When we refer to the term "trauma" we are actually referring to a number of different difficult life events that can negatively impact us. Some of those events are dramatic, such as surviving an assault, being in a combat situation or experiencing childhood abuse. Some of those experiences may be more subtle but add up over time such as being bullied at school, having someone you love pass away or witnessing a car accident. Whether it is one "big" event or a series of "smaller" negative experiences, traumatic events often shape and define our lives. Living through a traumatic experience can leave a long-lasting impact that colors our experiences in relationships. It can impact how we see and feel about the world around us.
Sometimes the consequences of trauma can be debilitating and interfere in our daily lives. When this happens, we may refer to it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) PTSD includes symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, startling easily, engaging in self destructive behaviors, isolating yourself and feeling panicky, depressed or irritable. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to know that you do not need to continue to suffer in this way. Psychotherapy with a trained professional can help you.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, referred to as EMDR, is a treatment intervention used to assist people struggling with the effects of trauma. EMDR has been shown to help people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress of traumatic life events. Psychotherapists who utilize EMDR as a part of their work with clients, attend specialized, long-term training in order to become certified in providing this intervention.
EMDR is a methodical type of therapy. In the initial few sessions, the therapist will ask questions and gather information about what is going on, so that they fully understand the nature of the problem. The therapist will ask you about your current symptoms and take a trauma history, to find out the different life events that you have experienced that could be contributing to your current symptoms. During the initial visits, the therapist will also explain the process of EMDR and answer questions about how it works.
To learn more about Trauma, read: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, MD
Kathleen M. Young, MA, LPC is a trauma specialist and certified EMDR provider. She is highly skilled in helping people to heal from trauma. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Katie, please click on the above link or call her at 484.879.4292.