Trauma is an event(s) that occurred in childhood or as an adult that is so overwhelming and inherently frightening that it causes temporary, and in some cases permanent, changes in our physical and psychological responses to stress. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other debilitating responses to trauma result when the body’s normal psychological defenses against stress become overwhelmed. Thus, long after the initial trauma occurs, people may respond as if the traumatic event is currently happening, experiencing strong, painful feelings that may result in self-defeating or even self-destructive behaviors. It makes us lose our ability to trust and to be in the here and now. Maladaptive life patterns are often rooted in chronic, unresolved trauma. Symptoms can include re-experiencing the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, and an easily triggered physical stress response.
The trauma overwhelms our natural resources for recovery. In these cases therapy can be extremely helpful in creating a safe environment and through EMDR or other trauma approaches help to process the trauma, freeing you to live a full life without trauma informing your experience.
What does it mean to provide “trauma counseling”?
Recovery from trauma can seem like a daunting prospect, but the good news is that symptoms of PTSD are some of the most treatable issues in mental health today. My intent is to provide education on these symptoms and how trauma works so that you can understand your trauma responses and not just assume automatically “there must be something wrong with me.”
EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing, is an integrative approach that has been extensively researched and is highly effective for the treatment of trauma. This approach can help to resolve traumatic experiences, whether past or present. Survivors of abuse, assault, accidents, chronic illness, combat, natural disasters or other incidents of traumatic stress have all benefited from the skillful use of EMDR. It has been shown to be twice as effective in HALF the amount of time of standard traditional psychotherapy treatments alone.
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
There is no certain answer to how any modality in psychotherapy works on a neurobiological level. We do know, when a person is very upset, the brain cannot process information as it normally does. Suddenly, we are overwhelmed and our usual ability to cope is unavailable to us and the event becomes “frozen in time”. Remembering the trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time. Over time, the stress can have a lasting negative effect, interfering with the way we perceive the world and how we relate to people. Basically, trauma has the capacity to inform all areas of your life causing you to make impulsive or unhealthy choices.
Following a successful EMDR session, normal information processing is resumed and you will no longer relive the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You will still remember the event, however it will not activate or trigger you in the same way. Clients describe is as, “It feels like a fuzzy dream, now far away,” “I feel lighter,” or “It’s just not as upsetting” to name a few.
WHO PRACTICES EMDR?
Mental health professionals who have taken both Part 1 and Part 2 of an EMDRIA-approved training program are considered qualified to practice EMDR. Erika Martinez-Gonzales has completed both parts of the basic training through EMDRIA. She attends regular consulting groups and attends annual trainings to continue to expand her knowledge and expertise.
If you would like to learn more about EMDR you can read more on the EMDRIA website at emdr.site-ym.com or contact Erika Martinez-Gonzales, LPCC at (505) 261-9770 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org