Psychological trauma is experienced by nearly everyone during the course of their lives.
It’s been difficult to find a process that addresses these trauma issues directly, but we are extremely fortunate at CMH Counseling to offer such an experience to our clients. We do so through a therapeutic process known as EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
Judy Breny, LCSW, is trained as an EMDR practitioner. Judy introduces EMDR along with various forms of talk therapy to clients as a possible option for resolving past personal trauma.
So what is EMDR? EMDR is a therapeutic method that treats the lingering effects of personal and environmental trauma by coordinating left-right eye-movements with voluntary visual memories of previous traumatic events. Together these processes assist the client to resolve and integrate the traumatic memory so that it no longer negatively affects a person’s present functioning.
If the thought of memories and eye-movement conjures an image of a bearded, graying psychoanalyst swinging a stopwatch in front of a hypnotized patient’s face, rest assured that EMDR has no connection to hypnosis. “During EMDR, the client is completely in charge,” says Judy, emphasizing that the client chooses what memory to work with during an EMDR session. She adds, “the feedback from clients is that they feel safe and they experience being in control, while recognizing that a healing shift is taking place around their traumatic memory.”
She emphasizes that treatment with EMDR requires a relationship built on trust and care, just as in traditional talk therapy. During EMDR the client has the opportunity to witness themselves in the act of facing fear, and once this process is facilitated by the progress during therapy, it often takes on a life of its own. She has observed the creative energy that comes out of the process and believes that EMDR is a testament to human resilience—tangible evidence that clients can be their own healers, and that the sacred exists and manifests itself within each of us.