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Trauma Therapy & EMDR

It's hard to move through life without enduring trauma. Many people discount their experiences because they aren't "big T" traumas: abuse, violence, combat, accidents, disasters, witnessing or coming close to death, sexual assault, etc. These events, understandably, leave a lasting impact on how we relate to ourselves, others, and the wider world. "Little t" traumas can also shape our mental and emotional patterns and how we live in our bodies. Things like being socially outcast, emotionally neglected, chronic unmet support needs, financial insecurity, and identity-based discrimination can feel like death by a thousand papercuts. Shame and minimization can exacerbate the pain of little t traumas.

I define trauma as any event or circumstance that has negatively impacted our sense of self that leaves us easily triggered or dysregulated. Quantifying "how bad" past trauma was isn't a necessary step for healing. The defining factor is the impact on your quality of life, not how it compares to anyone else.

What is Trauma Informed Therapy?

When approaching trauma work, it's important to honor the ways you learned to cope with intense distress. These might be habits or strategies that worked in the past that are unhelpful in the present: shutting down, fawning, people pleasing, escapism, addictive behaviors, isolation, and others. Together we will map out the vision for how you'd prefer to respond in the future and clear out the residue from the past that stands in your way. 
Trauma work isn't a quick, easy fix. It's hard, gnarly work, like pulling debris from a flesh wound so it can properly heal. But it is profoundly transformative and worthwhile. Your comfort and well-being guide our pace.

EMDR

EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) is an 8 phase treatment protocol that focuses on self-regulation skills, reprocessing past events, and instilling positive/affirming beliefs.
 
These phases include:
  1. History taking & treatment plan
  2. Preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body Scan
  7. Debriefing, Containing, Closure
  8. Re-Evaluation
     
You can learn more about EMDR therapy here.

What to Expect

History taking: gathering data on past traumas ("targets") that are negatively impacting your relationship to yourself, others, and/or the world in the present
Preparation: learning self-regulation skills and capitalizing on existing strengths so that you can effectively and confidently self-soothe when activated
Assessment: mapping out the images, negative beliefs, body sensations and emotions associated with traumas
Desensitization: using bilateral stimulation to release the physical and emotional charge in traumatic memories
Installation: implanting a positive belief to replace unhelpful patterns with new, adaptive responses
Body scan: checking in with the body for any unresolved distress
Debriefing: closing with self-regulation on incomplete targets; reflecting on progress between targets
Re-evaluation: exploring insights and observations about our work that arose between sessions
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