EMDR Therapy Helps with Early Traumas and PTSD

By Lori Gordon-Michaeli

Just about everyone has dealt with some form of trauma in their life. Mental Health modalities and technologies are constantly changing to help people overcome these traumas. Shalva Adult and Child Psychiatry recently introduced EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.d. It is a very important tool in the toolbox of any licensed EMDRIA certified therapist in addressing panic and trauma disorders.

This therapy is a research-based technique used to help the brain reprocess and integrate unprocessed memories. People who suffer from PTSD have unprocessed memories and when put through a series of EMDR sessions, can be reprocessed to reintegrate properly, which means the “current attachment or emotional trigger” is neutralized. The trigger comes from a present incident, but many times its development is found in childhood and related to attachment injuries. EMDR emulates REM sleep -- our deepest sleep at a theta level where the subconscious mind processes information to heal and solve problems that are going on in our lives. In the process, isolated stored memories are integrated into the rest of the memory network allowing them to be stored properly in the brain and processed appropriately. In many cases, this process would resolve the emotional dissonance and address the triggers.

EMDR International Association is the organization developed by Shapiro. She trains therapists in this effective technique in the treatment of PTSD and other disorders that really alter the physical and emotional reactivity to old maladaptive attachment injuries, created usually from early childhood. When a young child experiences a powerful feeling in the negative that is somehow attachment related, this could be a non-event that is perceived in the mind of a young child as sentinel. Later in life, something springs back the feeling which connects to the sentinel thought and creates reinforcement to the response and reaction. Life is full of stressors; a sentinel event occurs and the reinforcement is strengthened further. EMDR can be utilized to go back to the first event and reprocess it so that the memory is neutralized but not forgotten.

Visit: www.emdria.org. This therapy is covered by insurance, based on individual verification. It is important to choose an EMDRIA trained therapist using the Shapiro protocol. Lori Gordon-Michaeli, LMSW, is EMDRIA trained and accepting new patients at Shalva Adult and Child Psychiatry, 21751 W. 11 Mile Rd., Suite 105, Southfield, MI 248-327-7175

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