Thursday, May 28, 2015

Psych Geek-Out Time

Okay so I mentioned I was going to talk about EMDR therapy. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It's something I've done in the past with another therapist and am starting again to process more stuff.

The "eye movement" part comes from the most common and often most powerful form of the therapy in which the patient watches lights moved back and forth across a long bar, following the light with their eyes. The point is to force the right brain and the left brain to communicate with each other. The patient focuses on an image of a traumatic or disturbing memory plus an associated basic negative belief. By "basic" I mean fundamental, something like "I'm not good enough" or "I'm not safe." Then you follow the lights with your eyes while focusing on these things.

The result tends to be an almost immediate surfacing of emotions and emotionally-charged thoughts. The therapist stops the lights after maybe 30 seconds and asks the patient what came up during that time. The patient is then asked to focus on key thoughts and/or emotions that came up and the lights start again.

It's an incredibly effective therapy for processing trauma in a safe environment. The brain is forced to "reprocess" the memory and the thoughts and emotions the trauma brought up, making the memory much less disturbing and allowing the patient to replace the negative belief created by the trauma with a positive one.

I'm not ready to share publicly what I'm doing EMDR about, but I'm very excited to see where it takes me. I mean, I'm excited now, but I'm terrified the day I have to do it. Intense emotions are scary, especially in front of people.

I wish everyone could have access to good therapists. Unfortunately, in this country, it's a rare privilege.


Mooseplaining Max said...

That's very interesting! I'm glad it's helping you move forward in your life.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Thanks! And I know, the brain is amazing aahhhgjsgjdgh.