Mindful Counseling for Complex Trauma: Anxiety, Shame, Stuckness
~Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – an approach empirically validated by numerous studies – was developed and founded by Francine Shapiro around 1990 as a safe and effective means of reincorporating traumatized parts of self into a more adaptive whole. It is now considered a first-line treatment for PTSD and has been adopted by both private and government organizations, including the Veterans Administration, as a relatively short-term approach to trauma recovery. [Click here to open the official EMDR website in a separate window.]
EMDR represents a new stage in integrative approaches and is considered one of the few directly ‘transformative’ therapies. Building on the Adaptive Information Processing model, it is designed to connect fear structures (or trauma states) to more adaptive parts of self. In essence, it is a recognition, while accessing fear, that resources are present, that you are indeed ‘okay’.
EMDR is not talk therapy. For the most part, it represents an internal process. Many that have experienced EMDR appreciate the fact that they do not have to talk about the trauma. The healing here, like every truly ‘transformative’ approach, relies on recognition of internal resources, on the realization that so many parts of you have been taking care of you all along.
~ Miriam Greenspan, Healing Through the Dark Emotions
Potential (and expected) outcomes include…
Elements of EMDR
- Dual Awareness: focus on past memories and present neutral stimuli
- Permission to Allow and Follow Internal Processing: ‘Go with that.’
- Safety: consent and control over the process, preparation stages, recognition of present resources
- Structure: EMDR presents a very defined container.
- Objective Measures: The flow of EMDR is controlled by the ongoing ratings of the person experiencing EMDR.
- Bipasses the Entanglement of Working Memory: One part of the brain stays occupied, freeing the individual to process long-term memory.
- Focus on the Full Experience: Body, Thoughts, Emotions
~ Franz Alexander, one of the founders of psychosomatic medicine