Over the last 20 years of providing evidence based counseling to children, families and women, I’ve been watching the research grow around EMDR. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing works to help clients with trauma counseling for overwhelming events in their life. When I first read Dr. Shapiro’s book in 2001, I thought it sounded like magic. When I experienced it with my own counselor, it felt like magic. But the research is telling. In fewer sessions, with less need for details and emotional exposure, clients can use their own mind to clear out disturbing thoughts, feelings and sensations and replace them with thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that are much more positive. Even better, it is client led and client focused!
EMDR Trauma Training
I decided to get trained and found an instructor that could integrate my two passions-working with children and families and providing high quality trauma counseling. Her name is Dr. Robbie Adler-Tapia. She worked with Dr. Shapiro to create a developmental approach to all EMDR and her trainings and consultations have been amazing! Implementing her strategies and protocols will transform the way I practice while still holding to the skills I’ve built up over the last 20 years.
Favorite Parts of EMDR
EMDR comes with some amazing coping skills. These resources assist you in taking control of what at times can see like out of control feelings. We work on breathing, positive imagery, and use special processes in our brains to make it easier to implement these strategies. Children may come out with concrete coping assists like a calm down bag or a Coping Tools Workbook. Parents get to learn the same coping skills and hopefully apply it to their own emotional control. For older clients, I’ve watched as their bodies relax in my chairs and the cares of a lifetime become more manageable. I’ve even seen adolescents begin to accept that sometimes those high school classes that feel like torture can be endured easier.
Incorporation of Neuroscience and Holistic Counseling
The last few years, I’ve focused on learning so much about the brain. Webinars by Drs. Seigel, Doidge, and Van Der Kolk, books by each of them, and trainings in EMDR have really opened up the world of the brain for me. Being able to teach clients the basics of Adaptive Information Processing and integrating that into their treatment is exciting! Our memories aren’t simple video tapes with an emotional score-they are physical networks that store information and can get all tangled up. We can use bilateral stimulation to untangle these painful memories that effect us on a daily basis. As we untangle them in session, our brains automatically move us toward more healthy thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. I can’t wait to see this unfold in the next client’s life.
If you want to read about EMDR, click EMDR Child Handout for a handout on how it can help your child or you. If you want to experience EMDR with me, either as a client or for your child, schedule with me here! I look forward to helping in a whole new way.
Christy Graham, Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, trainee in EMDR