My journey working with trauma goes way back…..
Long ago and far away, when I lived in Abilene and was going to college, I started doing volunteer work for the Crime Victim Crisis Center (CVCC). I started by doing anti-victimization training to area schools through a program called W.H.O Program, which stands for We Help Ourselves. I am not even sure this program is still active anywhere. If you know differently, please let me know. It was this beginning that led me to volunteer more with the CVCC, then change my major to social work.
I have worked with children and adults who had experienced trauma in a variety of ways, settling now into my role as a clinical social worker/therapist, specializing in body image and trauma. A couple of years ago, I was reading a book called The Body Keeps the Score which was an amazing read for me. Bessel van der Kolk has been working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since before it was called PTSD. He’s been doing research on ways to treat trauma. He discusses several treatment modalities in his book, but one things that stood out for me was the top 3 most effective treatments weren’t psychotherapy based at all! They were yoga, massage, and acupuncture. All very cool treatments to try, especially if you can find a trauma informed practitioner. But the number 4 treatment was EMDR, which is psychotherapy based. I immediately set out to get trained.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was an amazing addition to my practice. Back in 1987, when it started, it used eye movement to speed up processing of traumatic memories, but it has evolved over time to include bilateral stimulation using various forms of bilateral stimulation with similar results of rapid processing. My own personal experiences where I have been the one receiving EMDR, I have had healing and mental shifts that have lasted. As an EMDR therapist, I have seen some pretty radical results. Every brain is going to be different, so we follow the lead of your brain toward healing. I love using EMDR and watching the process unfold.
Here is one of the tools I use for bilateral stimulation–“Tappers”–with a choice of audio “boop boops” that go back and forth OR little hand buzzers that feel a little like a kitten purring back and forth between your hands.