Trauma therapy

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is a “distressing event in which a person feels severely threatened emotionally, psychologically, or physically. Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, such as a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster.”¹ Many people recover from trauma with time and support from loved ones. But others experience lasting effects from the trauma, and they may continue to live with deep emotional pain, confusion, fear, or post-traumatic stress far after the event has passed. “Often, the support, guidance, and assistance of mental health professionals is fundamental to healing from trauma. “¹

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress is “the psychological reaction to a severely stressful and physically threatening event that often results in anxiety, flashbacks, hypervigilance, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns for an extended period of time. People who experience PTSD may continue to feel afraid or anxious even when no danger is present.”¹

Here at Cornerstone, we offer two specific forms of treatment for trauma: EMDR and Brainspotting.

Following is some information about both:

1. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

What is it?

This method was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, and is a “research-supported, integrative psychotherapy approach designed to treat symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress. EMDR sessions follow a specific sequence of phases, and practitioners use bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, to help the client process unresolved memories from adverse experiences. EMDR can be used to address any number of concerns, and it is compatible with other types of therapy.”¹

How does it work?

In essence, some memories associated with traumatic life experiences may remain unprocessed due to the high level of disturbance experienced at the time of the event. This stored memory may be linked to emotions, negative cognitions, and physical sensations experienced during the event. This may affect the way a person responds to similar future adverse experiences. “Through EMDR therapy, these fragmented memories can be reprocessed so that they become more coherent and less disruptive.”¹

Who can benefit?

EMDR is a therapy tool that has been shown to be effective for various kinds of issues, especially for individuals dealing with:

  • All forms of trauma
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger
  • Fears and phobias
  • Chronic pain
  • Substance abuse
  • Sports performance issues

 

 

2. Brainspotting

What is it?

Brainspotting (or “BSP”) was discovered in 2003 by Dr. David Grand. He worked with various people who had undergone and survived intensely traumatic experiences. This tool is used to assist people in accessing, processing through, and overcoming holistic pain, trauma, and negative emotion.

How does it work?

Basically, there is an overwhelming amount of research that tells us that trauma is “stored” in our body and that it can be challenging to access simply by talking about it. These “stored” negative emotions can affect the health of our thoughts, brain function, memory, and physical health.

According to therapist (and creator) Dr. David Grand, the direction in which people look or gaze can affect the way they feel. “During brainspotting, therapists help people position their eyes in ways that enable them to target sources of negative emotion. With the aid of a pointer, trained brainspotting therapists slowly guide the eyes of people in therapy across their field of vision to find appropriate “brainspots,” with a brainspot being an eye position that activates a traumatic memory or painful emotion. Practitioners of the procedure believe it allows therapists to access emotions on a deeper level and target the physical effects of trauma.”¹

Who can benefit?

BSP is a therapy tool that has been shown to be effective for various kinds of issues, especially for individuals dealing with:

  • All forms of trauma
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger
  • Fears and phobias
  • Chronic pain
  • Substance abuse
  • Sports performance issues

 

What our clients say:

“I have tried therapy on and off in different capacities for roughly 20 years. When the offer to try brainspotting was presented, I decided it would be worth a try. It turned out to be just what I needed. Brainspotting has helped me process some trauma in my life, without the frustration on putting words to my thoughts. In the past, I would get frustrated with the difficulty to properly express what I was feeling. Brainspotting gets me directly connected to thoughts, emotions and feelings I have suppressed for quite a while.

I am also impressed with the speed in which I have healed from the trauma. The sessions can be a bit intense, but that deeper connection to my trauma has been what has helped speed up the process of healing. If traditional therapy has not worked in the past, I would strongly suggest giving brainspotting a try.”

J.C.

¹Information and quotations taken from www.GoodTherapy.org  

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