We find a time that works with your schedule and you fill out some brief paperwork. We meet in person to discuss your concerns, consider how you want your life to look when things are “better,” and set some reasonable goals together. We may agree on some “homework” for you to work on between sessions. We will continue to assess your progress together and may make some shifts in goals along the way.
What is EMDR anyway?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a way to reduce the emotional intensity to a specific memory or series of memories. EMDR connects left-brain and right-brain with a series of tapping or eye movements to help us tell our story in a way that works/feels better for us, shift how it is stored in our body, and have a different thought pattern & emotional reaction to the event. The event itself does not change, but the way we think about it and the meaning we made from it shifts over time. Often, our mind-body does this on its own, however, sometimes an event can get stuck and we get stuck along with it. EMDR is not hypnosis, nor is it a complete erasure of the event. Instead, what actually happens is that EMDR, along with the guidance of a skilled clinician, helps get us unstuck and we get to move on with our lives.
And TRM? What's up with all these acronyms? Yep, another acronym. Good news is that this one is pronounced "trim" instead of having to say each letter. TRM is a fairly new way to work with trauma that incorporates both skill building and reprocessing a traumatic event. There is no tapping or eye movement - instead, we slow down a trauma and take breaks when we need it - and you learn that your body is your own personal rosetta stone in making shifts along the way. I watch and listen, guiding you as you re-calibrate your own nervous system. TRM is a neurobiologically driven practice that relies on the resiliency of the human spirit to shift out of "fight-flight-freeze" mode and back into your zone.
It is often difficult to listen to ourselves after having learned over the years to ignore and override our gut feelings (internal sensations - like nausea in the belly, increased heart rate, or wanting to run) and make others more comfortable - all the while discounting and disconnecting from our own knowing. TRM helps you tune in to what you need to be doing for yourself, learning to trust the body, and finding ways to calm your nervous system in the moment.
Can you actually help me? Is this really that different from other counseling that I have tried?
Great question! Just as in life, there are no guarantees. But what I can tell you is that I will do my best to assist you in your journey and tailor my services to make best use of your time. I would be more than willing to spend some time with you on the phone to discuss your concerns and see if we are a good fit. If we are not, I will be honest with you and can refer you to another therapist.
In practicing EMDR and TRM, I cannot recall a time where I worked with a client that reported a consistent worsening of symptoms or that nothing changed in our time together. Essentially, the brain has an enormous amount of plasticity about it and is constantly changing. What always surprises me is when a client has a spontaneous thought show up that begins to solve their own riddle. The meaning someone may have made from a particular event shifts swiftly from "I should have done something different" to the full-body belief that "I did the best I could." I love to bear witness to the physical and emotional relaxation that comes with these changes - and to know that you already have everything that you need, we just need to figure out where it is!
What do you mean when you say “trauma?”
Trauma can be understood on a spectrum - on one end there is "big T” trauma (life-threatening) and on the other end, what is known as "small t” trauma (something that happened in your life that was scary that you may think about frequently but did not get mortally injured, although it sure felt like it!). Both "big T" and "small t" trauma can massively impact how we think about, respond to, and move around in the world.
We have all had traumas in our life - a significant relationship break up, a life-altering event, or near-death experience. Or maybe you struggle in social settings, have an unexplained fear of driving or doing new things. Chances are that you have experienced a multitude of traumas in your life and they do not currently affect you. For whatever reason, some of us experience an event and our mindbody struggles with it. It has nothing to do with who you are but more to do with how your brain “uploaded” the information. We can work on that!