There’s a saying that goes “time heals all wounds but when dealing with trauma this is not necessarily true.” In the case of extreme emotional pain, In “talk” therapy, a person is guided by their therapist or counselor to identify and address these emotions primarily through talking and thinking about the event, ( left brain analytical thinking and cognitive psychodynamics). However, at Trauma and Beyond ®, our treatment includes a focus on more integrative trauma treatment. We work with our clients in both a top down (thoughts and cognitions) and bottom up (bodily based) to help you to connect with your body, your emotions, and your thoughts. To connect to the right brain we need to use trauma focused therapies such as EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and additional modalities you can find on our website. Many of our expert therapists provide EMDR treatment therapy. The Trauma and Beyond Center ® EMDR Treatment Center in Los Angeles offers this breakthrough treatment program along with other established psychotherapy methods in the hopes of accelerating the healing process.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a structured psychotherapy treatment program that was designed to moderate the stress and symptoms that are the result of traumatic memories and experiences.
This type of treatment starts with stabilazation and resourcing before re-processing of traumatic memories. This phase is important in order to do the reprocessing work without re traumatizing the client. During the reprocessing phase memories are held simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (normally eye motions), while in the window of tolerance, thus able to process memories in a more full and calm way than during the actual trauma. This type of therapy is connected with a decline in the vividness and emotion linked to the trauma memories because of the bilateral stimulation as well as the resource building that has taken place before EMDR processing ever begins. EMDR commonly has sessions once twice a week and the length of treatment will depend on whether it is a singal-incident trauma or repetitive complex trauma.
EMDR works under the premise that the brain can recover from emotional and psychological trauma similar to the way in which the body recovers from bodily trauma. When you get a cut on your skin, your body naturally regenerates to heal the wound. However, if there is something blocking the wound, it cannot heal naturally and could cause more pain. In a similar manner, when there is something that’s mentally preventing you from recovery, it causes more pain. It is only after this block is removed that the healing can start.
What to Expect During Treatment: EMDR Treatment Center in Los Angeles
This method has eight stages:
The treatment begins with history-taking session(s). The therapist assesses the client’s diagnosis and develops a treatment program. It is during this stage that the therapist and client identify potential targets for EMDR processing. Part of this are painful memories and present scenarios that cause psychological distress. Other targets might consist of related events that occurred in the past. This is when the focus is placed on the development of certain skills and behaviors which are going to be necessary for the client to have before they do any reprocessing. These skills in and of themselves are healing and provide stabilization such to the point some people may never need to go into explicit trauma memories.
The length of treatment is determined by the amount of traumatic experiences and the age these experiences occurred. It could be a one-time incident or a more complex form of PTSD. People with complex trauma may require a longer treatment time.
In the second stage of treatment, the therapist makes sure that the client has developed different ways of dealing with emotional distress. The therapist can train the client on a range of imagery and stress reduction techniques that they can use during and between sessions. As compared to ‘traditional’ talk therapy alone, rapid and effective changes can be observed.
In stages three to six, a target is singled out and processed using EMDR therapy techniques. This includes the client identifying three things:
- The vivid visual image connected to the memory
- A negative belief about self
- Related emotions and body sensations.
In addition, the client identifies a positive belief. The therapist helps the client rate the positive belief as well as the intensity of the negative emotions. After this, the client is instructed to focus on the image, negative thought, and body sensations while simultaneously engaging in EMDR processing using sets of bilateral stimulation. These sets may include eye movements, taps, or tones. The type and length of these sets is different for each client. At this point, the EMDR client is asked to just take note of “notice” whatever spontaneously happens.
After each set of stimulation, the therapist directs the client to let their mind go blank and to observe whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, or sensation comes to mind. Based on the client’s report, the therapist will select the next focus of attention. These repeated sets with directed focused attention occur many times during the session. If the client becomes distressed or has difficulty in progressing, the therapist follows established procedures to help the client get back on track.
When the client reports no distress related to the targeted memory, they are asked to think of the preferred positive belief that was identified at the beginning of the session. At this time, the client may adjust the positive belief if necessary, and then focus on it during the next set of distressing events.
In stage seven, the therapist will ask the client to maintain a record during the week. The record should document any related material that may arise. The purpose of this is to remind the client of the self-calming activities that they mastered in stage two.
The next session begins with stage eight. Stage eight consists of examining the progress made thus far, and working through future templates. The EMDR treatment processes all related historical events, current incidents that elicit distress, and future events that will require different responses.
The road to recovery from trauma is often a marathon not a race. It can be hard work to forage a new pathway. The old ways may have felt in some ways more known, more comfortable, but they were also debilitating, defeating, and limiting. Enduring the hard path is necessary to get to the other side. The Trauma and Beyond Center ® EMDR Treatment Center in Los Angeles is a safe space where you can deconstruct and explore the pains of your past so you can leave them behind and start anew.
If you feel that you need help managing your anxiety, depression, or PTSD, call us and we will be happy to speak to you about our EMDR Treatment Center in Los Angeles and all of our treatment programs for anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues. Call us at 818-651-0725.