Do you feel jumpy, disconnected, or like you are walking around in a daze? Suffer from flashbacks or nightmares of stressful events? Do you avoid situations or reminders of the traumatic event? You may have experienced some sort of trauma.
What’s Considered Trauma?
Trauma appears in various ways, but there are generally a few scenarios that are considered traumatic. Events that would typically be considered traumatic may include:
- Physical abuse or neglect
- Sexual or physical assault
- Family or parental abandonment
- Losing a job
- Natural disasters
- Physical injury
- Severe illness
- Witnessing a crime, accident, or death
How Does One Develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Some traumas are one-time incidents, accidents, or natural disasters. And some traumas are long-lasting and continuous. Coping with a prolonged chronic illness or recurring childhood abuse can be difficult. These events and experiences trigger extreme fear and an overwhelming amount of stress. While some can recover and adapt over time, others may develop symptoms of a more server disorder such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is outlined by 4 categories and defined by 20 symptoms according to the DSM-5. Symptoms may arise within the first 3 months following a traumatic event. However, they also may not appear until months or even years later.
Symptoms of PTSD
- Avoidance: You may avoid places or situations you once considered safe. You may feel intimidated or anxious by them after the traumatic event.
- Intrusion: Symptoms may include feeling emotionally distressed by memories, thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares. This is exceptionally likely to happen if you’re reminded by a person, smell, sound, or image of the traumatic event.
- Thought and Mood Changes: You may feel excessively guilty or ashamed about what happened. In some cases, this could lead to withdrawing or feeling disconnected from others. Changes in your thinking patterns and mood can also show up as:
- Depersonalization: A feeling of being detached from or outside yourself. You may observe your physical body as if you’re in a dream. You may feel numb emotionally or physically, often as a result of increased anxiety.
- Arousal & Reactivity: Feeling hyper-aware or on guard of your environment after a traumatic event is expected. This is a very protective symptom as your body tries to keep you safe by alerting you of possible threats and vulnerabilities. This natural defense tool is more sensitive following a traumatic event and may look like:
- Irritable mood or angry outbursts
- Reckless or self-destructive behaviors
- Problems with concentration and focus
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Experiences with trauma or abuse can impact the way you feel about yourself, the decisions you make, and the way you view the world around you. Virtual Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has helped many people regain freedom after a traumatic event. You can too.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is an evidence-based treatment. In fact, EMDR is an effective treatment method because it enables you to process traumatic events quickly. Research shows people experience the same benefits after a few sessions that usually take years to reach with talk therapy.
Virtual EMDR has established its effectiveness in treating trauma and PTSD in children and adults. It can help with other mental health conditions such as:
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
- Chronic illness and medical issues
- Depression and bipolar disorder
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Sleep disturbance
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Violence and abuse
Although some may prefer traditional treatment, others may find that EMDR can accelerate the process of healing. It aims to leave you with the understanding that promotes healthy change.
What To Expect From Virtual EMDR
The virtual EMDR treatment process consists of multiple phases:
Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning
An EMDR therapist will ask you questions to better understand your situation. They will then develop a plan by choosing targets, which can include:
- Event(s) that occurred
- Present circumstances that cause distress
- Necessary skills or behaviors needed to learn in the long term.
Phase 2: Preparation
Your EMDR therapist will teach you different coping skills to handle emotional distress. These stress reduction techniques are for you to use daily. Since EMDR tends to produce rapid change, the goal is to maintain balance in your life.
Phases 3-6: Assessment
During these next phases, you and your therapist will identify particular traumatic memories. We will also identify particular components including:
- A detailed mental picture of a target event (from phase 1)
- A negative belief about yourself associated with the event
- Relevant emotions and physical sensations
Phases 4-7: Treatment
Moreover, these phases focus on using EMDR therapy techniques to treat the targeted memories. While focusing on the mental image, your EMDR therapist will ask you to follow specific eye movements. These movements are known as bilateral stimulation. They can also include other repetitive activities such as tapping. Afterward, your therapist will ask you to clear your mind and pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise spontaneously. When you get distressed, your therapist will help you return to the present moment. This process is repeated until the distress over specific thoughts, images, or memories starts to fade.
Phase 8: Evaluation
Finally, you’ll examine your progress. By concluding the impact of your past traumas, you can live in the present and gain control over your life.
Interested in Virtual EMDR in California?
Our EMDR therapists can help you begin to process the hard things in your life. You deserve to live a life more grounded in you. To get started with EMDR therapy sessions at our Los Angeles-based therapy practice, follow the steps below.
- Request an appointment using the prompt below or our contact form.
- Begin meeting with a skilled EMDR therapist.
- Process what’s holding you back and start living more authentically.
Other Services at Yellow Chair Collective
At our Los Angeles and New York City-based practice, we want to show you that you deserve healing. Whether or not EMDR is the route you choose, we want to meet you where you are. That’s why we offer a multitude of services. We help teens and adults with ADHD as well as anxiety. Our therapists also work with highly sensitive people, those struggling with burnout, and those in need of culturally sensitive therapy services. You can receive any of these services in person or online in California or New York.
Yellow Chair Collective: The Podcast | Demystifying EMDR: All You Need to Know with Jaja Chen