect or abuse. Things such as:
- A home where the parents were violent to each other, you or your sibling(s)
- A home with an alcoholic or drug addicted parent
- A home with sexual abuse
- A home with physical abuse
- A home with emotional abuse
We want to think that once we are adults, that we can just forget about what happened to us as children; that it will somehow stop affecting us. Unfortunately that isn’t true. In our minds and hearts, we are all the sum total of everything we’ve ever experienced, from the time we are born until now. Ignoring part of that experience is a recipe for disaster. Emotional healing work is how we heal the past.
It’s scary to reach out and ask for help.
Common reasons I hear are:
- I can do it myself.
- Maybe not. We are wounded in relationship and we are healed in relationship. When we try to do this work alone, we don’t get the positive feedback that a trained, kind and non-judgmental therapist can provide to you. Without that feedback loop you tend to remain stuck. Good therapy is a safe and healthy place to do your emotional healing work and it will give you the benefit of mirroring back how you’re seen in the world; not through the lens of your self-doubt but from the emotional healing lens of a professional. And at times, that makes all the difference.
- Why would I want to tell my problems to a stranger? I don’t even talk to the people closest to me!
- Post-Traumatic Stress causes us to shut down our emotions. We withdraw into an internal shell and often lose track of how we feel. This is a horrible way to live and leads to depression, anxiety and unhappiness. Emotional healing work is the work of getting in touch with your feelings, feeling your pain and then letting it go. Once you start, you’ll wonder what took you so long and you’ll never regret it.
- This is who I am; love me or leave me! Why should I become a different person just because someone else wants me to?
- You are right. You don’t need to become a different person. Nor do you need to do it for someone else. You need to become the person you are when you are not reacting unskillfully to your traumatic past. Emotional healing work isn’t something you do for someone else; it’s something you do for yourself. By extension, the people you care about benefits too.
- If I get over being mad at the person who did this to me, then I’m letting them off the hook for what they did!
- Not true and believing this keeps you stuck in a victim mode. Your long-term anger only hurts you. Your best vengeance is to be happy, successful and fulfilled. Your emotional healing work is the best way to get even with your abuser and the best way forward for you and your loved ones.
Are you ready to start making positive change today?
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