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EMDR Therapy

Are you experiencing trauma reactions?

Do you find yourself ruminating on a memory from the past? Are you having panic attacks or nightmares? Or, have you isolated yourself and struggle to connect with others?  If you answered ‘yes’ to one of these questions, you may be experiencing trauma reactions.

What is trauma?

Trauma is the a general term for an event or repeated events that have had a negative impact on you. Furthermore, trauma is not just “something bad” that happened. Instead, it is something that causes you distress when you think about it. Or, your brain has tucked away because it is trying to protect you from the emotional pain.

Symptoms of trauma

Each individual experiences the after effects of trauma differently, but there are some common symptoms:

Fears or Avoidance – Often the people, places, or things that are connected to the trauma can be triggering.

Annoyance or Irritability – Often unrecognized traumas will heighten our sensitivity to relationships and environments.

Nightmares and Intrusive Memories –  The inability to stop these thoughts and memories from coming up can be scary and make you feel unsafe.

Flashbacks – Flashbacks happen when you think about the trauma (on purpose or unintentionally) and it feels like you’re back in that moment again.

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What is a “trigger”?

One of the most important things to know about trauma is that it can take place at any time over the course of one’s life. You may desire to “move on” from the past events that continue to bother you at random moments in your current life. Or you may stumble upon undiscovered experiences during your childhood that has been unconsciously impacting and harming you.

When talking about trauma, you will often hear the terms “trigger” or “triggering.” Triggers are specific things about the past experience that takes you back to the moment. Triggers impact us physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Oftentimes, these triggers are what make us feel “stuck.” When trauma has not been worked through, triggers can persist and continue to hold you back from living your fullest potential.

Why do trauma triggers happen?

It makes sense that you may cry or feel unsafe around certain people or places for seemingly no reason. What’s really happening when these symptoms arise, is that your brain is signaling a “danger alert.” It’s stating, “we’ve experienced this before, and it led to something bad happening.” Essentially, triggers are our survival response of fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. These are your body’s natural responses to danger. Once you’ve experienced trauma, anything that resembles the event, has been marked as dangerous in your mind. Your body will automatically respond to your survival instinct, when triggers are met.

This is what makes trauma a difficult process to overcome; your brain is doing the corrective thing of protecting you, at the moment. However, it’s an issue when your brain is trying to protect you without the real threat of danger. The goal of EMDR therapy is to help your brain understand that just because something was dangerous before, does not mean that everything similar to it is dangerous now.

How does Yellow Chair Collective treat trauma?

The trauma therapists at our Los Angeles based counseling center have years of experience working with individuals who have experienced trauma. One of the most prominent trauma treatments is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. At our counseling center, we often use EMDR therapy to help those who are feeling ‘stuck.’ We help them process trauma and move forward with their lives. While we are experienced in EMDR therapy, we understand that it is not a good fit for everybody. So, we offer many other therapies for trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, if you’re interested. When trauma happens to you, it not only makes you feel stuck, but it can actually be stuck in your brain and body.

The brain has many different parts, each with their own purpose and function. Further, they are supposed to work together to help humans process and store information. So, when trauma happens, the brain essentially malfunctions and does not process information and store it properly.

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How does EMDR therapy help?

The purpose of EMDR therapy is to help your brain’s different compartments connect and communicate effectively. When trauma happens, the information gets stuck in the emotional part of your brain. This is why triggers happen when trauma has been unprocessed. It’s nearly impossible for your brain to understand something in a logical way when the memory is stored in the emotional side. Without processing trauma, the experience from the past is still in the emotional side of your brain. So, it’s bringing up all of these unwanted feelings and thoughts that may not make sense.

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The Science of EMDR

In order to move past trauma, the logical and emotional sides of the brain must reconnect first. An essential piece of EMDR therapy is bilateral stimulation. This aspect of EMDR therapy is what makes it so unique. Bilateral stimulation takes place with the help of an EMDR therapist. They may hold up a finger in front of your face, moving it to the right and left, while you follow it with your eyes. Or, they may have you hold “tappers” so that you can create the rhythmic motion yourself. And, they can tap your knees back and forth. Essentially, bilateral stimulation is an external encouragement for the brain to connect the two sides of the brain, opening a path for communication.

So… how does EMDR therapy work?

Once your brain has been stimulated using rhythmic movements, your therapist will continue ask you to think of the traumatic event or memory. During EMDR therapy, you don’t have to talk about details about your experiences. You just think of the traumatic memory or something related to it. Then, the two sides of your brain are connected and able to share the information. It moves from the emotional side of the brain to the logical side of the brain. Once it’s been moved over, it is “processed.” This results in your being able to think about or even discuss the trauma without experiencing triggering sensations. Instead of living in the emotional side of your brain, the memory and information now live in the logical side of the brain.

EMDR therapy for anxiety

EMDR therapy is most commonly used to treat trauma. But, it can also be helpful in treating anxiety, panic, and phobias. Further, it can help reduce work stress and burnout, too. Often, when you are experiencing anxiety or an anxiety disorder, you can feel “stuck” on thoughts or concerns about the present and future. Perhaps you just can’t stop worrying about when applications will open for graduate school. Or, you know that there is a promotion opening up at work and you uncontrollably think about it in preparation for when it’s open. Even when you know you worrying about something today will not serve you, you just can’t stop. We’ve worked with high-achieving clients in the past who have had these same concerns. And, EMDR therapy has been able to help them logically process their fears, providing them relief and quieting the nonstop thoughts.

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Get “unstuck” with EMDR therapy at Yellow Chair Collective

The therapists at Yellow Chair have found EMDR therapy to be very effective in helping clients get “unstuck.” So, please know that working with a therapist can help! And, there is hope for you to feel better and move forward, too. Many clients we’ve worked with have spent years stuck in the past and experiencing triggers. But, with EMDR therapy, they have been able to move onward. EMDR therapy has helped them create new ideas and beliefs about not only their traumatic experiences, but themselves. Those who have worked with an EMDR therapist have felt empowered and supported while moving through the healing process.

We offer virtual EMDR as well as in-person EMDR therapy. Some of our clients actually prefer virtual EMDR therapy because it can feel safer. Seeking therapy from a mental health professional can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. We get that. And, we want you to be as comfortable as possible. So, if cuddling up on the couch and meeting with an EMDR therapist over video sounds better to you, so be it! At Yellow Chair Collective, we want to make therapy work for you in order for you to have the highest chance of meeting your goals.

Move beyond your past with EMDR Therapy in Los Angeles, CA

With the help of our qualified EMDR therapists, you can begin to find your balance. You’ll learn practical techniques you can use in your everyday life. Techniques that’ll help you deal with daily stressors and triggers. To get started with our Los Angeles-based therapy practice, follow the steps below:

  1. Request an appointment using the prompt below or our contact form.
  2. Begin meeting with a skilled EMDR therapist.
  3. Process what’s holding you back and start living more authentically.
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Other Services at Yellow Chair Collective

The skilled therapists at our Los Angeles-based counseling center are ready to meet you. Not only do we specialize in EMDR for trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, but we have many other services to offer. If you are looking to improve your romantic relationship, we offer couples therapy. Likewise, if you are working on yourself, we offer individual therapy, burnout treatment and work stress management, and HSP treatment and therapy for empaths. We also have experience working with teens as well as mothers for postpartum therapy. Please reach out to us at Yellow Chair Collective for any questions you may have about our in-person or online therapy services.

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    We do not accept any in-network insurance other than Cigna