Processing Traumatic Experiences
Creative Care’s innovative approach to primary mental health and dual diagnosis treatment centers on understanding and processing early experiences, specifically traumatic experiences. We integrate the impact of historical traumas and unearth intricate interpersonal dynamics while identifying mental health difficulties. Furthermore, we personalize our approach for each client, drawing from a number of different modalities to achieve an optimal treatment plan. One particularly effective method of processing traumatic experiences is EMDR therapy.
EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
EMDR therapy, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, assists clients who are suffering from a history of trauma. In essence, it relieves the mental and emotional anguish that results from traumatic experiences. Dr. Francine Shapiro developed the practice in 1987 as an experimental means of alleviating the symptoms of PTSD in her clients. Since then and hundreds of studies later, the “experimental” label has been dropped. EMDR therapy is now listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Practical Guidelines as an effective treatment for trauma. In fact, EMDR has proven to be faster and more effective compared to other popular trauma therapies such as exposure therapy. Four separate studies revealed that EMDR eliminated a PTSD diagnosis in 77-90% of participants after three to seven sessions.
An Eight-Phase Approach
In EMDR therapy, a therapist utilizes the eye movements of the client to both tap into and extricate trauma-related memories and emotions. The APA outlines an eight-phase approach to EMDR. In the first two, preparation and assessment, the therapist leads the client into a calm place in which they target, identify, and assess the traumatic memory components. Afterwards, they move into the desensitization and installation phases where they focus on the memory while using eye movements or other bilateral stimulations and strengthen the “preferred positive cognition”. Essentially, this is a “re-mapping” of the client’s traumatic thoughts and feelings. The therapist follows this with the 6th, or body scan phase, in which clients observe and process their physical responses to the treatment. Finally, they reach closure and re-evaluation. Over time, positive responses and images replace fear and anxiety.
Innovative, Creative Care
It is important to note that despite its powerful efficacy, EMDR therapy is not a magical panacea. Shapiro herself states that the practice “serves to desensitize the anxiety … not to eliminate all PTSD-related symptomatology and complications, nor to provide coping strategies” to clients. At Creative Care, EMDR therapy is but one of the tools in our holistic, therapeutic toolbox. Our fully equipped staff includes a consulting psychiatrist, psychotherapists, registered nurses, and counselors all expertly trained to treat the whole person as a person, attacking the condition from all angles. Furthermore, we personalize our treatment services to get to the root of each client’s needs. Those services may include:
- Individual and group counseling
- Family or couples therapy
- Art therapy
- Nutrition therapy
- Equine therapy
- Yoga and other relaxation therapy