In our practice, we utilize a combination of three advanced therapies: EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, and mindfulness training. This combination has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of trauma and PTSD.
EMDR: EMDR (also known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapy we find especially useful for single-incident events such as car accidents, rape, violence, invasive surgeries, and natural disasters. If you are uncomfortable talking extensively about your trauma or if you find that you are often easily triggered and experience painful memories of the traumatic event, EMDR can be an effective solution that allows you to work through a major incident.
As we move through our lives, we develop short-term memories that eventually become long term memories. However, traumatic incidents often do not move into the back of our minds with the other long term memories. Instead, they stay at the forefront of our memory. This allows them to continually arise with an overwhelming freshness and power, leading to panic attacks, flashbacks and hypervigilance. EMDR helps change the memory of the trauma and put it into the past, rather than allowing it to cause pain in the present.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has placed EMDR in the highest category of treatment and recommends it for all trauma populations at all times. Through EMDR, you may find that your memories – visual, auditory, and bodily – of your trauma are less intense, allowing you to stop ruminating and achieve a greater distance from the past. It can also help to decrease your emotional reactivity so that you are on longer bowled over by pain. And, importantly, you can begin to change your beliefs about yourself and your role in your trauma and let go of shame, guilt, and self-criticism.
Somatic Experiencing: This form of therapy derived from observations of animals in the wild. Researchers set out to discover how prey animals that spend much of their lives running from real threats are able to relax and even sleep peacefully. With the help of SE therapy, you can develop some very simple skills that can help you enjoy the same peace and ease.
SE works with the body’s natural capacity to heal itself. So much of trauma is held in the body and the body continues to respond as if it is in danger even when the threat is long past. Through SE, you can release the painful sensations that remain held in the body and rewire your brain’s “flight, fight, and freeze” responses. Because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, it is possible to literally change the way your brain works. You can become more resilient and better able to navigate challenging sensations and emotions and let go of fear or dread. As your system becomes better regulated, you feel more grounded and present in your life and able to bounce back from challenges.
Mindfulness Training: This approach to therapy focuses on working with anxious and depressive thoughts skillfully. Rather than ruminating on the past, fearing for the future, or dwelling in self-criticism and self-doubt, you can learn to relax into the richness of the present moment. With mindfulness training, we can teach you simple skills that can immeasurably add to your ease and peace of mind.
Many of us experience “monkey mind”: our heads filled with lists of things to do, worries about the future, memories from the past, repetitious and negative thoughts, doubt, shame and fear. Through mindfulness training, you can develop specific skills designed to help you quiet your mind. Rather than remaining caught up in looping and often illogical thoughts, you can find a nonjudgmental awareness of and connection to the present moment. You can begin to let go of guilt and self-blame and feel less responsible for the thoughts and emotions that arise within you. Instead, you can sit peacefully with those thoughts and emotions and become more present with the pleasurable sensory experiences in life. You can discover the safety, rest, and heart’s ease to be found in the moment.
We Offer Guidance and Support
While reading this page can provide you with some insight into the cutting edge therapies that we use in our practice, we invite you to remember that you don’t need to be the expert in your own therapy. We have over 25 years of experience, and it is our job to select which therapies to use as your unique situation calls for them. Using our training, intuition, and insight, we will gracefully interweave each of these into your sessions to provide long-term healing and relief.
We invite you to call Stephanie at 310-391-5851 or Lee Ann at 310-915-5950 for a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more about how we can help.