Trauma and effective treatment
When we think about trauma we usually think about things like wars, car crashes, natural disasters and the like, but life often holds incidents and experiences which leave a lasting impression.
Often we tell ourselves that we are being silly to be so bothered by something which happened to us - often also telling ourselves that other people go through worse things and survive.
Funnily enough, this does not make us feel better - here we are feeling something and at the same time telling ourselves we are wrong to feel it!
People respond in different ways to different events, and very often a seemingly innocuous event may have the effect of making us feel we cannot cope - despite having coped with 'much worse' before. Or two people may go through an incident, one is able to shrug it off while the other has nightmares and flashbacks.
The thing that incidents which are experienced as traumatic have in common is the way the memory has not been properly filed (see below for scientific explanation) - when you recall the event today there is a high emotional heat to the memory, even though it may have happened 10,30 or 50 years ago. In session we will ask about this emotional heat, asking you to rate your emotional response to the memory, where 0 is no emotion at all to 10 the highest emotional response you could have. If you are trying this at home think about a memory which is not traumatic and which has been properly filed (eg think about what you had for breakfast - remember all the steps you took to have the meal - and notice there is no emotional heat attached to this memory, you can access it without having an emotional response, such as crying or feeling afraid).
When accessing a traumatic memory you will be able to feel an automatic response within your body, and probably a feeling that you do not want to think about it at all...this is your natural defence mechanism, and is there to protect you from feeling those horrible feelings.
At Quantum we offer trauma therapy which is gentle and effective in the form of EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy.
This is an evidence based therapy which enlists the natural healing ability of the mind to reduce the emotional heat of traumatic memories. It is not hypnosis or any form of mind control, but it is an unusual therapy.
To be continued...
Client Handout - click here to access client handout which introduces EMDR