EMDR Therapy and Somatic Experiencing
EMDR Therapy and Somatic Experiencing are both somatic based modalities for working through traumatic memory.
EMDR Therapy uses bilateral stimulation (stimulating the left and right brain in an alternating rhythm), and dual awareness (one foot in the present and one foot in the past) to help clients identify how current triggers are related to body memories, see and understand how those memories live in the body, felt sense, and beliefs about self, and work through these old memories with the help of bilateral stimulation and dual awareness. BLS (bilateral stimulation) helps kickstart the body’s natural ability to heal, supporting old memories to be integrated in new ways. Most clients find that while the memories themselves aren’t changed or erased, how they feel about themselves related to these events does change. Clients often report finding new experiences such as feeling more empowered, more acceptance of self, self forgiveness, etc. New beliefs about self can arise. For example: “I am alone,” might shift into, “I am loved as I am”; “The world is scary” might shift into “I am safe in myself”; “Life is overwhelming” might shift into “I am supported and I can handle this.” Experiences are totally subjective and these are just some possible examples.
Somatic Experiencing works with a titrated approach, slowing down with processing, tapping into felt sense, and helping to restore the body’s natural pendulation between positive experiences and difficult experiences. For example, when we have a traumatic memory, we tend to feel flooded by the memory. Through weaving in positive felt sense experiences that allow us to feel safety and well being, our bodies and nervous systems gain more capacity and difficult memories will often start to be digested. We may be able to release difficult sensations and regain contact with ourselves in these places.