"Serving Berkeley, Oakland, Piedmont, Grand Lake, Emeryville, Rockridge, Temescal, Lake Merritt and the East Bay"
Teresa Allen MFT
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist #39878
In EMDR therapy, I help people experience a balance between activation and safety which is just right for processing the difficult memory. In this safety zone the thoughts, emotions, images, feelings and body sensations of the memory are activated, but you are able to remember “that was then and this is now."
After history taking and preparation, I ask clients to identify the images, emotions, self-beliefs, and bodily sensations linked to the difficult memory. This activates, or lights up, the frozen traumatic memory network. It also prepares you to link that network with healthier, more adaptive memories, associations, and thoughts.
Remembering the associations connected to a trauma can be painful, but you are supported in the session and given tools to manage the feelings as they occur. These involve safe place exercises and positive internal resources you can use to self-soothe. This gives you a way to deactivate the old traumatic memory network when you need or want to and to slow down the pace of the processing as needed.
You just notice your thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and emotions as they occur while experiencing the left-right stimulation.
This free association process in the safety zone brings up a variety of sensations, feelings, and thoughts as your mind works through the memory and begins to heal.