EMDR & Trauma Therapy
Feeling Overwhelmed And Underprepared?
Did something happen that compromised your sense of physical and/or emotional safety?
Do you struggle with a low-grade anxiety that seems to follow you into every aspect of your life and relationships?
And does it feel like your past has a grip on your present and future?
It may seem as though your nervous system is managing you, and not the other way around. You may become easily overwhelmed and activated to the point of experiencing acute stress, anxiety, panic attacks, or nightmares. Instead of feeling relaxed and resolved, you probably often feel “stuck,” unable to let go of the feelings of anger, fear, and frustration that you regularly experience.
Living this way has likely affected your relationships. You might feel insecure or untrusting of others, causing you to avoid social events or situations that require you to become emotionally vulnerable. Or maybe you’ve grown accustomed to detaching from others out of fear that you will be hurt. Everything around you seems to pose a threat, forcing you to put your defenses up and wonder if you’ll feel safe and secure again.
Regardless of what happened to you, trauma is wounding—it has no boundaries regarding age, gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or profession. If left unprocessed, traumatic responses can slowly overtake and overwhelm the mind and body. But I am here to tell you that therapy can help you understand and reprocess trauma.
As a therapist invested in your emotional health and safety, I want to support you in establishing a new baseline experience of life that doesn’t involve constantly reliving your trauma on loop.
So, What Trauma Is And How Does It Affect Us?
Trauma is defined in many ways, often involving significant, critical, and life-changing events. But from my perspective as a highly trained trauma specialist, I believe trauma is any experience that was too much too soon, too much for too long, or too little for too long.
While widely accepted traumas like assaults, accidents, or situations that put us in physical danger certainly fall under the category of trauma as I define it, there are so many other common, everyday experiences that can trigger a traumatic response. And in fact, most of us—61 percent—experience our first trauma in childhood.
In addition to events that pose a threat to physical safety and well-being, my clients come to me because they’ve experienced:
- Attachment wounds from childhood, often relating to their sense of security with a parent or caregiver
- Any form of abuse or neglect
- Car accidents
- Crisis intervention
- Natural disasters
- Birth trauma as well as perinatal/postpartum issues
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleep issues, including nightmares
- Anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks
I also work with a range of clients experiencing occupational trauma, ranging from First Responders to fellow counselors to those in ministry roles. These clients work in high-stress, high-pressure work environments where they are often responsible for initiating critical medical, emotional, or spiritual interventions. However, despite being trained in matters of trauma and distress, these professionals are more at risk of developing compassion fatigue and work-related burnout.
We Develop A New And Unhealthy Automatic Response When Trauma Gets “Stuck”
On the surface, the issues described above may not always appear as being directly associated with a traumatic event. No matter what my clients experienced, however, there always seems to be a lingering struggle to simply “let go” of what happened because there is no meaningful way to change the outcome.
As a mental health counselor with years of experience, I believe that trauma doesn’t really exist in the past at all because it lives on in the body. For this reason, I approach treatment with gentle yet highly effective body-based methods to change the way trauma is stored in the brain. Working together in therapy, you can start to feel relief from trauma-related symptoms and see a significant reduction in your stress levels.
Therapy Can Fundamentally Change The Way You Relate To Your Trauma
A lot of therapies target surface-level symptoms rather than getting to the root of the issue, but I weave together neuroscience and somatic (body-based) therapy to offer a more complete approach. I also incorporate spiritual perspectives by request based on my clients’ beliefs, as the intersection of faith and psychology can be deeply meaningful in the process of healing.
By identifying the thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations causing distress and then reprocessing how that distress is stored in the brain, it’s possible to resolve the underlying issues driving your symptoms once and for all.
The main tool I use in trauma treatment is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. While it sounds complicated, EMDR is quite simple in its approach: using side-to-side eye movements or tapping—known as bilateral stimulation—we can actually change the brain’s neural pathways to create new, healthier associations with emotionally difficult experiences. (To read more about EMDR, see the FAQ section below.)
Using my treatment approach, I have witnessed clients:
- Feel more grounded and present, as if a weight has been lifted
- Reduce triggers
- Increase self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-affirmation
- Experience less rumination and anxiety
- Resolve anger, panic attacks, and other physical symptoms
- Experience fewer nightmares and sleep better
- Overcome unhealthy attachments, paving the way for stronger, more loving bonds
- Enhance performance at work, in sports, and in relationships
- Be accountable and confident when making decisions
Sessions with me are available on a traditional weekly schedule or in an intensive format. Whether you are looking to double-up on sessions here and there to reinforce treatment or you want concentrated therapy over the span of a weekend, EMDR can resolve core traumas in considerably less time than traditional talk therapy sessions. I also welcome clients referred by non-EMDR therapists to work adjunctly with me in treatment.
I strongly believe that you already possess what you need to heal. My job as a therapist is to help you escape the automatic defenses—fight, flight, freeze, and fawn—that are the result of your trauma. As you reprocess how your distress is stored in the body, you will become unstuck and able to substantially improve your quality of life.
Want To Know More About EMDR Therapy And How It Targets Trauma?
How does EMDR therapy work in resolving trauma?
EMDR is a highly effective evidence-based therapeutic technique designed to tap into your body’s innate healing system and restore traumatic memories within a less triggering adaptive framework. Similar to what happens when your body enters REM sleep (during which your eyes move from side to side), your brain uses this movement to naturally process information. By mimicking bilateral stimulation in EMDR sessions, you are actually changing the brain’s memory networks, developing new, healthier associations and sensations along the way.
In essence, EMDR removes the need to cope because core issues are resolved and not just masked, making it more efficient than conventional talk therapies. It’s also a gentle, relatively nonverbal approach that does not require you to discuss your trauma at length with a therapist.
How does EMDR differ from traditional talk therapy?
While traditional talk therapies use a discussion of your trauma to help you “make sense” of it, EMDR reframes the way that you recall a traumatic memory altogether. Relying on eye movements to reduce physical and psychological discomfort, EMDR minimizes the need to relive and re-experience your trauma through dialogue.
I will always welcome you to discuss your feelings during our sessions together, but EMDR’s main objective is to nonverbally reorganize the way that trauma is stored in the brain.
How long does EMDR take?
In general, EMDR tends to work more quickly than other counseling approaches because it addresses trauma at the brain- and body-level. That said, time spent in therapy will vary from client to client.
EMDR intensives are a great option for those with time limitations and scheduling restrictions. Intensives are not designed to be stand-alone, long-term treatments but rather to help you achieve a new baseline so that you can begin to gradually taper off therapy. Intensives offer the opportunity to address acute issues quickly and intentionally so that you can build your window of tolerance for deeper, long-term work.
You Are Not Broken
If trauma has impacted your ability to be present, trusting, and functional in your everyday life and relationships, counseling can help you reduce emotional reactivity and make decisions based in confidence rather than fear.
For more information about how my approach to trauma treatment can help you, contact me. And as a certified EMDR consultant, I am available to work with therapists looking to enhance their understanding of trauma.