The human body is an amazing tool, extremely well designed. All processes are communicating and functioning together. When the brain perceives danger, it will shut off some processes and redirect blood flow to its center to get ready for survival. We experience this as the fight or flight response or hyper Some signs can be an increased heart rate, a narrowing vision, muscles can tense, body can sweat and hearing can become more sensitive.
During this time, it is understood that the frontal lobe (or reasoning part of the brain) shuts down and the hypothalamus (the emotional part) activates the sympathetic nervous system. Sometimes the traumatic event is not assimilated as something from the past and therefore comes back over and over as if the dangerous situation was happening right now. This is experienced through various intrusive thoughts such as unwelcome dreams, memories, flashbacks and physiological symptoms.
It taps into the deep, subtle brain process to resume a situation that otherwise could not be assimilated as a memory.
A very good book that explain the functioning of the brain is The Body Keeps the Score from Bessel van der Kolk.
Sometimes, we cannot find the words to describe an overwhelming situation. Moreover if the traumatic events happened in the childhood, the vocabulary to is simply not there. In these cases a verbal therapy may be limited if done on its own. EMDR seems to be a shorter therapy in general, although your certified EMDR therapist will be best to discuss that with you.
During the session, you also do NOT have to relive the traumatic event.
Before the therapy, I was held hostage by my own feelings, and had these uncontrollable overwhelming emotions showing up at any moments.
During the first couple of sessions, my therapist took the time to explain how the memory works, introduce the machine (a sort of metronome with two handheld devices that vibrate one after the other to follow with the eyes), and guided me to create a safe place (check my previous post here).
Then she asked me to recollect one disturbing memory from the past and started the machine. I did not have to tell her everything in details, she worked with this simple bit of information I could give her then.
In the following sessions we explored some difficulties of the present and some actions I could take now as an adult.
It is difficult to explain with words how it felt. But after the few sessions, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my chest and my shoulders, a sense of lightness.
Since then, I can speak about the events the same way as I can speak about some other memories I have. I have also been able to accept the fact and the words themselves that I have been a victim of abuse and that it was not my fault.
After the EMDR therapy, I developed an interest in the integration of body movement and mind. I discovered a kinder acceptance of my own body and mind limitations, and a better understanding of my emotions and feelings. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
I feel it is important to share when something works, even though that means being vulnerable. If you have any questions on my experience with this therapy, do not hesitate to contact me.