Imagine experiencing something so terrifying or traumatic that the memory of it seems to stick to the forefront of your mind. But Ino matter what you do, no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to get it out of your head. Never letting go, never going away, the memory continues to sit there and fester on your mind.
When that traumatic moment happened, your brain’s ability to process information was adversely affected and that moment essentially became “frozen in time”, meaning that it could potentially continue to affect you for years to come. Everything that you remember about that moment — whether it be what you saw, heard, smelled, or felt — would feel no different than the day you lived it.
If you suffer from traumatic, terrifying, or anxiety-caused experiences, they do not have to define your life. There are ways for you to let go and move on. One such way is through Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
This form of therapy, which was originally developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, is used here in Gillette by Dale and Ginny Oedekoven at Clear Creek Counseling. As the Oedekovens describe it, EMDR therapy is used to desensitize disturbing life experiences and to incorporate adaptive beliefs and behaviors. This is accomplished by connecting eye movements under a therapist’s direction to cause dual hemisphere stimulation of the brain resulting in a re-processing of the memories.
“Sets of movements are continued, following a set of structured protocol, until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs,” Dale says.
Although no one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy actually works, either neurobiologically or in the brain, EMDR therapy appears to have a direct effect on the way the brain processes information, restoring it to normal parameters.
“The brain’s set to heal itself,” Ginny says. “EMDR therapy just knocks a few bricks loose so it can get started.” The way she explains it is to picture the brain as a maze, an incredibly delicate and complicated maze. Rather than having to negotiate the maze in the traditional sense, EMDR kicks down all of the brain’s walls and allows for everything to connect, flow, and process the way it is supposed to.
Every person will process the information in their own way, depending on their own personal experiences and values. While incredible and emotional responses are common amongst those who undergo EMDR, the majority of clients treated at Clear Creek Counseling report a significant reduction in the level of disturbance they feel afterwards.
When Sue McKinsey had to face something challenging and personal several years back, Dale suggested she undergo EMDR. She had never heard of it and figured it must be pretty new, but she agreed.
“After our session, I was able to move on and the hurt and betrayal (I had felt) was left behind,” Sue said. “I walked away with love in my heart and was able to see things in a new light. I am very thankful for the tools that were given to me to get my life back on track.”
Robby Gallob also had some favorable words to share about his experience with EMDR.
“If it hadn’t been for EMDR, coupled with my faith, and anger management, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.
By: Ryan R. Lewallen for 82717