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How Trauma Affects The Brain

The brain has a processing system that will process experiences so that if there is some type of distressing experience we will think, talk and dream about it. Experiences are turned into physically encoded memories which are stored in neural networks in the brain, and provide a 'framework' of a persons interpretation of new experiences and significantly influence current perception, behaviour and emotions.

Particularly intense memories can be too much to process, and these experiences get stuck in maladaptive storage, and can be awakened when a present day problem triggers the past memory.

 

Traumatic re-triggering is classically associated with PTSD and CPTSD, with symptoms that include intrusive thoughts, hyper vigilance, nightmares and flashbacks. However, even adverse life experiences that do not meet formal criteria for PTSD can be stored dysfunctionally, providing the basis for  wide variety of emotional, cognitive, behavioural and somatic responses. 

Brain scans have clearly demonstrated changes after EMDR therapy, returning the brain to more ‘normal’ functioning. The bottom line of EMDR outcome research is that clinical change can be both profound and efficient.

Research has also found that during EMDR sessions the brain is more active. The specific areas of the brain that are in this active state include the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex.

 

This is important because:

  • The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning, organising, focusing, personality, and impulse control.

  • The orbitofrontal cortex controls your emotions and how you interact with other people.

  • The anterior cingulate cortex also works to regulate impulse control, as well as empathy and judgment

Therefore, your brain isn’t just sitting idly by during an EMDR session. Instead, it is actively working to process and resolve the trauma and its connected emotions.

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What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a means by which you can accelerate your natural emotional healing.

 

Through its desensitisation and reprocessing phases, your emotional wounds are transformed into a state of emotional resolution.

The “Processing” part of EMDR does not mean talking about a traumatic experience- in fact you do not have to tell me any specifics of your trauma unless you want to. “Processing” means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be shifted and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future.

The eye movement aspect of the process speeds up the process of therapy and it’s these left to right eye movements that makes EMDR so unique. 

Neurological research show that the rhythmic horizontal eye movements used in EMDR reduce the activity in the brain’s fear circuits.  It’s the eye movements that allow our brain and our nervous system to do the healing work they are capable of.

It is believed that EMDR works because the “bilateral stimulation” of the eye movements bypasses the area of the brain that has become stuck due to the trauma and is preventing the left side of the brain from self-soothing the right side of the brain.

During this procedure, clients tend to process the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. This often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self that have grown out of the original traumatic event. For example, an assault victim may come to realize that they were not to blame for what happened, they are now safe, that the event is really over, and, as a result, they can regain a general sense of safety in his world.

While EMDR should never be thought of as “a quick fix”, many clients are amazed at how rapidly they are able to fully process a painful or upsetting memory. The memory of what happens still exists, but there is no longer a ‘charge’ of emotions, or physical effect from thinking about it. 

EMDR- Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing

I'm certified in EMDR incorporating Hypnosis.

EMDR is an effective treatment for PTSD and CPTSD. It is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing Model which suggests that inadequately processed memories of trauma and other adverse life experiences are the primary basis of psychopathology. Trauma can be defined as any disturbing memory that is still distressing today.

Trauma can include single events such as assaults, accidents or natural disasters, or a series of events such as childhood neglect, physical, verbal or sexual abuse or witnessing violence or hostility in the home.

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Clinical Hypnotherapy

Clinical Hypnotherapy uses advanced methods of hypnosis, psychotherapy and other techniques to achieve rapid results. Hypnotherapy is an established complementary therapy with an impressive track record. It is highly cost effective, having astounding results in a few short sessions. It can be successful where other interventions have not produced the desired outcome. The Mind-body connection is astounding , and both physical and mental conditions can be treated through hypnotherapy. 

NLP & Coaching

Neuro-Linguistic Programming can help eliminate inner conflict, limiting beliefs and negative emotions by reframing the way you experience the world. Each of us has a unique filter through which we view ourselves and those around us, which is why we may all respond differently to the same set of circumstances. By becoming aware of how this process works for you, you have the power to take control of your thoughts and behaviours so that positive changes can be made more quickly.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. It involves being fully present and accepting, paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we’re in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future, we are free from anxiety, stress or panic, and feel happier and calmer regardless of the ups and downs of life. 

Stress Management Workshops

In today's fast-paced world, stress and burnout have become a major concern. Stress and stress-related illnesses account for over 17 million workplace absences per year in the UK, with average time-off being 18.6 working days.

 

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for workplace wellness and stress management, leading to increased productivity and happier employees. My approach integrates hypnosis, mindfulness, and stress management techniques to promote a healthy work-life balance and boost productivity.

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