EMDR offers another tool for emotional healing

VALLEY — The San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group (SLVHBG) is dedicated to empowering individuals and families by integrating treatment and resources to support healthy minds, bodies and spirits. A powerful tool used to help individuals struggling is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR.

EMDR is a technique that replicates the bodies’ natural healing process. The mind, much like the rest of the body, can often heal itself naturally. This natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. EMDR utilizes this natural process to successfully treat a wide range of behavioral/ mental health problems.

The mind routinely processes new information and experiences. However, when something out of the ordinary occurs and people are traumatized by an overwhelming event (e.g. a car accident) or by being subjected to distress (e.g. childhood neglect) the body’s natural coping mechanism becomes overloaded. When disturbing experiences happen, they are stored in the brain with all the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompany it. Additionally, when a person is very upset, the brain seems to be unable to process the experience as it would normally; freezing these traumatic experiences in our minds. Over time, the memory of the event maybe forgotten but the painful feelings can remain as a trigger until the event is processed correctly by the brain. EMDR helps create the connections between the brain’s memory networks and present day behaviors, enabling the brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way.

“We are very lucky to have some many clinicians trained in EMDR, clinics typically don’t have this many,” said Chief Clinical Officer Victoria Romero. The SLVHBG just finished another round of training. They currently have 21 clinicians trained in EMDR techniques with two more currently in training.

EMDR has proven to be successful in treating PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, stress, phobias, sleep problems, complicated grief, addictions, pain relief, self-esteem and performance anxiety. During EMDR treatment, the individual remains in control, fully alert and wide-awake. This is not a form of hypnosis and the individual can stop the process at any time. The goal of correctly processing life’s traumatic events is called reprocessing. This “reprocessing” is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, resulting new connections and insights to arise quite naturally.  Therefore, EMDR is a natural and very empowering form of therapy.

For more information call 719.589.3671 or visit slvbhg.com/emdr

Caption: SLVBHG clinicians at an EMDR Training in June/Courtesy photo

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