Negative memories that still affect us have not been stored quite correctly in the memory system. They have become fragmented, become more static and stuck and more difficult to influence or access with ordinary processing, such as talk therapy. New information and positive experiences have a difficult time getting across and create change. Eye Movement Therapy (EMDR) optimizes, updates and cleans up the filing cabinet. Through the EMDR process, the files stored in the negative/restricted filing cabinet are defragmented and re-archived in the positive/neutral filing cabinet.
Eye movement therapy, also called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), is an evidence-based and protocol-based method that helps reduce and eliminate symptoms after negative experiences, trauma, and PTSD, so you can stop reacting as if you are still in emotional or physical danger. The brain is coded for survival, so when you've experienced several negative events in the past, the brain begins to look for danger in daily experiences.
Memories from negative experiences and traumas that have been incorrectly stored in long-term memory can be retrieved in the working memory. Through eye movements, tapping, tones and other stimulations that burden the working memory, we can create understanding, re-evaluate and draw new conclusions. The memories can then be stored again in long-term memory, now less vivid and with less emotional charge. In the end, we can create a new way of looking at ourselves, situations and life as a whole.
How can EMDR help?
When difficult things happen in the past, these can be stored in our brains and bodies as a collection of beliefs, feelings, body sensations, images, muscle tension and experiences via our five senses. Rootwork involves going back and unlocking where it originated. Just like hypnosis, hypnotherapy EMDR takes you to a deeper place of healing and focuses on developing individual resources, cultivating security, building a positive self-image and a constructive approach to life. EMDR helps desensitize your triggers and reactions so you can live with confidence and joy. We can work online with the same good results as IRL with me in Malmö. Note! I always start with a hypnosis session to build the foundation.
What happens when we have difficult or multiple negative experiences?
When a negative event occurs, it can get stuck in the brain and body with images, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, mainly in the right hemisphere of the brain. When something reminds us of the previous negative event, consciously or unconsciously, our brain and body begin to react as if the terrifying or difficult event is happening here and now, even though we logically know that it happened a long time ago. It's as if the brain and body can't understand that the past is behind us. This can lead to a number of problems – we switch off, isolate, lock ourselves up, avoid certain situations, or it becomes an emotional roller coaster.
The left hemisphere which is more cognitive and rational may be able to understand that the reaction does not seem to fit the situation, but in the wake of severe negative events, the left and right brain don’t communicate properly, so the right brain will continue to flood the system with intense emotions, body sensations, hypervigilance, anxiety, fear, etc.
Your brain is like an archiving system
Imagine that your brain is an archiving system of memories and experiences, teachings and beliefs. The brain can archive things in a healthy way, where life's events are coded as neutral or positive and you learn something good/important from those events. Or the brain can record life's events in a limiting way, where events are stored as negative beliefs about yourself or the world. In many cases, you can process events in a healthy way, so even if it's a negative memory, it doesn't stick or split. You can work through the emotions and body sensations and eventually archive the event in the positive/neutral filing cabinet.
In contrast, if something very negative or overwhelming happens or a series of negative events occur, the brain has a harder time processing these challenging events and archiving them in the positive/neutral filing cabinet. These events seem to get stuck in the negative archiving system. Thoughts, feelings, images, body sensations and information from our five senses can shatter and freeze in time. This can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, grief reactions, fear, worry, negative self-image, long-term pain, stress, migraines, nightmares, negative thoughts, destructiveness, depression, passivity, fatigue, eating disorders, aggressiveness, avoidance behavior, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, guilt or addiction problems.
SHOULD I CHOOSE HYPNOSIS OR EMDR?
As a trauma-informed coach, I often combine hypnosis and EMDR. My clients feel that the difference between these methods is that hypnosis feels more supportive and EMDR feels a little more independent with free associations. We always start with hypnosis to support more and can then switch to EMDR after 1-2 sessions.
HOW CAN EMDR HELP?
The bilateral stimulation in EMDR (eye movements, tapping, tones and other stimulation) helps the right and left brain to communicate and process the difficult events of the past. This sets in motion a healing process in which the charge and intensity of a traumatic memory decreases drastically and your nervous system may stop reacting as if you are still in danger. The eye movements also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relax system) and this helps us to process negative memories safely. Through studies, it has also been seen that EMDR therapy can balance the amgydala that warns us of dangers as well as the hippocampus which is responsible for memories and learning.
WHAT DO I WORK WITH?
EMDR therapy has been shown to be effective with fear, worries, anxiety, depression, sadness, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, feelings of shame, low self-image, stress, exhaustion, trauma, PTSD and depression.
According to some 50 scientific studies, 85-90% of adults treated for trauma with EMDR have experienced that they have become completely well after their treatments. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends EMDR as a treatment for trauma, PTSD and severe stress.
Traditional therapy/coaching focuses on the brain (top-down) and works on the idea that the mindset causes emotions, problems and unwanted behaviors. But sometimes insights and cognitive understanding alone are not enough to heal old negative experiences. Often healing work is needed at the root level. EMDR is a bottom-up process where you not only use logic and understanding, but also bring the body and emotions into the session, giving us a whole new world of information and a road map to healing. Please read about how I work and what bottom-up processing means.
I work with EMDR+, which differs from classical EMDR in that the protocol is constantly updated in line with the research, the work is based on evidence-based Working Memory Theory, the client has a more active role in the process and several complementary techniques are used to help the process forward.
THE POSITIVES OF EMDR
The characteristic of EMDR is that it is both a gentle and at the same time an effective form of treatment of negative experiences. It is not necessary to talk about or examine all the details of a negative event or trauma during the session, which is gentler for the client. EMDR provides both quick and lasting relief and one can achieve therapeutic goals in a relatively short time. The result is that physical and emotional reactions change, negative symptoms decrease or disappear completely and many experience a much greater well-being in life with more resources, more security, better control, an improved self-image, more joy and a greater calm.