EMDR and your brain, act as a powerful healing team. Together, they can help you survive and thrive despite trauma. EMDR therapy can help improve or change old perceptions, soothe past hurts, and make the future bright again.
Does this seem doubtful? That’s fair. When you’re hurting and traumatized, healing can feel far away. The distress, emotions, and memories connected to your trauma may even feel insurmountable.
Yet, the beauty of EMDR is that it uses your brain’s amazing capacity to challenge and reorient the negativity of the past with the positivity and insight of the present.
Let’s explore this further:
How EMDR and Your Brain Maximize Neuroplasticity to Help You Heal
To grasp this fully, you might ask the following questions:
First, what, exactly, is neuroplasticity?
Essentially, this is how your brain can change meaningfully and permanently.
In the past, we believed this kind of change to be impossible. Fortunately, more recent science has proven that our neural pathways are not established once we become adults. In fact, throughout our lifetimes a process occurs that forges new neural pathways. It is across these pathways that healing happens.
Why does this matter? Because a brain that can change is capable of putting to rest old feelings, learning new ways of responding, and interpreting thoughts and feelings differently. The way you think, feel, and respond as a result of trauma can be rewritten and healing can become more possible.
It’s worth noting that research shows that neuroplasticity happens best when the new pathways are strengthened with consistent repetition. In other words, as you experience something positive or productive routinely, the neurons processing that experience fire together and grow stronger; effectively solidifying the new pathway and all the new information that comes with it.
Okay, so how does EMDR support neuroplasticity?
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) research acknowledges this idea that the brain heals via repetitions. Thus, the therapy attempts to address traumatic memory through a series of repeated sounds, taps, or hand movements.
Brain scans show that your brain and body can store trauma the way you experienced initially. Such memories are not connected to anything positive and can complicate your emotional flexibility, cognitive abilities, and resilience. To your brain, there is no difference between the past and present. When a memory is triggered, the traumatized brain relives it.
To bring relief, EMDR treatment is similarly rooted in your experience. This doesn’t mean you have to relieve, or even retell, the trauma experience. Instead, you and your therapist deal with unhelpful trauma pathways in your brain by creating a better experience that starts with noticing sensations, emotions, or mental images connected to the memories.
Healing starts to occur as you consistently and repetitiously begin reprocessing those memories and sensations.
With support and guidance, you can start creating and strengthening helpful, healthier neural pathways via new information. Soon, you can reflect on the past without so much pain. Reactivity gives way to thoughtful response and improved impulse-control.
So, how can I start healing?
Empowerment, competence, and confidence can happen when you have a plan for healing the past. EMDR and your brain make an excellent pair in the effort of reactivating your capacity to see your trauma clearly.
Reprocess the past that holds you back. Reach out to an EMDR therapist to heal and start living the way you want and deserve. Together, you can build pathways that help overcome harmful beliefs about yourself, your feelings, and your body.
I’m here to support you. Please read more about trauma therapy and contact me soon for a consultation.