EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic method of treating trauma. It allows trauma survivors to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that they may be experiencing. Many research studies have repeatedly shown that using EMDR can help many people find healing quickly, rather than over years. These studies included groups of all kinds such as: Military, Veterans, Multiple Trauma Victims, etc.
Trauma is often described as an unhealed wound with an embedded object which can fester and cause pain. Once the wound is property treated and the object removed then healing can happen quickly. The brain has an amazing information processing system that naturally wants to move towards healing. Once the “block” is removed your brain will naturally want to resolve that trauma…like it has with so many others that you may have experienced in your life...which no longer hurt you.
EMDR therapy generally starts with making sure you have the skills to calm yourself when needed. Once you have mastered this basic concept it proceeds into eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) while you process a past traumatic event. This allows your brain to move into information processing mode, while allowing you to keep one foot in the present so you do not become overwhelmed by your memories. This allows you to let go of bad feelings and incorrect beliefs such as “It was my fault that I was raped, I am weak” and replace them with more helpful beliefs which allow you to “let go” of all of the pain and maladaptive reactions, such as “It wasn’t my fault and I am strong.”
EMDR can also be helpful in helping you process smaller traumas, look forward to how you will handle future difficult situations, and let go of long standing belief patterns which may have even been preverbal.
CPT is an empirically supported (i.e. research proven) type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that helps you learn how to change inaccurate and unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma you experienced, which is now causing you to experience unwelcome and difficult PTSD symptoms. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) was developed to treat events such as: child abuse, combat trauma, rape, and natural disasters. It is generally delivered in about 12 sessions and it is designed to help you create new thoughts and insights into what happened to you so that your trauma is no longer causing you to have significant ongoing negative symptoms.
It begins with teaching you about PTSD and what is normal for someone’s thoughts and emotions after a trauma vs. what you may be experiencing. It then starts to help you notice your “automatic” thoughts which are triggering your ongoing PTSD and/or negative and unhelpful reactions. Then, your counselor, through asking you questions, will help you to start to “fact check” those automatic unhelpful thoughts and change them. Finally, you will learn to do this “fact checking” yourself.
Each session you are sent home with “homework” to do between sessions so that you can progress faster through your trauma, so a commitment to doing this between sessions on your own is necessary if you chose this method to treat your PTSD.
TF-CBT is an evidence-based (i.e. they did research showing it worked) treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma. This treat also includes sessions with their parents or caregivers to help them navigate parenting a traumatized child and how they feel about their child’s trauma. It involves helping a child learn to identify their own emotions and name them. It also teaches them skills to manage their feelings when they become overwhelming. The counselor also works with the child or teen on “psycho-education” about what happened to them, so they have accurate information about what is normal, what things are called, and what others do and feel in their situation. Finally, the child or teenager makes a trauma story about what their lives were like before the trauma, what happened to them, the fall out, and what they would like their lives to be. This story allows the counselor to find any thinking errors such as ( It was my fault or the world is not safe) and help the child change them to be more helpful and accurate. It also allows the child or teenager to process fully what they experienced. The final step is then sharing this story with a trusted person.
This method can be used for one trauma or multiple traumas. It can also be used to treat children that meet the full criteria for PTSD and for those who may simply be experiencing anxiety and depression to a lessor degree because of the fall out of the trauma(s) they experienced.
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You don't have to continue to go through this alone. There is private trauma therapy and counseling near you. Teletherapy can be your solution.