By Sarah Martin, LCPC, NCC
Trauma is everywhere, and with everything going on in the world today, we cannot ignore its presence. No one is immune to the impact of trauma. So what exactly do we mean when we say the word trauma? I often refer to Bessel van der Kolk’s definition of trauma as “an event that overwhelms the central nervous system, altering the way we process and recall memories.” What I like about this definition is that it opens the door to so many experiences, big and small. As an EMDR therapist, I have found that the small events or “little t” traumas can often be the most pervasive and deeply emotional.
Emotional trauma can be caused by any event or experience that disrupts our sense of safety and security, often leaving us feeling helpless. The top causes of emotional trauma are verbal or emotional abuse, physical or sexual abuse, childhood neglect, spiritual or religious abuse, an accident or natural disaster, witnessing domestic...
By Jamie Sedgwick, LCPC, NCC
EMDRIA Approved Consultant
The therapy world seems full of abbreviations for various treatment modalities: CBT, DBT, ACT, IFS…. The list can go on and begin to feel a bit like sorting through alphabet soup. With Prince Harry's and other celebrities' help, another therapy abbreviation has been growing in popularity: EMDR, which is short for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” EMDR has been catching the attention of clients and clinicians, and, like the other alphabet-soup therapies, many are wondering: What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR was created in 1987 by Francine Shapiro, who was a doctoral student at the time. The idea to begin exploring the link between eye movements and desensitizing distressing material came to her one day on a walk (Shapiro, 2018). Francine realized that the distressing material she was thinking about became less and less uncomfortable as she walked. She also noticed that her eyes...
By Rachel Harrison, LCPC
EMDRIA Approved Basic Trainer and Consultant
Almost weekly, I have a conversation with a therapist that goes something like this:
Me: I am so glad to hear you treat trauma. I’d love to learn more about your approach!
Therapist: Well, you know, as we are working in session, my clients talk through their traumas and we find new insights.
Me: Oh, okay, I was hoping to find therapists that use modalities other than talk therapy.
What I am thinking and want to say is, “Wrong answer!” We know trauma is stored in the limbic brain, so we need a method other than talk therapy to access the trauma.
Don’t get me wrong, I love therapy, and I love therapists! I believe all therapists do the best work they know how to do with their clients. But that’s just it: you can’t know what you don’t know.
The bottom line is talk therapy does not work to treat trauma. Trauma is stored in a different area of the...