Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that is helpful in reducing symptoms resulting from distressing life experiences. Often times individuals experience blocks in life due to past experiences, which prevent them from living a fulfilling life. EMDR helps to flush out those blocks, so that you can live free of those blocks. EMDR was initially designed to treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Many studies have found this to be an effective treatment for PTSD. However, EMDR may be useful for individuals who do not meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD. EMDR can also be helpful with anxiety, depression, phobias, developmental trauma, attachment or relationship issues, etc.
Resourcing is the initial part of EMDR that focuses on building a client's internal and external strengths and supports. Some clinicians believe that the resourcing part of EMDR is as important, if not more important than the reprocessing of trauma. Once your strengths and resources have been increased, many people have an easier time processing through distressing or traumatic material. You can find more information about EMDR here.
Some of our practitioners are also trained in Attachment-Focused EMDR. Attachment-Focused EMDR is especially helpful for those who have experienced wounding within interpersonal relationships. Such individuals may struggle in relationships with a lack of trust, clinging to others, or avoidance in intimate relationships. In Attachment-Focused EMDR, attachment resources are strengthened, which also aid in the processing of difficult life experiences that continue to cause problems today.
Note: EMDR is not a magic fix nor is it appropriate for everyone after just a few sessions. For those with more complex trauma histories or dissociative disorders, EMDR must be used with caution and adapted. The standard EMDR approach can be destabilizing for those with complex dissociative disorders. If we do not feel EMDR is the appropriate fit right away, we have various other modalities that may be more effective.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan for those struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder and others struggling with self-harm and suicidality. However, it is also beneficial to anyone who struggles with regulating intense emotions. Typically people who struggle with dysregulated emotions have found unhealthy ways of coping which might include: addiction, self-harm, eating disorders, sex addiction, relationship addiction, etc. Each of these can be used as a way to cope with difficult emotions that feel too overwhelming to tolerate. However these issues tend to help short-term, but have many negative consequences in the long-run, therefore it’s helpful to develop coping tools to replace old ineffective ways of managing emotions.
DBT consists of four modules: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Mindfulness skills involve learning how to pay attention to one thing in the moment. They allow you to put a pause between trigger and reactive behavior, allowing you to make informed decisions. This is especially helpful for those who struggle with impulsivity. Emotion regulation skills help a person to identify emotions and learn how to regulate them over time. Distress tolerance skills are often referred to as “crisis survival skills.” These are quick, go-to ways of decreasing highly distressing emotions. They don’t take a whole lot of thought and are easy to access in the moment. Finally, interpersonal effectiveness skills teach you how to interact with people effectively to get what you want and to form and keep close relationships.
DBT is often helpful as an adjunct to other therapeutic modalities. Those with trauma histories often struggle to manage extreme emotions and interpersonal relationships. DBT skills can be helpful in Stage 1 of trauma treatment: safety and stabilization. For some, DBT may be a helpful way to stabilize crisis behaviors before proceeding to trauma processing work.
*Note: Although we have an adherently DBT training therapist on staff, we are not a DBT practice. If you are looking for full-comprehensive DBT including phone coaching, therapist consultation team, individual DBT therapy, and DBT group skills training, we may not be the best fit for you. We provide DBT groups and teach skills in individual therapy as part of an integrative approach. However, we believe in the importance of processing the deeper issues that are driving your behaviors and use EMDR, hypnosis, CRM, IFS etc. to do so.
Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) is a heart-centered model of trauma therapy that was developed by Lisa Schwarz, M.Ed., a licensed psychologist. It is a model of trauma therapy that uses brain- and body-based safety as the basis of healing. Lisa developed this model for the most complex and traumatized clients, including those with Dissociative Identity Disorder and Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder, Complex PTSD, attachment issues, and gestational trauma. Lisa developed this model after seeing clients with complex symptoms and histories going into states of overwhelm, flooding, severe abreaction, or dissociation that prevented them from processing deeply traumatic experiences and experiencing long-term change. CRM provides neurobiological scaffolding that enables your brain to connect to a sense of safety to override automatic fear responses. It allows your brain to know the difference between past and present, which allows your to be present during trauma processing and fully orient toward trauma material to remember, reprocess, and release deep shame, terror, disgust, rage, and grief. It allows one to remember and face the “truth of ones life,” to reconnect to your true self and live free of the pain from the past. CRM incorporates seven primary resources and five secondary resources that are used throughout CRM treatment. These resources impact the part of the brain that perpetuates defense responses and prevents feelings of connection and safety. Through resourcing feelings of connection and safety are restored, which facilitate trauma processing. These resources include elements of breath work, attachment resourcing, skills in somatic embodiment, spiritual resourcing, imagery, among others. Eye- positions are used to anchor you in resources during trauma processing, which prevents dissociation, flooding, and overwhelm. CRM includes effective interventions from a variety of modalities and practices. Each can be used with a variety of other modalities including EMDR, hypnosis, somatic modalities, among others to safety address traumatic material.
What’s different about CRM?
-Resourcing is used along-side trauma processing. In session, it often creates enough brain- and body- based safety to allow trauma material to come to the surface. It’s not just the feel-good stuff, rather it facilitates processing in a safe way.
-Obstacles and blocks to treatment and worked with directly.
-Although the therapeutic relationship is a vital part of treatment, CRM works to develop a secure relationship with self to create a sense of empowerment rather than dependency on the therapist. Resourcing is taught from the beginning of treatment and clients are coached to use resources as activation comes up between sessions for self-regulation to develop internal sense of trust in self.
-Multiple layers of resources are used a scaffold for trauma processing and are anchored through eye- movements.
More information about CRM can be found here.
Hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention where there is deep inner absorption. In this state, individuals are more open to suggestions that facilitate change, even with behaviors that have become quite fixed. Clinicians trained in Clinical Hypnosis facilitate your natural capacity to go into this state. You remain in control of the process the whole time. Often when hypnosis is introduced, clients say, "I don't like to feel out of control." Being out of control while in trance is actually a frequent misconception about hypnosis. As a clinician facilitates your state of focused attention, he or she is unable to make you do anything that you do not want to do. In fact, we often bring up the idea of stage hypnosis, which is typically the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the word hypnosis. Even with stage hypnosis, it is very difficult to be made to do anything that you would not normally do.
Hypnosis is not a magic fix or cure. Like other forms of therapy, individuals must work to see change occur in their lives. Self-hypnosis is often something helpful outside of the therapy office that can be taught during your session.
There are varying levels of hypnotizability, so some people may benefit more than others. It is believed that there is some genetic component to this. Hypnosis can be used for a wide variety of issues including, relaxation, trauma, ego strengthening, performance enhancement, test anxiety, along with many other things. If you are interested in learning more about hypnosis and whether it may be a good fit for you, contact us for more information. You can also find FAQs on hypnosis here.
Note: We believe that only qualified clinicians should be using hypnosis, including mental health clinicians, doctors, nurses, and dentists.
Yoga for Trauma
Individuals with histories of trauma are often disconnected from their bodies. You may feel that being in your body feels unsafe. Many fear the painful and/or distressing sensations that arise when being fully embodied. This can arise when doing focused breathing, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc. Yoga, along with other somatic techniques can teach you to befriend your body.
Yoga is a useful tool for many who fear being in their bodies. We use a slow, careful approach with teaching yoga so that you can safety learn to connect with your body. Yoga can also be useful in learning to regulate emotions and expand your window of tolerance, which basically means your ability to tolerate distress.
Yoga may be used in your individual session or in a group setting. It can be helpful to learn what poses help you to increase energy when you’re feeling dissociated, depressed, numb, etc., versus what poses help you to become calmer when you are feeling anxious, stressed, panicky, rageful, etc. There are also poses that help to restore a sense of balance in the body. Trauma survivors may benefit from yoga as a supportive practice.
Trauma Stage Processing
Trauma Stage Processing is an experiential approach to processing trauma. It looks at trauma as occurring in various stages. It uses art to represent different stages of the traumatic event. Through telling your story and representing it through images, you are able to find various blocks that are keeping you stuck. Through processing these blocks you are able to move through these stuck points and see your story in a new light. Once this happens, you are able to see yourself and others through a more positive lens.