EMDR — Transforming Stress and Trauma
• Enhancing Performance
Trauma Treatment and Therapy
A traumatic event is any stressor that causes an individual much disturbance. In the aftermath of the incident there may be disruption physically (like injuries in a car accident), financially (loss of income which adds more distress), or environmentally (as in the case of natural disaster). Frequently, the stressor causes emotional distress. Immediately after a traumatic incident an acute stress response is likely to occur, the symptoms of which might include shock, denial, and/or anxiety which is felt as stomach upset, shakiness, racing thoughts, pounding heart, and sometimes a numbing effect.
As time goes by, sometimes the distress lessens, especially if the person is able to resume normal activities, regain good sleep, talk through their feelings with trusted family or friends, and make sense of what happened.
Often, however, symptoms seem to get worse. The distress develops into nightmares, thoughts of the incident creep, unbidden, into thoughts during the day. The person may feel helpless and depressed as a result of negative thoughts and feelings relating to the stressful event(s). This is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If left untreated, PTSD can cause long-term problems for the individual.
Francine Shapiro, PhD, the developer and first researcher of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy referred to two kinds of trauma. “Big T” traumas would include everything that typically comes to mind when the word “trauma” is used: war combat trauma, rape trauma, disaster trauma. Generally, the person felt that their life was threatened, or they witnessed a life-and-death trauma in another person. “Small t” traumas seem minor in comparison, often simply because they are more common than life-threatening events. They may include a cruel comment by a parent, teacher, or peer; a divorce by one’s parents, or being laid off at work. These traumas are significant, too, as research published in 2005 by the British Journal of Psychiatry reported: People can actually have higher levels of PTSD disturbance from non-life-threatening events.
Those with a history of trauma (whether Big “T” or small “t”) in their past are more likely to develop PTSD when additional trauma occurs. But often, an individual who has no history of prior difficulty may have trouble moving on and getting back to normal as well. Trauma-trained therapists now know that memories of a disturbing nature get stored differently in our mind than our everyday experiences. Therapists certified in EMDR, in particular, will know how to help an individual process and be released from the effects of trauma.
All the Certified EMDR Therapists on ComprehensiveTherapyApproach specialize in treating trauma. Please check the relevant directory in the left side bar to access a therapist near you.