EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and has been a widely accepted trauma treatment since the late 1980s. It was first developed by the American psychologist Francine Shapiro, who noticed her eye movements strongly correlated to her emotional state. Shapiro used EMDR on herself to decrease the negative feelings associated with past memories, quickly realizing that rapid eye movement therapy could be greatly beneficial to clients who were struggling in traditional counseling.
As a gentle, body-based method, EMDR does not require much verbal processing. Instead, it uses target images and foundational self-beliefs to neutralize painful or distressing memories. Effectively “reprogramming” the brain, clients in EMDR therapy don’t erase their memories but rather clear away the trauma associated with them, promoting more peace, calm, and positive self-regard.
Is EMDR Right For You?
Has an incident from your past affected your work, relationships, and ability to be happy?
Do you experience trouble sleeping, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and other challenges associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Or do you struggle with symptoms of depression and anxiety yet have a hard time identifying the root cause?
Whether you’re aware of it or not, a traumatic experience from your past may prevent you from functioning at your fullest. Maybe you suffered a recent loss or witnessed something distressing. You may have been assaulted, attacked, or had your life put in danger in some other way. Or perhaps you experienced neglect and abuse as a child, which has carried ramifications into your adulthood that impact your relationships and everyday life.
You may tell yourself that it all happened so long ago, or you should be “over it” by now, yet you can’t help but to be on high alert at all times, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Living this way is exhausting, and you may be feeling irritable, agitated, and distrustful as a result. Not to mention, it may seem like a better idea to numb your emotions than to face your painful experience head-on, causing you to engage in self-destructive behaviors like drinking, drug use, or reckless driving.
You may have also noticed your relationships suffering alongside your mental health. Maybe you resort to yelling, picking fights, or becoming altogether avoidant and withdrawn when struggling to communicate with your partner. Perhaps you live with a pervasive shame affecting your self-esteem, causing you to believe that you are damaged or unworthy of love. And even when you feel close and intimate with others, you often retreat out of a fear that something bad will happen.
If any of this sounds familiar, it signals that stored trauma has manifested in painful and unhealthy ways. Fortunately, at Nashville Counseling, our clinicians are trauma-informed therapists who can offer meaningful, effective interventions and EMDR therapy to help you feel more safe, secure, and self-assured.
TRAUMA AND ITS IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH
In order to grasp why certain symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions occur, it’s essential to understand the role of stored trauma in the mind and body.
Trauma can happen anytime the nervous system is overwhelmed. This might take place in a single-incident situation (i.e., an accident or attack) or over the course of repeated instances and attachment injuries (as in the case of childhood abuse and neglect). A traumatic experience isn’t always life-threatening, and we’re all at risk of internalizing trauma following normal human experiences, including grief and loss, infertility, and other common stressors. Most of us are likely to encounter some significant trauma throughout our lives, and it's important to be aware of its impact on our mental health.
Understandably, some people brush a traumatic experience under the rug or do anything they can—including numb themselves—to avoid past pains. However, the only lasting way to target trauma on a deep level is through treatment and therapeutic processing.
To Find Relief, We Have To Change The Way Trauma Is Stored In The Brain
When we feel threatened or taken aback by an unexpected or dangerous situation, our body enters what’s known as fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. Our instincts take these measures to keep us out of harm’s way, but they can go haywire if trauma is not properly processed in the brain’s neural pathways. Eventually, we can start to develop a stress or threat response in all kinds of situations, even abjectly safe and ordinary ones. That’s why trauma has such a close relationship to issues of anxiety (hypervigilance), depression (hopelessness), and other common conditions that drive people to seek treatment.
Therefore, it’s important to work with trauma-informed specialists who are specifically qualified to treat issues of trauma and PTSD. Using body-based techniques like EMDR, therapy can help you heal trauma on a deep level.
TRAUMA THERAPY AT NASHVILLE COUNSELING ASSOCIATES
Therapy gives you an opportunity to work with a supportive, nonjudgmental therapist who can bear witness to your trauma story while offering you meaningful skills for coping and resilience. In working to understand and process your pain, you will be better prepared to manage daily fears and worries.
Our practice works with a range of individuals in trauma treatment. We serve children five and older, teens, adults, and couples, and we are invested in helping you heal as you develop new perspective on your past.
At Nashville Counseling Associates, we are committed to incorporating trauma-informed techniques into all of our treatments. Though we draw from a wide range of behavioral and body-based therapies (including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, TF-CBT), we are pleased to employ a team of clinicians who offer the revolutionary method of EMDR.
EMDR is a highly effective method, researched by thousands of trauma specialists globally and validated as an evidence-based therapeutic approach. Clients using EMDR treatment have been able to resolve symptoms of PTSD as well as the following conditions:
Trauma can create deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, and distress in those who survive it, but we believe that a knowledgeable, trauma-informed therapist can be the gateway to relief. By working with our clinicians at Nashville Counseling Associates, you can resolve trauma at its core so that life can feel more satisfying and manageable.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PAST
If you’re ready to resolve past wounds, the therapists at Nashville Counseling Associates specialize in EMDR and other trauma-informed therapies. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, contact us.