Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - All Truth is God's Truth & TRAUMA Therapy Toolbox: EMDR ~Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Thursday's Therapy

All Truth is God's Truth


TRAUMA Therapy Toolbox:


"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing"

After last week's Thursday's Therapy about EFT or "Tapping," I received an email from a grieving mother from which I wanted to share some excerpts. She also asked me a very pertinent question as to the sources or roots of the EFT-type of therapy. I will share her question with you and will attempt to answer it.

Any feedback and/or concerns my readers may have, or any experiences any of you have had with the new trauma therapies, I would greatly appreciate your sharing!

Here is the information this Grieving Mother discovered from a "Certified Traumatologist and Field Traumatologist" named Margaret Vasquez from Ohio:

What Does Trauma Do?

Different people respond to trauma in different ways: anxiety, depression, mood swings, self-destructive behavior, flashbacks, numbness and phobias are a few examples. I did not understand that this was because of the neurological effect that trauma has on the brain. I thought that I was damaged goods, irreparably broken because something was wrong with me. I was ashamed of myself. I thought that I was ‘wimpy’ and was being overly emotional, self-consumed and indulging in self-pity. I thought that I was simply allowing the past to bother me too much and that I needed to just get over it. I felt guilty for my pain. I did not understand that trauma can have an effect on the brain that is physiological. This effect is not because of a weakness in the person any more than it is a weakness in a person that causes a bruise when one is hit with a hammer.

When something traumatic happens, the hemisphere of the brain that is responsible for logic is temporarily out of commission. This is the side that usually helps us make sense of events in an orderly, organized manner. This is the side that lets us know what is in the past, what is going on now, and what is in the future. It is also the side we rely on for solving problems. With this side of the brain temporarily out of the action, the more emotional hemisphere of the brain encodes the event. Unfortunately, it is that hemisphere that experiences all time as here and now. That can cause a lot of problems. It can cause us to feel as if a trauma that happened 5 or 50 years ago is going on at this very moment. That is why time does NOT heal all wounds.

The side of the brain that encodes the trauma is not able to store it in a logical, linear, cohesive way, but rather in bits and pieces. All of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and stimuli are stored without the story. These stimuli act like landmines in the brain. When the stimuli of a trauma are “stepped on”— even innocently — all of the emotions and responses that took place in the past traumatic event are triggered, exploding with force into the present moment.

The ramifications of these factors can have terrible effects on the life of the trauma survivor. They can reach into every area of an individual’s life because they can change how the person views objects, events, circumstances, him/herself, others, and the world at large. These results can be bewildering to the person and to those around him.

How is Trauma Traditionally Treated?

The traditional way to do therapy is to encourage the people to talk about their problems. This is often right, good and necessary. However, it is crucial to remember that the left side of the brain is affected by trauma. Knowing that it is the side responsible for helping us tell a story in words, using talk therapy to process a trauma is like asking a person with a broken leg to walk to the hospital in order to get the broken bone set......

~Traumatologist Margaret Vasquez


And here is this Grieving Mother's question which I will attempt then to answer!


"About the EFT/ can be described by some in only physioligical ways, yet as I am prone to do I researched it a little further. I'm not sure of your thoughts/feelings on this as a Christian Therapist, but it's roots are in New Age/ acupuncture/meridians and chinese medicine and those are the "chi energy" areas of the body (not physically found)."

~A Grieving Mother Friend


Thank you dear precious Grieving Mother for sharing your concerns. We as therapists/coaches are new to the Trauma field, as are many others in our counseling/coaching profession, so there is much we have to learn. It is a quickly-developing and timely field, and for that I am so thankful!

I definitely agree with the Vasquez discussion you attached for me describing the brain and what happens therein when the onslaught of trauma occurs, and how the treatment of the trauma therefore will need to take a different turn that the typical "talk therapy" done in my office. I think she did a very nice job of describing very clearly and simply a very complex orchestration of the traumatized brain!

And regarding my view of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique~"Tapping,") as a Christian Therapist...

In our Christian training, as we delved into the many aspects of psychology that were presented to us in graduate school, we were taught to be discerning and wise as to what we embraced. But we were also taught to not necessarily be afraid of new information just because it had a different ethnic or cultural understanding attached to it. Sometimes our differences in descriptions come about because of our different belief systems (sort of like how you describe an elephant depending on which angle you personally see).

We were reminded of a Huge Principle in discerning truth, and that is this:

All Truth...IS God's Truth!

So if the unsaved person whether Chinese or American stumbled upon Truth, they may indeed describe it in words quite foreign to me...such as "chi energy," "meridians," "energy fields," "acupuncture," and other "New Age" labels. But perhaps they have stumbled onto something that we in our Western, highly cerebral, left-brained culture have overlooked completely in our "sophisticated" thinking that LOGIC is the ultimate! But what they are describing generally is controlled-but-flowing movement and meditation! And after all, the physical movements in Yoga originated from the physical movement our Creator created and therefore made possible for us to do! And the meditation that Yoga offers may have different content to its meditation than I believe to be true, but Meditation in and of itself is KEY to our healing-work for our Trauma I believe, and in my mind Meditation originates straight from God Himself! It was taught to us over and over by our Lord Jesus how important prayer time with our Heavenly Father is (which many scientists are recognizing to be very soothing, calming, and even healing meditation to our very war-torn spirits, but which we know is even MORE than that!)

God's Word also emphasizes the importance of continually speaking the truth to ourselves in the face of Satan's lies (more meditative content), and meditating on that which is good, and pure, and holy. We have gotten away from that deeper spirituality of quiet and time-consuming meditation with our ever-preoccupying race toward the "upwardly mobile" success-oriented life in our Western culture.

So if the Chinese bring back memories for us of some of these core truths, what a gift to remind us of what is such a healing part of our Lord's life and teachings!

I am not surprised if "energy" is considered to be a large part of our make-up; I had never really thought of it in those terms, but it would not surprise me for the God of our created universe to be full of all sorts of mysteries including an Enormous Energy that I will not fully fathom this side of heaven!

So I hear the Eastern mystics, and I try to consider their explanations. Some of it may be closer to God's truth than my own understandings have been; some may be far-fetched to me for the rest of my life.

But I do try not to throw the baby out with the bath water!

God is an amazingly Creative God, and I look to Him for His guidance and His discernment.

And I do think there is a lot of truth in treating Trauma in a different way than we have been treating it in that sometimes "talk-therapy" can simply re-traumatize a person if their trauma is not respected as needing to be treated much more gently and from a different angle of our multi-faceted brains! It has been true for me... (When I could not journal the hard, cold facts about my child's death as it was too graphic and traumatizing, my Lord led me to write poetry, which in essence, captured the horrid truth as if taking a photo of a tiny part of that stark truth, but it would be interlaced with healing comfort and even God's Sweet Holy Spirit's coming alongside and into that poetry with His gentle and soothing love!)

I hope this addresses your concerns, at least to some degree, but I thank you very much for your questions, your thoughts and concerns. As you discover more and more, which I am sure you will, I welcome you to share more of your thoughts!


Below is quite an interesting look at another Trauma Therapy Tool for our therapy toolbox. We have looked at this therapy in some detail in previous posts, so I won't try to repeat all of that here. But I think you will find the following video enlightening as to the physiological evidence (via brain scans) of the actual traumatization that happens to our brain, and at least one of the ways such trauma seems to be effectively treated:

EMDR, or "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing."

"EMDR is to date the most researched and well known of the new therapies and provides something of a procedural template for the other methods. In the ingenious way that innovation happens, you'll find many variations on this first theme.
"This short-term process, discovered serendipitously by psychologist Francine Shapiro and then carefully developed into a method, appears to remove or significantly reduce the emotional distress associated with a traumatic image. Additionally, it helps survivors integrate more positive ideas and thoughts around their trauma; and best of all, it is structured to accomplish this without unleashing a flood of disruptive symptoms."
~Bellaruth Naparstek,
Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal


1 comment:

danielle198890 said...

You always touch my heart Angie. Love You, Danelle

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