All familiar orientation is gone. Many have lost their ground in this time of crisis and feel adrift in a sea of unpredictability and uncertainty. The world we knew has suddenly and dramatically altered.
Every day we are bombarded with more questions than answers. Isolated and afraid, some people find themselves triggered into old traumatic experiences or habits from the past. Memories of being helpless, hopeless, without resources or having no ‘grownup ’who knows what to do can arise and feel very real. Old traumas seem to bleed into new ones.
These are the nightmarish feelings that can bring us back to a familiar sad, scared or angry state in our minds, bodies and spirits. These are also some of the same feelings that can produce the phenomenon known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this destabilizing time, many of us can find ourselves suffering from these symptoms if we are unable to process them in a safe and effective way.
The Many Faces of Trauma
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) within a comprehensive model is the best tool I have used to heal the results of trauma. As an EMDR trauma psychotherapist, I have worked mostly with people who have developed PTSD as a result of childhood trauma. Ranging from the inability of caregivers to attune to the particular needs of a child to sexual and physical abuse, the impact of poverty, racism, and gender discrimination and violence, trauma has many faces.
Simply described, EMDR is an information processing system designed to bring forth images, thoughts, body sensations and emotions that are hidden from our conscious or everyday minds. The technology used with EMDR creates bilateral stimulation of the body to induce a REM-like state in the brain, bringing the communication between the rational (left) and emotional (right) brains back into balance. That healthy flow of communication can break down when we experience a traumatic event or an ongoing traumatic experience or environment.
You can think of EMDR as an emotional digestion process. In the same way that you eat an apple which then makes its way through and out of your body, this process moves the old traumatic material through and out of your system. The memories remain but no longer hold the painful, harsh or frightening charge that accompanied the original experience.
Unhealed trauma is responsible for many painful health, relationship and work situations. When we can’t know what we know deep inside without feeling frightened or threatened, we are only partially available for the full experience of life. Sexually, relationally, intellectually.
Behind the Looking Glass
Over the 30 years of my private practice, I have developed and deepened this incredibly effective tool into a model of my own, adapting the protocols of EMDR for use with Gestalt, Relational and Inner Family Therapy with a strong emphasis on Attachment theory. I emphasize awareness of the relationship that each person has with their self. After all, this is who we live with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Who greets you in the mirror in the morning?
I invite people to listen to and learn the emotional messages spoken by the body and I guide them to discover the many different parts of themselves and how these sub-personalities work together in a healthy harmony or against each other in destructive or disruptive ways. In other words, is your internal family a place of peace or conflict? I love witnessing the return of hope, energy and joy in my clients. A return to a truly whole self.
Know What You Know
Perhaps the most important part of my work with my clients is what I have come to think of as romancing the relational (subconscious) mind. In an EMDR session, after giving a specific historical or relationship starting point, I invite my client to allow their relational mind to bring forward what it instinctively and intuitively knows is needed for processing and healing.
This is the opposite of analyzing, the opposite of figuring it out and the opposite of thinking it through or trying to remember, which we find in many traditional therapies. This new way of relating to our minds creates new neural pathways and new take-home behaviors that can be used in all aspects of the client’s life, enabling innovation at work, new possibilities in relationships, new ways of self-soothing and therefore much more satisfaction, success and fulfilment.
With EMDR as a framework we can learn to face into old and current fears and discomforts. We can find new courage and strength even as we may struggle to bring ourselves back into balance amidst current chaos. We can meet one another and ourselves in a new way, eye to eye, heart to heart, putting the past into the past and facing the future from a more solid ground.
Laury Naron, trauma psychotherapist and shamanic practitioner
Learn more about Laury here: www.laurynaron.com