Natural Flow EMDR
I learned how to do EMDR after realizing that talk therapy alone was taking a very long time and did not adequately deal with trauma. My clients would talk about their trauma experiences, but the symptoms they were suffering from weren’t changing. In 1998, I signed up to learn EMDR with Laurel Parnell. This involved mastering an eight-step protocol, which was aimed at helping clients integrate, assimilate and reframe their memories and resolve their symptoms. After I learned and mastered the protocol, I began to feel this training still was not enough to cover all the scenarios I was encountering in the office with my clients. To that end, I began to take as much advanced training as I could and spent many years traveling to different cities to learn from the masters.
No one really understands why EMDR works as well as it does, but one theory involves the use of bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation simply means alternately using the left and right side of the brain by moving the eyes back and forth or by using bilateral sounds. During EMDR, you will experience this bilateral stimulation as you simultaneously focus on your bodily sensations, memories, emotions and thoughts. This helps your right brain (where trauma is stored) integrate with your left brain, where logic and language reside.
How Does EMDR Treatment Help?
Trauma usually results from being abused or witnessing abuse, however any experience that results in feeling powerless, afraid and hopeless also qualifies. The Left brain knows you did the best you could, but the Right brain is judging you for not having done enough, even though you were only a little kid (or even a terrified adult). Since trauma is stored in the non-verbal Right brain, you probably don’t have access to Left brain information that you need to heal. Bilateral stimulation is thought to integrate both sides of the brain, bringing together what you logically know with the traumatic experience. The result can be relief or even joy. We can’t change the past, but we can change our internalized responses to it.
EMDR treatment is not talk therapy in the traditional sense; rather, it utilizes mindfulness and other strategies to enable you to talk about and explore trauma so that you’re not retraumatized by the experience. The therapist asks questions to keep things moving – i.e., what do you notice in your body, in your emotions, and where are your beliefs now? As we focus on the “target memory” we are working on, there are usually lots of spontaneous images and memories that often surprise us both as integration begins.
Often after a successful session using EMDR, a client will say, “that was amazing!” or “it feels like it was there the whole time, but I just couldn’t see it!” As they sit with this realization, things seem to shift, and a sense of being unburdened or a feeling of freedom opens up as shame and guilt begin to lessen. I have been practicing EMDR treatment since 1999 and feel very comfortable working with most situations. If you have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse from parents, siblings, bullies, family members, teachers, clergy or other authority figures, we will create an island of safety from which to do this work, exploring your trauma in ways that never feel scary or too overwhelming.
Attachment Focused EMDR Treatment
For those who have suffered abuse or neglect from family members or people who were supposed to be safe and trustworthy, I offer attachment-oriented work to help them internalize a sense of secure attachment, which I go into at more length on my attachment page. There is a great deal of hope stemming from this cutting-edge work, which helps clients create new neural network pathways and incorporate positive attachment templates through imagery, resourcing and EMDR.
EMDR Treatment and Sexual Addiction
I am utilizing a new approach called Feeling State Addiction Protocol (FSAP) to treat Sexual Addiction, which can also be used for smoking, alcohol, gambling and compulsive shopping. This approach does not require the client to go to a 12-step program, but rather helps the client identify the initial feelings of reward that are at the root of the addiction and process them using modified EMDR. Standard EMDR can process the unresolved trauma linked to the need to feel good from the addiction; however, FSAP can break the bonds associated with the addiction and lessen cravings and urges.
EMDR Treatment Can Open Up a Whole New Way of Being
My ultimate goal is to help you achieve a sense of deep internal change rather than an intellectual understanding of your trauma, going beyond insight-oriented talk therapy to a shift in your emotional and physiological being. While you might not be able to find words to explain exactly what happened during EMDR treatment, you will most likely discover that beliefs formed around trauma (it was my fault, I am unlovable) no longer fit for you. You might find that you will feel lighter and more empowered; even deep emotions such as shame can disappear.
Please call me at 503-242-0233 for a no-obligations chat so we can see if we are a good fit. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation and would be happy to answer any questions you have about EMDR.