I use a variety of counseling skills and interventions in my work with clients and tailor my approach to each person, but my primary treatment modality is EMDR Therapy. I was trained in and certified in EMDR by the EMDR Institute and I use EMDR to help clients address and change their beliefs and perceptions about their experiences in hopes that we can improve present functioning. I also have been trained in Clinical Hypnosis by the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis.
By combining these two treatment approaches we can work with both the conscious and unconscious mind and together we have very empowering tools to aid the healing of our mental health issues.
If you want to learn more about these different treatment approaches this page will help answer some basic questions about how these treatments can be utilized in session. If you are still left with questions, please reach out through my 'contact me' page.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was originally developed in 1987 by Francine Shapiro for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since its discovery, EMDR has been thoroughly studied and validated as an effective tool in treating a wide range of mental health issues including: Anxiety and panic attacks Grief, Loss, and Depression PTSD Addictions Anger Pain, including phantom limb pain Phobias, Fear, and Performance anxiety Sleep problems Feelings of worthlessness/low self-esteem
How does EMDR work?
The mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does. Much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. EMDR utilizes this natural healing ability by mimicking the eye movements that occur during REM sleep. Sets of these eye movements will last for a short while and then you will then be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during the sets. Experiences during a session may include changes in thoughts, images and feelings. With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to lose its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of a past event.
Why do I need EMDR?
Most of the time your mind routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. However, when you are traumatized by an overwhelming negative event (e.g. a car accident) or by being repeatedly subjected to distress (e.g. childhood neglect), your brain's ability to process information can become overloaded. This overload can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain with all the emotional and physical reactions intact. This is how triggers are formed. When these memories are reactivated, or triggered, instead of just recalling the facts of the experience you relive a portion of the event in your mind and body.
EMDR allows us to take the raw information and properly process the memory and helps us remove the emotional charge and triggers. The memory of the event will feel less intrusive and with time, stop inhibiting your daily functioning.
What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?
EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. There are now nineteen controlled studies into EMDR making it the most thoroughly researched method used in the treatment of trauma, (Details on www.emdr-europe.org and www.emdr.org) and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD
What does treatment with EMDR look like?
In the early stages of EMDR, the counselor and the client will work to learn coping skills, ways to stabilize, and skills to manage triggers. When the client is ready, the therapist works with the client to identify the specific memories associated with the problem. During EMDR, the client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event. The counselor facilitates the directional movement of the eyes while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content.
Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self; for example, “I did the best I could.” This process can take one or more sessions to fully complete per event/memory. During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions during memory reprocessing.
During EMDR treatment, you will remain in control, fully alert, and wide-awake. This is not a form of hypnosis and you can stop the process at any time. Throughout the session, the counselor will support and facilitate your own self-healing and intervene as little as possible. Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, and new connections and insights are felt to arise quite naturally from within. As a result, most people experience EMDR as being a natural and very empowering therapy.
What is Clinical Hypnosis?
Clinical hypnosis involves a set of skills that facilitates a natural, altered state of consciousness called trance. During therapeutic trance experiences, the conscious mind is usually relaxed and relatively inactive, while the subconscious mind is more active and has the ability to access resources, skills, and information that are otherwise unavailable to the conscious mind. During trance, openness to suggestibility can be enhanced, senses heightened, mental absorption increased, and imagination activated in controlled manners that promote insight, ego strengthening, physiological changes in symptoms, and the activation of solution-focused skills.
How is Clinical Hypnosis used in treatment?
Practitioners use clinical hypnosis in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. By utilizing hypnosis and a client’s trance state we can achieve stability in mood and build resources to help strengthening a client’s sense of self in order to make engaging with day-to-day life easier.
There are three commons applications.
The use of imagination: The mind is capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist us in bringing about the things we are imagining.
Presenting ideas while in a state of hypnotic trance: In a state of concentrated attention, ideas and suggestions that are compatible with what the client wants to achieve seem to have a more powerful impact on the mind, thus on manifesting desired changes.
Unconscious exploration enables a better understanding of underlying motivations, and provides insight into barriers or experiences that are associated with causing a problem.
Hypnosis helps us avoid the critical censor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests. This can be particularly useful in the treatment of trauma, depression, and anxiety where we are so use to our conscious script telling us ‘I can’t!” or “I don’t deserve good things!”. Hypnosis helps us get out of our own way!
It is important to keep in mind that hypnosis is like any other therapeutic technique. Depending on the clients’ needs and preferences hypnosis may be an effective treatment in combination with other therapeutic techniques.
Common Myths about Clinical Hypnosis
Myth #1: You are out of control or under the control of another person Hypnosis is only effective with a willing and voluntary participant. Hypnosis, therefore, involves a collaboration and cooperative relationship between a therapist and client and cannot be used against someone’s will or consent. The client is in complete control at all times.
Myth #2: You go into a deep sleep when in trance Hypnosis does not involve a sleep or unconscious state but rather involves a state of relaxation. Hypnosis, particularly the deeper forms, can appear to be like sleep because the person’s body is typically very still and quiet; however, brain scans during hypnotic states show a significant level of neurological activity, telling us that our brains are alert and activity during a trance.
Myth #3: You don’t remember what happens while in trance or will have amnesia afterwards When in a trance, individuals are usually aware of their surroundings, the sound of the clinician’s voice, and are able to remember more or less what was said during the hypnotic experience. The level of awareness and how much one remembers varies from client to client. The majority of people, about 95% of the population, go into a moderate level of trance where they tend to remember everything. Only 5% of the population are unable to remember what takes place in trance.
Myth #4: You will have a loss of privacy or reveal secrets when in trance You will not be compelled to answer questions while in trance you would not otherwise answer. You will not begin to reveal information or secrets you wish to keep private. What you share about your trance experience is up to you.