EMDR, Flash EMDR, OEI Therapies

EMDR Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was developed to work with symptoms of distress due to traumatic events and is considered one of the most effective treatments for trauma and PTSD.

We experience trauma differently, depending on our initial tolerance to stress. Some people develop very strong responses and might experience symptoms of distress years after the event.

The amygdala, the part of our brain which is responsible for survival response, sets off an alarm when we get into a situation that reminds our brain of the trauma. Going through the same intersection where you were hit, the place where you were abused, tone of voice that used to be critical and belittling, similar partner’s response, memories of our mistakes and wrong choices – any of those can trigger old memories and painful emotions associated with those memories.

EMDR protocols are used to disconnect those associations and create new ones, those that are more positive and rational. EMDR helps to stop automatic reactions by rewiring the brain to disconnect from the past. 

The studies also prove the long lasting effect. Once you processed the painful emotions and left past in the past. The memories don’t come back. You will remember what happened but without emotions and bodily responses.

Is EMDR therapy for you?

If you are experiencing some such symptoms like anxiety, depression, fear of driving or being a passenger, anger, shame, sadness, you might benefit from EMDR therapy. It also helps to release bodily reactions such as shortness of breath, body tension, racing heart, sweaty hands or upset stomach and other body symptoms.

This therapy works well in the realm of emotions, feelings and bodily sensations. How many times did you try to talk yourself out of worrying thoughts? Even if it works sometimes it’s not sustainable. To to make deep lasting changes we need to tap into our subconscious, and that part of the brain operates with images, body sensations and feelings. 

Risks associated with EMDR therapy

An experienced EMDR therapist knows how to keep you safe when you recall the memories, so you won’t be re-traumatized when you get l get deeper into the past. However evoking memories can lead to a heightened awareness of past events and you might be still processing the memories after the session. It might also cause vivid dreams. It might take a few sessions to reprocess the past so it’s not disturbing you anymore.

The Flash Technique (TFT)

The Flash Technique (TFT) is a fairly new technique that is also effective for reducing disturbance associated with traumatic memories. TFT is used when the memories are just too disturbing to bring up. Where we use TFT there is no need to go into details of the past events and process traumatic memories without feeling distressed.

Observed Experiential Integration (OEI)

Observed Experiential Integration (OEI) is another gentle approach to work with traumatic memories. 

OEI is based on the perspective that when you experienced trauma, your memories are stored in fragmented parts. So, the flashbacks you are experiencing are those parts that are stuck in the past. Through OEI we observe the emotions, thoughts, memories and perceptions in both hemispheres and help those parts to get ‘unstuck’. We do this covering alternately each eye which engages right and left parts of our brain and allows the integration for unprocessed trauma.

The therapist will ask you to cover alternatively your eyes while following the therapist’s moving fingers. You will be asked to pay attention to your inner experience, including any thoughts, feelings, or sensations that may come up. As the memories bring ‘unstuck’ trauma and associated symptoms usually begin to resolve themselves.