Crisis and Trauma

TRAUMACOPINGSKILLSREVISION_FINAL.pdfAt Lakeside Counseling Center we specialize in helping our clients safely process trauma.  We are trauma informed, and trauma trained counselors and social workers.  All of our clinicians are trained in EMDR, and we know the importance of making sure clients feel safe when processing trauma.  We focus on the here and now and provide tools and modalities that help our clients regulate their emotions, reduce anxiety and depression panic attacks, and learn distress tolerance.  We know that with the right tools, unconditional positive regard, and modalities, it's possible to heal from trauma.  You are not your trauma, it's what happened to you, but it doesn't get to define you.  We help you discover the narrative that you are telling yourself, uncover negative core beliefs and focus on identity, self esteem and safety.  No one knows you or your story better than you.  It's our job to hold up the mirror and help you love the person staring back into it.  You!  Send us a message and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.  We look forward to hearing from you. 


What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  EMDR is a powerful psychotherapy approach that has helped over two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.

It was designated as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, The World Health Organization, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and more. 

What is the Actual EMDR Session Like? 

The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc, and what thoughts and beliefs are currently being held about the event? The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention, stimulation of the brain while the client focuses on the disturbing event, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control the direction or the content.  Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values.  You can not do EMDR wrong because it works on the subconscious part of the brain.  Sets of eye  movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with a positive thought and belief about themselves.  For example, "I did the best I could with what I knew at the time".  During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report aa reduction in the level of distress and disturbance.  

What kind of Problems Can EMDR Treat?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treating many of the following conditions. 

Panic Attacks, Personality Disorders, Complicated Grief, Dissociative Disorders, Body Dysmorphic Disorders, Disturbing Memories, Phobias, Eating Disorders, Performance Anxiety, Stress Reduction, Addictions, Sexual and Physical Abuse, Pain Disorders, and much more. 

Below is a diagram of what happens before EMDR treatment.  

Before EMDR

This is what happens during EMDR reprocessing. 

EMDR Processing

How Long Does EMDR Take? 

The most important thing when doing EMDR is to make sure you have the resources to be able to regulate your emotions.  Many clients want to jump into EMDR processing but it is important to remember that learning how to regulate your emotions and get yourself back to calm is key to being able to work on Trauma Reprocessing with EMDR.  So be patient because the first few sessions are about grounding and regulating.  EMDR can take one or more sessions and it's important for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide if EMDR is the appropriate treatment for you.  The therapist will also discuss EMDR more with you during session and you can ask clarifying questions.  Once the therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for the specific problem, the EMDR therapy may begin. 

A session last from 60-90 minutes.  This depends on the type of trauma, life circumstances and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatments are necessary.  EMDR can be used with the standard "talk" therapy, it compliments the sessions.  It can also be used with a separate therapist as a treatment all by itself. 

Does EMDR Really Work?

There have been Approximately 20 controlled studies that have investigated the effects of EMDR.  The studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients.  Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms like anxiety.  The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Study designate EMDR as an effective treatment for PTSD. EMDR is an evidence based practice for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms.  Research shows that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment. 

How Does EMDR Work?

In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts under certain conditions.  Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in 1989 in an issue of Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma.  Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the world.  Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. 

For more information here are some links to EMDR International Association.  


EMDR Book Recommendations 

The Body Keeps The Score

The Body Keeps The Score By Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

The Body Keeps the Score is a book that we recommend to all of our clients.  It shows how trauma can be stored in the body.  It helps us understand the mind body connection when it comes to treating trauma.  The author Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D. is a pioneer in trauma work.  This is a must have.  

What Happened to You? By Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

What Happened to You?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 

This is such a great description of PTSD.  It does a fantastic job of showing what it is and some of the symptoms caused by PTSD.  Also some tools and coping skills you can use as well. 

What is Trauma

What are some ways to cope with trauma?

Trauma Coping Skills



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