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Trauma in the Brain & Body

When we experience a traumatic event, adrenaline rushes through the body, and the emotional significance of the memory is imprinted into part of the limbic system. Sensory fragments of how our senses experience the trauma at the time it occurs are stored. After the trauma, the brain can easily be triggered by sensory input. The sensory fragments are misinterpreted, and the brain loses its ability to discriminate between what is threatening and what is normal.

The rational, front part of our brain is where consciousness lives; processing and reasoning occur here, and we make meaning of language. When a trauma occurs, the brain becomes overwhelmed, while the body goes into a survival mode and shuts down the higher reasoning and language structures of the brain. The result of the metabolic shutdown is a profound imprinted stress response – Fight , Flight, or Freeze.

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting (BSP)

Stress, anxiety, and trauma overwhelm our systems. Symptoms manifest in unexpected ways and present differently for each of us. There may be an identifiable trigger or we may not know why we feel the way we do. EMDR and BSP work on a deeper level than traditional talk therapy, accessing the midbrain, where trauma is stored. These modalities facilitate adaptive information processing. They work with the self-healing aspects of our biology, restoring balance to the nervous system, and influencing neural patterning so that deep and lasting change can occur.

Our brains often have difficulty processing traumatic experiences. The memory and sensory information may become stuck in our memory network. EMDR helps to unlock disturbing memories and experiences through Bi-Lateral Stimulation (BLS). BLS includes eye movements, sounds, and tapping. By alternating stimulation of both hemispheres of the brain and accessing both the past and the present, new insights often occur as the information becomes unstuck. While the memory does not disappear, your relationship to the memory will likely change. Patients often conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the experiences that were once overwhelming. Learn more: What is EMDR? 


Brainspotting (BSP) works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the central nervous system. It gives us a tool to locate, process, and release experiences that are typically out of reach of the conscious brain, including things that we often struggle to put into thoughts and words. BSP taps into the body’s natural self-scanning abilities to process and release areas that are in a survival state. This treatment offers profound psychological, emotional, and physical healing. Learn more: What is Brainspotting?





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