trauma

The sound of the stranger in the mirror

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Shatter the myths of dissociation – a debilitating psychological condition that affects over 30 million people globally – with Dr. Marlene Steinberg, author of THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR: DissociationThe Hidden Epidemic. Now, for the first time, professionals and lay readers alike can learn valuable guidelines for identifying, treating, recovering from, and ultimately understanding this often confusing condition involving feelings of disconnection from one’s self.

Dr. Steinberg is the originator of The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D), the breakthrough diagnostic test that allows therapists worldwide to diagnose dissociative disorders based on rigorous scientific testing. She has also authored The Handbook for the Assessment of Dissociation: A Clinical Guide, a resource for therapists offering systematic guidelines for assessing dissociative symptoms and disorders.


MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

ABOUT DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS
Are you among the millions of people who have suffered from dissociative symptoms, and they have caused you inner pain and interfered with work or relationships? You can learn more about whether your symptoms are nothing to worry about, or would benefit from professional help.

CONSUMER RESOURCES
If you or a member of your family suffers from dissociation, you can have access to professionals who are trained in the latest advances in diagnosing and treating dissociative disorders.

RESOURCES FOR PROFESSIONALS
If you are a mental health professional and want to gain specialized knowledge in the diagnosis of dissociation using The Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociative Disorders-Revised (SCID-D-R), become familiar with the resources that are available. 

CONTACTING DR. STEINBERG

  
      
Shatter the myths of dissociation – a debilitating psychological condition that affects over 30 million people globally – with Dr. Marlene Steinberg, author of THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR: DissociationThe Hidden Epidemic. Now, for the first time, professionals and lay readers alike can learn valuable guidelines for identifying, treating, recovering from, and ultimately understanding this often confusing condition involving feelings of disconnection from one’s self.

Dr. Steinberg is the originator of The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D), the breakthrough diagnostic test that allows therapists worldwide to diagnose dissociative disorders based on rigorous scientific testing. She has also authored The Handbook for the Assessment of Dissociation: A Clinical Guide, a resource for therapists offering systematic guidelines for assessing dissociative symptoms and disorders.


MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

ABOUT DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS
Are you among the millions of people who have suffered from dissociative symptoms, and they have caused you inner pain and interfered with work or relationships? You can learn more about whether your symptoms are nothing to worry about, or would benefit from professional help.

CONSUMER RESOURCES
If you or a member of your family suffers from dissociation, you can have access to professionals who are trained in the latest advances in diagnosing and treating dissociative disorders.

RESOURCES FOR PROFESSIONALS
If you are a mental health professional and want to gain specialized knowledge in the diagnosis of dissociation using The Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociative Disorders-Revised (SCID-D-R), become familiar with the resources that are available. 

CONTACTING DR. STEINBERG

The sound of following me

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I had to make the picture smaller, as seeing it in full size might be triggering for many of us. This post is about monsters.

Silverfish: My loyal follower

When I went into my new bathroom this morning, I saw them. Not just one, as before, but actually two. The one was fatter than the other, but together they appeared even scarier. Since I live by myself, there is no one to chase the monsters away, so that I can say “Can`t you please get rid of them since I can`t kill animals?”. Normally I would let them creep and crawl no matter how fat they got, but this shocked me so much that I clenched my teeth together, got some paper, and bent down to kill them. I felt sick in my stomach afterwards, and had some flashback-episodes, as this is the first time I`ve intentionally harmed an animal in too many years to count. In other words: For a hypersensitive, let`s save the world-lady, this was pretty traumatic. I got a little calmer after a while, but I still feel bad about it. But I know I must, since I`ve lived with them for three years now (they must have followed me from the last apartment, or I just had bad luck) and I don`t feel very comfortable around them.

 

This event made me think of monsters, and how we try to catch them. The silverfish are so slippery that I had to try two times before I got them. They love darkness and lurk into a crack as soon as sounds or light enters the room. Since my brain has filed them into the drawer of disgust, I get some stereotypical reactions when I see them. It feels like they crawl on me, or like they can attack me. Poo632853b39053b9a39dd99489304519e5r little things. Done no wrong, other than to try to survive. What I noticed today, was that I had more clothes than usual on the bathroom floor. A little after the episode, a lightbulb said “AHA” before it popped: Off course: Another reason to be messy! How can I find the silverfish if it`s so clean that there is nowhere to hide but where I can`t find them? With some clothes and things, they are much more likely to come out, both to cure my phobia, and to get flusheddeepfear1af881a91b94cc8c into the toilet if I fail. I immediately thought this might be a funny story to illustrate a point I`ve thought about a lot the past months, to some of my clients. Why all these bad feelings? What about all the trauma? So many escape, push the scraps of memories to the back of the drawer so they keep their fragmentation alive. Off course, they are ugly, and terrible, and there are real monsters, but they are even more terrible when you don`t know how many they a  -lre, or how they actually look. I feel safer when I can see the silverfish, even if I must suppress a shudder. If I knew they could crawl up anywhere, unnoticed, like many scary memories does, I would look the memories straight in the eyes, because it`s no fair fight if your opponent hides.

 

The sound of shutting the window

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‘No’ he screamed and stamped his feet . He was tired of listening and trying to understand all the time.

Tired of parents telling him what to do, with no affection when he actually tried. His little feet grew bigger, until they made the scary sound he wanted. He stamped until the ground shook and the floorboard cracked. His ‘no’ was now a real threat and the gleam in his eye of defiance lethal. He now finally got what he wanted;  Attention. His own attentive stare glared at her face. He remembered exactly how a face carved in contempt looked; His parents knew the expression exactly. Sometimes he remembered the lines in their faces so vividly that it almost felt like their girlfriend had the same look of disgust behind the contempt. Their lines superimposed on everyone else’s, almost like a lid almost fitting a box. He also remembered how they shut their windows so nobody could see their valuable assets and steal them. He knew how important it was to hide from thieves and couldn’t understand why the people at school complained over ‘he just blanked out’. Didn’t they know that was necessary to protect them from taking what is yours ?

Angry-Kid-1-300x208

It’s tough being a child when navigating in a dangerous world.

‘No, I won’t accept your drama!’ He shouted. When another flinch on her reignited more memories of withdrawal, he took her thin arm and held it tight. No one could win over him anymore. He would never be weak again

Escaping the safety net of silence

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Reblogged from Elle:

escaping the safety net of silence

http://media.washtimes.com/media/community/photos/blog/entries/2011/11/27/silence-640_s640x427.jpg?7

Silence was such a helpful skill to master.

To literally not let a word escape from these lips for at least one school year at the ages of 4-5 (don’t know how long it was exactly, only what was written in records that have been accessed). That is not normal, and it certainly wasn’tmanipulative (which is how an educational psychologist described it).

Fearing making a sound; if those little girls had spoken, it would have reinforced their shame for existing. That fear is held by so many of us, even now. “Shut up” “you always sound so stupid” “you never make sense” are just some of the many statements that are repeated, internally pretty much always.

But why should those little girls still be so frozen in silence? Why shouldn’t they cry their tears out loud? Why shouldn’t they tell? Why shouldn’t someone hear them?
Why are we all still so afraid of hearing our own voices? Why are we so afraid of anyone else hearing?

Silence can be safe, it can also be pretty dangerous and we need to stop holding onto silence so tightly.

*just writing this has triggered the “don’t ever tell” monologue.

Thank you for reading.

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The sound of living like a psychological millionaire

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The art of living as a psycholgical millionaire: To use your energy in a way that gives you a result you need.

A person with the possibility of becoming a psychological millionaire does just this. For this to happen, certain principles must be satisfied. Efficient mental energy has four characteristic features. Its:

– Adaptive

– Goal-oriented

– Successful

and

– Devoid of waste

Examples of non-efficient living:

Certain diagnostic groups can have enough mental energy, but low mental efficiency. This can for example be clients with AD/HD or Borderline personality disorder. They might do a lot of things, like walking around in a room restlessly or having an emotional outburst. Their problem is using the energy in a good way: They can`t regulate it in a way that makes it able to live a good life. Some groups have too low energy to be efficient, like with depressed or fatigued clients.

When working with dissociation, parts have different levels of mental energy and efficiency. EP`s can actually be the most energetic parts in the system, but have very low efficiency, since they repeat behaviors in a dysfunctional way. It is possible to have a dissociative disorder like DID and borderline PF at the same time. In this case most parts will have borderline features, that is: High levels of mental energy but low efficiency.

Energy and efficiency in trauma

“Looking in a cupboard that is empty, will not work no matter how good the torch is”. Nijenhuis, 2013

Trauma can also be understood by using the concept of energy and efficiency. Trauma can be either too much or too little energy or efficiency. For example, an EP can feel stuck, with high levels of energy, but low levels of efficiency. The EP can`t “get out of it”. There is no symbolization of the event, since it “feels like” the trauma is still going on. The part or the EP is “stuck” in what was. To connect the then with the now, it`s necessary to reach the reach the higher level of language, and that is easier when an empathic therapist helps the EP. Empathy is necessary to tune in to the EP`s experience. If the EP is afraid, the voice of the therapist must be soothing and calm. The therapist must tune in so that the EP is seen and validated. When the therapist tries to understand the EP, the ANP of the patient might learn that it`s possible to collaborate and help EP`s.

Example of working with an EP with enough mental energy

Imagine a claustrophobic EP (picture 1). The EP has trouble breathing because her throat feels constricted. The therapist might observe this, and tune in to this with a low, empathic voice “It looks like you have trouble breathing ?” The therapist observes that the EP tries to nod. The therapist continues: “I see you tried to nod, but it looks like its hard to move?”. The therapist explores the EP`s experience, thereby respecting and validating her.

The therapist can also ask the EP to try to broaden her field of consciousness, by asking if they can try to breathe slower or by asking of if the EP could look at something around her that is comforting. He can also try to tell the EP that she is safe, that boundaries will be respected, or say that everything will be okay. Moreover, the therapists can make it clear that the EP decides what happens next, and that everything will be predictable and safe. The therapist watches the EP and helps her, where she is, there and then.


Working with a non-verbal EP

If the EP is young and can`t talk, one has to communicate non-verbally. For example, if the EP is in “freeze-mode”, the therapist can ask questions about the inner experiences of the EP: “Can you find a place in yourself where you have some ability to move?” If the EP moves the ANP`s finger just a tiny bit, the therapist might say: “Is it possible to move your finger a little bit more?” Gradually, the EP is exposed to new experiences that will be healing in time.

If the frozen EP is able to move, either by actually walking around in the room, the EP learns what it couldn`t when abuse happened. When the therapist is able to intone and be there for the EP`s, magic can happen. I`ve experiences this myself, and every time it feels so meaningful. To see a afraid little EP starting to feel stronger, feels like I`ve been able to lift a heavy weight together with them. Therapy is heavy work. The EP must shred the cloak of repression that weigh down on them, and that cost a lot of mental energy. This means that the client must have enough mental energy available.

If he is tired, starved, physicially unfit or doesn`t do anything inspiring that gives joy or energy, it might be best to wait until more energy is available. Trauma-therapy is hard work, and cost both physical and mental energy. Going into trauma-material before the client has filled up her batteries, is not recommended.

More about trauma and dissociation

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I am reblogging the post from Quentin, a lovely woman with DID

We are growing rapidly like the vegetation in a forest, so we use trees and flowers often as our avatars.

We are raising awareness of all dissociative disorders including:  dissociative identity disorder, dissociative amnesia, depersonalization disorder/derealization , other specified dissociative disorder,  and unspecified dissociative disorder, as well as the trauma and stressor-related disorders including: reactive attachment disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder,  acute stress disorder, adjustment disorders, other specified trauma and stressor-related disorder, and unspecified trauma and stressor-related disorder.

Detailed information is kept on the Trauma and Dissociation Wiki . This project  is based on the best academic sources available today.  Updates to the wiki, relevant quotes, images and information are posted on the projects facebook page, which has a focus on education and healing.

The Trauma and Dissociation Wiki is full of useful information including: discussion of the association between mental disorders with severe and prolonged child abuse, and how each disorder is featured in the American Psychological Association’s DSM-5 manual, and copious scientific information including academic references so you can improve your understanding of trauma and dissociation.

History of the Trauma and Dissociation Project which began on January 1st 2013 with the start of a brand new year. We have been busy adding many projects the spread correct information and awareness of the Trauma and Dissociative Disorders, and with 2014 not far away we still have many plans for the rest of 2013.  Join us in our work!

 

His story

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He partciulary lost control of his hands

he hit her until she was beaten to bloods. The police said: Surely, there is something you must have done to provoke him. “My mother did nothing to provoke him and even if she had, violence is never, ever a choice that a man should make.”

 

This is how some people respond after stories like these

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I felt nauseous when watching this. Not that I don`t mean women can`t be violent, and that one must take that as serious as when men hit, but the way this video is made, how the studies referred to have been twisted and specially picked for the purpose. A place in the video he actually says: i have to admit, this study has serious methological issues, and one is not enough. Than he says: Lets look at hundred more. He pulls forward a study from scientists that are not easy to prove today. He also pulls forward studies where women are more likely to inflict serious injury, and after a while contradict himself with: Are there studies disproving this study? Sure! But there is enough evidence to.. like this it continues. And: When men rapport abuse (of course we shall and must take it seriously), might some of them rapport it to not be blamed themselves? This movie is filled with big words and extreme examples in a terrorizing fashion

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence_in_the_United_States

EMDR: Eye movements help trauma victims

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EMDR

For those who have followed the blog for a while, you might know I mostly work as a trauma therapist, and that I use, among other methods, EMDR to integrate traumatic memories. so what does the psychologist mean?

How we remeber, and how we forget: Trauma, denial and dissociation

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How We Remember and How We Forget: Trauma, Denial, and Dissociation

I “forgot” a good part of my life.  I “forgot” the 3-6 months I spent in foster care, the events that led up to it, and the intense grief of being returned to a biological family I felt no connection to.  I “forgot” being trafficked for sex by my own father.  I “forgot” being placed in a freezer, tied to a wall in the dark in the garage like an animal, and forced to hang myself.

For a long time, I “forgot” about appointments, bills, and things I had done and said within the last 24 hours.  Sometimes, I still do.

I know a lot about forgetting.

Since then, I’ve been working at remembering.  I know a lot about that too.

A diagram of a neuron.

We remember information, experiences, and ideas because there are robust neural pathways between them.  If I am trying to remember a person’s name, I will most likely start with a piece of information that seems like it will lead me there: the face, trivia about the person, our last conversation.  If I am really intent on remembering, I will continue to dredge up these bits of associated memory until I am able to locate it.  So, the more connections we have between something we want to remember and other things and the more robust those pathways, the easier memory becomes.

Neural pathways become faster and more efficient with use.  When we stop using a particular pathway on a regular basis, it becomes less robust, slowing us down when we try to use it.  We may not “forget” information so much as lose the connections that allow us to find it.

I suspect that denial and dissociation both affect memory because of how they impact the neural pathways between parts of a memory.

Both the cortex and the limbic system are involved in memory formation. The amygdala, in particular, plays an important role in emotional memories.

In the case of dissociation, I speculate that the lack of robust neural pathways occurs at the time of the event.  Sensory impressions, thoughts, and emotional reactions are recorded, but with very little connection between them.  Whether this is because the brain functions that create order and connectivity are suppressed during traumatic events or because the parts of the brain involved in forming memories during life-or-death situations are different and don’t form connections as well, I’m not sure.

But I am sure that it happens because of how my own memories arise for me.  A major part of working through the trauma I’ve experienced has been simply finding things and putting them together–connecting pictures to words, declarative knowledge to sensory impresssions, physical responses to my knowledge of feeling states.  I “remember” nearly everything significant that has happened to me, but when I first began to work with them these memories stood in no particular order and in no relation to one another.

How the events were recorded in my mind in the first place has something to do with this.

Now, I know that the general wisdom is that we suppress trauma because we are trying to protect ourselves from the knowledge of what happened until we are in a position to deal with it.

I don’t entirely believe that.  I don’t think the memories are difficult to locate for the sole reason of emotional self-protection.  Partly, yes, but not entirely.

At the time of the event, we shut down certain types of awareness for two reasons that really come down to physical survival: one, we do this in order to suppress an awareness of physical pain so that our reactions to pain don’t interfere with doing what we need to do to survive.  Two,  we do this because conscious thought is the slow-track to action, and if we engage in it we could be killed before we’ve even come to a decision.  Much better to think like a lizard and just run away.

It is this state of suppressed conscious awareness that limits our ability to form connections between parts of a memory.  If a traumatic event is extremely intense, or if we have a lot of experience with being traumatized, touching on one aspect of the memory can re-start the process of suppressing conscious awareness, and our brains remain unable to form connections.

That is what PTSD looks like.  Elements of a memory are triggered, but instead of this access to the memory allowing us to form robust connections between parts of the memory, the connection is instead formed to whatever processes are involved in dissociation.  The more this happens, the better we get at dissociating as the pathways involved in dissociation get more and more robust.

But we may never figure out why red sweaters scare the bejesus out of us, or what happened after we put one on.  We may never link the scratchy feeling of the sweater with the color, or with the queasy feeling in our stomachs.  Not because we are avoiding that connection, but because we are busy doing something else.  We aren’t trying to protect our psyche.  We are trying to protect our bodies, and our brains don’t know that they can stop.

Denial, on the other hand, can lead to a kind of deliberate forgetting.  Every time the memory is accessed, we shift our attention away from it.  (For why, see Unsolicited, Bad Advice.)  The connections are there, but we train ourselves not to use them.  With time, the connections become tenuous, weak, frail.  They may break altogether.  The memory then becomes suppressed.  It is there, but we no longer know how to find it.

In dissociation, there may not be enough connections to the memory or between parts of a memory to start with.  In denial, we can intentionally remove them.

In the case of childhood trauma, the family can aid in this.  Children remember events partly because others in the family rehearse what happened with them later on.  Those pleasant sessions of “Remember when…?” reinforce and strengthen neural pathways between the details of events.  They also help children construct comprehensible narratives of what may be more fragmented impressions.

When traumatic experiences occur in the family, members often actively avoid doing this.  The message implicitly or explicitly stated may be that it would be better to talk (and think) about other things.  Without those rehearsals, children lose the connectivity between traumatic events and the rest of their lives and may have trouble accessing them as adults.  Or they may be able to access them, but assume the memories were simply bad dreams or the products of a fertile imagination.  The memories may not seem like memories because no one else seems to have them.

In cases of family abuse, both mechanisms involved in “forgetting” can work to “repress” a memory.  Elements of memory start out disconnected and isolated because of the functioning of the brain in the midst of trauma, and the connections that are there can become disused, slow, and inefficient because of denial within the family that means those pathways are deliberately avoided.

No wonder I feel like I’m giving my brain an extreme home make-over–cleaning, organizing, and re-designing.

Further reading:

The Brain Athlete. (2012)  Brain Plasticity Forms Who We Are.  Retrieved from: http://www.brainathlete.com/brain-plasticity-forms/

—-Neocortext and Not Hippocampus May Form Memories.  Retrieved from: http://www.brainathlete.com/neocortex-hippocampus-form-memories/

How to Forget Unwanted Memories.  (2012, October 20).  Medical News Today.  Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251655.php

Plasticity and Neural Networks.  Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  Retrieved from: http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_07/d_07_cl/d_07_cl_tra/d_07_cl_tra.html

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Factsheet.  (2011, October 17).  National Institutes of Mental Health.  Retrieved from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-research-fact-sheet/index.shtml

 

How EMDR opens a window for traumatized people

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This is from one of the developers of EMDR (treatment of trauma) 

F. Shapiro

How EMDR Therapy Opens a Window to the Brain

Posted on September 19, 2012 by admin

by Francine Shapiro, PhD

Over the past two decades, the use of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has provided researchers and clinicians with the ability to observe how symptoms develop and can be rapidly treated. Over 20 randomized studies have demonstrated positive treatment effects, and EMDR has been declared an effective trauma treatment by organizations worldwide, including the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Defense. Three randomized studies have demonstrated that 84 to 100 percent of those suffering from a single trauma no longer had posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an average of three 90-minute sessions. Changes that typically took months or years with other forms of therapy occurred within weeks. This rapidity allows both clients and clinicians to observe firsthand how the brain’s internal connections are made.

EMDR therapy places the information-processing system of the brain first and foremost in both the development and treatment of pathology. This system functions to take disturbing events and make the appropriate connections that allow a return of emotional equilibrium. For instance, a fight with a family member may cause us to have negative emotions, thoughts and body reactions, but they are usually resolved through thinking about it and during the period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. We may end up feeling, He must have been having a bad day. We’ve had good experiences before and can resolve this glitch. This resolution occurs because our brain has made the appropriate connections, and our negative reactions disappear. But when an event is too disturbing, it can overwhelm the information-processing system, and this negative experience is stored in memory along with the unpleasant emotions, physical sensations and beliefs. Since everything that happens in the present links into the memory networks to be interpreted, any future encounter with the person can trigger these unprocessed memories and the negative responses arise.

Rather than rely on the deliberate manipulation of beliefs and behaviors as occurs in cognitive behavior therapy, or the use of the relationship as in psychodynamic therapies, EMDR therapy identifies the earlier life experiences that are the basis of current problems and, after accessing the memories of the events, activates the brain’s information-processing system. This is done by means of standardized procedures that include the use of bilateral eye movements, taps or tones. The eye movements have been found to cause an immediate decline in negative emotions and imagery vividness, as well as increased memory accuracy and episodic retrieval. These observations support two theories: that the eye movements disrupt working memory, and that they link into the same processes that occur in REM sleep.

In EMDR therapy, it is during the sets of eye movements—each of which lasts approximately 30 seconds—that the brain makes the associations and neural connections needed to integrate, or digest, the disturbing memory. What is useful is incorporated and what is useless is discarded. For instance, a rape victim may begin by feeling, I’m useless and shameful. I should have done something. At the end of treatment, she feels, The shame is his, not mine. I’m a strong, resilient woman.

Since the client is asked, “What do you get now?” after each set of eye movements, the clinician is able to witness firsthand the often startling connections that have caused the client’s problem. For instance, one of the cases reported in my recent book, Getting Past Your Past, involved an earthquake victim (“Lynne”) who had come for treatment to the Mental Research Institute. Although she had not had any problems after previous earthquakes, she developed PTSD after a recent one. After preparation, she targeted the disturbing image of hiding in a doorway with her son and after a few sets of eye movements, she made the following associations after consecutive sets:

Lynne: Yeah I was thinking about my sense of betrayal with my brother that he molested me, and how I really admired him (crying).
Lynne: Yeah. (crying) Something occurred to me like, “Duh”: How much—that it shook my sense of reality.

Here we can see how unexpected and significant the different unconscious memory associations of the brain can be. The ground is literally shaking during an earthquake, and this is connected to a major event in childhood when Lynne’s trust was betrayed. In both instances what should have been a firm foundation became shaken.
After further sets:

Lynne: What comes really clear—is getting sick when I was around the same age.…I had a really bad pain in my side, and then they just decided that I had some kind of mental problem. I guess that was the only way that I could express it.

Lynne knew she had a bad pain, but no one believed her, and they concluded that she couldn’t trust her own perceptions. Once more there was no firm ground to stand upon.

Subsequent sets of eye movements brought her to associations of hiding in bed under the covers while her parents fought. The chaos of her troubled childhood and this scene seemed clearly linked with the chaos of the earthquake and hiding with her son. It helps explain why this particular earthquake resulted in her getting PTSD. At the end of the processing session, the appropriate connections had been made and the earthquake no longer troubled her. At one-month and one-year follow-ups, she no longer had PTSD.

Traumatization is a widespread problem. In fact, recent research has demonstrated that general life events can cause even more symptoms of PTSD than major trauma. Many of the negative emotions, thoughts and body reactions people have are caused by unprocessed memories stored in the brain. In Getting Past Your Past, readers can identify the basis for their own problems and learn EMDR self-help techniques to immediately change negative responses. For instance, if you are troubled by a negative image, try imagining it on top of paint in a can and stir it up. This disrupts working memory and can help get rid of the image. Other techniques will help you change negative thoughts, emotions and body reactions. There are also guidelines to know when you need full memory processing. The clinical work with EMDR therapy has clearly shown that unprocessed memories of all kinds are the basis of a wide range of pathologies.

Brain scans have clearly demonstrated pre-post changes after EMDR therapy, including increases in hippocampal volume, which have implications for memory storage. The bottom line of EMDR outcome research is that clinical change can be both profound and efficient. It also shows how mental problems are actually caused by physiologically stored, unprocessed memories. Hopefully, this recognition will help remove the stigma of receiving mental health treatment. We have no hesitation about getting a broken leg realigned by a physician so that healing can take place. If self-help techniques are not sufficient, we should likewise not hesitate to receive professional help to allow the information-processing system of the brain to resolve our mental health issues.

Dr. Francine Shapiro is the originator and developer of EMDR therapy and the recipient of numerous awards, including the International Sigmund Freud Award for Psychotherapy of the City of Vienna. Her most recent book is Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy (Rodale Books).

– See more at: http://brainworldmagazine.com/how-emdr-therapy-opens-a-window-to-the-brain/#sthash.cyKkitGi.dpuf