Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Technique to overcome trauma & PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
I followed up with a client through email about a session we had last week. When he was little he remembers a specific time where he felt very stressed. As a result of that stress, he overate on all the unhealthy foods and obviously put on weight. Even though it’s years later, he was still doing the same overeating pattern. It all stemmed from that stressful moment he felt when he was younger. He described it as almost traumatic.
He emailed me back and said “Yes. This is so weird but I don’t have the same emotions that I did, or feel the need to eat those sugary cookies and milk or chug that orange juice at night anymore. I also feel lighter. Weird”.
In the session we used the EMDR technique. You can use it to help someone overcome childhood trauma or trauma from abuse or bullying.
Would you like to learn how to do it?
EMDR stands for (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
This technique comes from NLP Eye Accessing Cues. When you look up to the right or left, you’re accessing images. Right or left side, you’re accessing sound. Looking down to your right or left, you’re accessing feelings.
The idea is that when we sleep, we eventually enter into REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep). During REM sleep, our eyes dart side to side which allows us to process emotions and make neural connections. You know when they say “sleep on it?”. It’s because REM allows us to organize and process our thoughts and feelings, so we wake up with a clearer mind and a better answer.
People experience trauma when they’re stuck in an image, sound or feeling. Basically healthy memory is like a slinky. It opens and closes easily. But when we experience trauma, the slinky basically gets stuck and the memory doesn’t get fully processed because the person has blocked it out.
Here are the steps:
1. Sit close to them and ask them to think about the trauma they experienced and to keep their head still. Ask them “on a scale from 1-10, how is that feeling now?” Let’s say they say 10.
2. Put your index and 2nd finger together about 1 foot away from the persons eyes and ask them to follow your fingers only with their eyes.
2. Start moving your fingers at a steady pace side to side. The goal here is to see in what representational system their memory got stuck. Naturally eyes moves easily, but whenever they hold their trauma, you’ll see their eyes are choppy and/or skip a bit when moving them from side to side.
Move your fingers up so that their eyes are looking up and moving side to side. Is it an image that causing the trauma? If their eyes are moving smoothly in their visual field, then it’s not there. It the movement is choppy or they skip a bit, it’s in their visual field.
Do the same for their audio field.
Do the same for their kinaesthetic field.
In my clients case, he was holding the trauma in his kinaesthetic field.
3. Stop moving your fingers for a bit, allow your client to relax and breath in and out.
4. Start again, but this time go to the field where they hold the trauma and move your fingers from side to side in that field. In my clients’ case, I made sure to make his eyes move down and side to side. At the beginning the eye movement will be choppy, and as you keep doing it you’ll see their eyes move a bit easier. After about 20 second, take a little break, ask them to take a breath in and out and relax for a bit. Ask them “on a scale from 1-10, how is that feeling now?”. They will most likely say a lower number like 8.
5. Repeat the same movement from side to side for about 20 seconds. Breath in and out and relax. Ask them again “on a scale from 1-10, how is that feeling now?”. They can say 6.5.
6. Repeat the exercise again and again until it gets to ideally 0 on the scale. My clients have found that usually 8-10 rounds helps them overcome the trauma.
If the emotions didn’t go down to at least 1-2 this session, they may need to sleep on it a few nights. My clients tell me that one session usually cure their trauma, but if your client still feels the emotions at next session, feel free to do the exercise again.
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