This morning as I sit working on preparations to teach yet another EMDR Training in Denver next month, I am feeling gratitude for the opportunity to share this invaluable technique with other clinicians. What motivates me is my wish for those new EMDR clinicians to help many more people than I could ever help alone.
As clinicians, we recognize that the way one copes with trauma and challenges in life is largely the result of the foundation and resources they develop early in life. How we, as clinicians, help them to synthesize these experiences with adaptive resources is the solution. EMDR is built on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD. When EMDR is done with the proper protocol and case conceptualization, it can serve to resolve both current and early trauma, improve internal and external resources and ultimately provide the necessary synthesis to resolve the trauma.
Clinically, I see this fundamental understanding of trauma and development play out in every area of my Denver counseling practice. It applies with clients suffering from trauma due to domestic violence, sexual abuse, military combat, loss due to death or divorce, and major life changes and transitions. When I am working with someone involved in divorce, I generally find that the difference between one that is high-conflict and one that is not lies in the trauma history of one or both parties involved. When working with a client who is traumatized by a tragic event, natural disaster or health crisis, the same principles apply. A history of earlier unresolved trauma creates maladaptive memory networks, compromising one’s ability to cope with current crises.
EMDR’s value is tremendous. It is a comprehensive therapy and, for me, it is the lens through which treatment is conceptualized. It provides resolution of the presenting problem, but more importantly, it provides resolution of past traumas that have led to maladaptive behaviors, cognitions and feelings. By impacting change in past memory networks, the ability to manage present and future obstacles and challenges improves dramatically. As a clinician, it is invaluable. I continue to be amazed and privileged to witness the way it impacts my clients’ lives, their beliefs about themselves and the world around them, and their overall therapeutic experience. That all said, I am grateful and excited to embark on another training to share this life changing therapy with others.
Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC is a clinician practicing in the Denver Tech Center. She specializes in EMDR therapy, consultation and training. For more information on EMDR or her trainings, please visit her training website at http://www.emdroftherockies.com. For information on Tamra’s psychotherapy practice visit http://thcounseling.com
Following the tragic events of the Movie Theater shooting, and other horrific events over the last decade or two, it is frequently difficult for individuals to cope with the feelings and anxiety that are elicited by those tragedies. Regardless of whether you were witness to the scene, knew someone who was a victim of, or witness to, the tragedy, or if you are just hearing about it from friends or media, it is shocking and difficult to understand.
Symptoms of trauma can include nightmares, depression, anxiety and panic, feelings of insecurity or disbelief that such a tragedy could have happened. Being aware of how you feel is the first step to taking care of yourself in such an aftermath. There are also other things to keep in mind when trying to cope in the face of such a devastating story:
- Remember that feelings of shock and confusion are normal in the aftermath of a very abnormal and tragic event.
- Talk to people about your feelings.
- Spend time with the people you are close to and love.
- Involve yourself in activities you enjoy.
- Nurture yourself.
- Exercise. This releases endorphins which are helpful in the healing process.
- Give yourself time to heal.
If you find yourself in a position where your symptoms are not improving, or you don’t have anyone with whom to talk about your emotions, it is good to seek support or counseling to help you to recover from the shock. There is help available for processing something as difficult to understand as these unthinkable human tragedies.
Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC http://www.thcounseling.com