About EMDR Therapy
EMDR Therapy goes beyond alleviating symptoms, to target healing right at the root of your distress. EMDR can help you shift the underlying assumptions that you have about the world and yourself, that fuel anxiety, shame and self-criticism.
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Events that may lead a person to more rigidly compartmentalize their emotions:
- Childhood neglect
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Being raised with rigid rules and threat of punishment
- A sibling with a serious illness
- A significant loss
- A traumatic event to you or someone you love
- Bullying or struggling either academically
- Having a parent with unrealistic expectations
- A parent who is emotionally unavailable
- Having parents who are separated
Symptoms associated with rigid compartmentalization:
- Low self-esteem and social anxiety
- General anxiety or phobias
- Low motivation
- Concerns with boundaries
- Guilt and shame
- Performance anxiety at work
- Difficulty with time management
- Struggle to identify your own interests and passions
- Feeling taken advantage of in relationships
- Isolating yourself
- Concerns with anger management
- Feeling like you can’t be yourself around others/ like you have to wear a mask
- Feeling lonely and struggling to connect deeply within relationships
Lindsay Redman, MEd
Be wise to the power of your assumptions
When a distressing event occurs, it can overwhelm our natural ability to integrate new information into our current understanding of how the world works, and how we understand ourselves. Because the new information is emotionally activating and is clearly relevant to our life, yet does not jive with our current understanding of the world, our mind compartmentalizes the emotions, thoughts and assumptions associated with the experience in order to preserve the information. While compartmentalized, our mind is able to essentially keep the conflicting information on the backburner until we are better equipped to fully process and incorporate the experience into our long-term memory. Compartmentalization is very adaptive in the face of a high-stress environment, as it allows us to continue functioning when we would otherwise be overwhelmed by emotion.
Once a significant stressor has passed, however, it is possible that the very system that had been protecting us from danger, may end up shielding us from healthy, healing experiences. Imagine your mind being like a computer, and each unprocessed memory is an unnecessary program that is bogging your system down from doing what it would otherwise take care of with ease. Until emotional memories are successfully processed, our system is hypervigilant to signs that the stressor has returned.
Although we may logically know that a stressor has passed, we inevitably continue to feel and live as though the stressor is still present until the memory is finally processed. Each time we are reminded of anything remotely related to this distressing memory, our system is flooded with old, uncomfortable emotions, as our body attempts to warn us of danger. In an effort to avoid uncomfortable emotions, we often end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and repeatedly reaffirm our fears. It can become increasingly difficult to find a grounded space to sift through and let go of what we no longer need, and unprocessed material can start to build up. We may start to feel stuck and trapped in the past, and unsure where to turn for comfort. Many clients have been stuck in this trap for years or even decades before seeking therapy.
Letting go of negative assumptions
Unprocessed emotional memories are tied to negative assumptions such as “I am unlovable” or “I can’t handle this”, that get in the way of building close relationships and living the life you desire. I partner with clients who are no longer content to let these destructive assumptions influence their life. We work together to actively release these assumptions on a deep level. By processing relevant memories, clients can naturally let go of thoughts and behaviours that are no longer serving them, find more calm and consistency, and can start focusing on the living the life they truly desire.
Clear your cache
EMDR Therapy offers you a powerful way to resolving emotional discomfort through releasing negative assumptions. I will help you to identify the negative assumptions that are fueling any uncomfortable emotions or relationship dynamics in your life. You will be offered strategies to select from to ground yourself and bring yourself to a state of relative calm. From this anchored place, I will gently guide you to notice the uncomfortable feelings and memories associated with a negative assumption, while you experience bilateral stimulation. You will process the emotional memories that underpin the negative assumptions until they become increasingly neutral. Once old emotionally charged memories are processed, they are stored in different areas of your brain that are more concerned with facts, rather than emotions. Afterward, while the processed memories are still accessible to you, they will no longer have the same intensity of emotion associated with them.
What is Bilateral Stimulation?
Have you ever noticed that our eyes dart back and forth while we are dreaming? During REM sleep our brain is consolidating information, sifting through relevant and extraneous details, and filing away only the most essential information into our long term memory. The Bilateral Stimulation within EMDR therapy is thought to mimic what the body experiences during REM sleep. By activating both the right and left side of the brain and placing increased demand on your working memory, your mind is gently encouraged to let go of extraneous associations that are no longer serving you. Rapid eye movements and other forms of bilateral stimulation facilitate deeper processing of distressing memories and emotions. With EMDR therapy, you are able to achieve a deeper level of learning than you can by just talking about your concerns. With the help of bilateral stimulation, we are able to process emotions right in the therapy room, in real time.
What do you stand to gain?
Processing uncomfortable emotions is not just about making the feelings disappear. As clients process key targets, they are often also picking up a new style of how to relate to their emotions. They build a sense of confidence and ability to engage with their emotions, and no longer default to avoiding the discomfort. This can improve relationships, as it makes it easier to communicate your desires and needs to others. You may also notice that you feel more connected to your creativity, passion, and to other people, as fears often stand in our way of connecting with these parts of ourselves.
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