EMDR, an approach to resolve trauma

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a highly structured and highly effective treatment protocol for trauma treatment, particularly useful for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Let’s see how it works in the face of trauma.

    What is psychological trauma?

    Talking about trauma is talking about stress. We usually associate the word “stress” with a busy lifestyle, with that feeling that we all have sometimes that we do not achieve everything: right now, we can say “I am stressed” by the experiences we are having. as if we were overwhelmed.

    Stress is a term that has its origin in physics, it is a concept that tells us about the force that a material can withstand before it deforms or breaks. This, applied to the mind, tells us that our mind can withstand some pressure before it gets hurt. When something is beyond our ability to resist we start to notice discomfort in the form of symptoms, we are overwhelmed by the situation.

    Trauma is a vital event which, due to its high emotional load, it overcomes this capacity for resistance and leaves a deep imprint in the memory. When we go through a situation like this, our nervous system, which is responsible for processing information, is overloaded with overload and cannot function effectively. He is not able to “digest” the experience.

    T trauma and t trauma

    When we think of a traumatic situation, we often think of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake, terrorist attack, kidnapping, robbery or any other similar, extremely dangerous and potentially fatal situation.

    These types of experiences are what we call “T-capital traumas” and are situations which due to the high emotional load they entail. they can exceed the capacity of our adaptive information system and generate a clinical picture known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    There are other types of experiences that are also potentially traumatic: these emotional wounds such as situations of humiliation, contempt, failure, abandonment, loss, marginalization, etc. These situations are those that can lead to a “little trauma”.

    These events are more common and are not potentially fatal although they can inflict deep emotional injury., Especially when they are suffering in the early stages of life, a particularly vulnerable period when our nervous system is much more sensitive to external impressions.

    Sometimes the person going through these situations may not be fully aware of having had these experiences due to a dissociative phenomenon whereby the mind hides the experience from consciousness. In fact, there are people who admit to having entire periods of their lives blank.

    When this happens, it is common for the person to react with intense crying, disproportionate anger, not being able to trust others, carrying a generalized feeling of guilt, or feeling that they must be constantly alert and oblivious to it. that happens to him. It generates a lot of helplessness and often leads people to believe that something is wrong with their mind. or it gives them a feeling of inadequacy, that there is something wrong with them.

      Bilateral stimulation

      When our mind is severely affected by extremely painful situations, sometimes we cannot properly process what has happened, our adaptive processing system is blocked, a brain nucleus called the amygdala “kidnaps” our brain and the experience is stored on the “non-declarative” or “implicit” memory array. In other words, our minds were so overwhelmed that we were unable to do proper mental digestion and stored the information in the wrong warehouse.

      Bilateral stimulation techniques are a set of procedures that EMDR uses to access memory networks and thus be able to rework the experience, separating the memory of the event from the emotional charge that accompanies it and thus allowing the metabolism of the patient. disk.

      When this happens, the hippocampus is put into operation, a brain structure very important in the role of memory, and this hippocampus stores information about what has happened in “declarative memory” or memory. “Episodic memory”. In other words, through a process called double attention, we allow our mind to move into the present and the past simultaneously, So that our adaptive information processing system can digest the experience and put the memory in the right repository.

      When this happens, the person refers to a feeling of liberation; the memory remains but the emotional charge no longer accompanies it, the past ceases to condition the present and generally this treatment is accompanied by a precious learning that we call in psychology “pautraumático growth”.

      If you want to start a therapy process applied to issues like the ones we’ve seen here, seek professional help as soon as possible.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Shapiro, F., & Forrest, MS (2009). EMDR: A Revolutionary Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma (working ed.). Nirvana Books, SA deC.V.

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