EMDR and Brainspotting Therapy Is Available In Atlanta!
The tried-and-true approach to therapy is to talk through issues in order to achieve emotional growth and healing. I’ve been successfully doing this for years, but I also utilize two more recently-developed techniques that are capable of bringing about deep and rapid emotional healing for a wide variety of treatment issues: “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” (commonly referred to as “EMDR”) and a variant called “Brainspotting”. Both of these techniques can be very effective in resolving emotional blockages and the effects of traumatic life events that can cause people to cope with many of the issues of their lives in unproductive or inefficient ways.
Both of these techniques directly target the nervous system’s information-processing center to make dysfunctional, self-defeating thoughts, beliefs and feelings less threatening and more self-supportive. Both techniques use "bilateral sensory stimulation" (the rhythmic activation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain) to activate the brain’s natural healing abilities. These approaches involve much less talk than traditional psychotherapy. Both work extremely well in resolving traumatic history, improving adaptive behavior and generally achieving more rapid improvement in functioning than many people are accustomed to experiencing.
The human brain tends to encode traumatic or insufficiently processed life events into a unique combination of specific memories, images, emotions, sensations, thoughts, beliefs and symbolic associations. These are actual neurological pathways that can be unconsciously activated by many internal and external cues, most of them outside of a person’s awareness. EMDR and Brainspotting help the brain process and integrate these dysfunctionally encoded neural pathways by attaching positive imagery and associations to previously traumatically embedded triggers. This may seem confusing and complicated on first read. Think of cleaning out a room that's almost completely cluttered with junk in order to rearrange the underlying furniture in a more effective way. People who know something about computers may want to think of it as similar to defragmenting a hard drive.
In both techniques I get you to focus on a symptom we want to work on, including with any negative thoughts, feelings and sensations that go along with it. With EMDR I’ll ask you to follow my finger with your eyes as I move it back and forth in front of your face for a few seconds. That’s it! This deceptively simple action activates your nervous system to begin exploring new associative routes. The images, thoughts, feelings and sensations you notice will begin to evolve along more adaptive neural pathways. This can be a remarkably stimulating, validating and meaningful process that can benefit you in both dramatic and subtle ways long after you leave my office.
Brainspotting also targets deeply embedded “stuck” aspects of a person’s neurological functioning. Rather than using rapidly shifting eye moments, Brainspotting uses headsets playing soft music that alternates in volume between the left and right channel while the eyes follow a very slowly moving pointer. At some point in this process a moment of intense emotional reaction or reflexive eye movement typically occurs. This is the “brainspot”, the point at which spontaneous neurological processing begins to take place. I may provide some gentle focused questions to facilitate the processing, but for the most part the simple healing ability of the brain is in charge while I’m simply available to nurture the process along.
The dramatic payoff is that people often find these techniques allow them to respond in more adaptive ways when presented with problems that used to be overwhelming. Memories or triggering situations that were once very disturbing suddenly begin to lead toward healthier responses. More positive and adaptive thoughts, feelings and beliefs become available in situations where they simply didn’t exist before.
Will EMDR or Brainspotting work for you? The answer depends on a lot of factors. For example, these techniques often take longer for people who have been severely traumatized over a long period of time. I’ve seen dramatic changes occur in just one session but it’s important to take enough time to bring about the reprocessing and healing every person deserves.
This has been just a brief overview of two very remarkable techniques for achieving rapid and lasting healing for issues that may have been troubling you for many years. There is a lot more information available on the Internet (though not as much about Brainspotting so far). I believe that over the next few years many more therapists will be offering these techniques, and I’m glad I can bring them to you today.