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Home News Advanced Trauma Treatment now available at Region Ten

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Advanced Trauma Treatment now available at Region Ten

July 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
by Scott Beach

  One of the most pervasive and influential challenges in the mental health field is helping individuals deal with trauma. To help individuals cope with the effects of trauma, Region Ten has adopted a treatment approach which has demonstrated positive effects in treating trauma.  The treatment is known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 60.7 percent of men and 51.2 percent of women reported experiencing at least one trauma in their lifetime (TIP No. 57, 2014). Experiencing trauma can exacerbate mental health symptoms or lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that 3.5% of the U.S. Adult Population is diagnosed with PTSD  and only about half of the cases were found to be receiving treatment for PTSD at the time of the study, suggesting a need for increased trauma informed therapy (www.nimh.nih.gov).

            Trauma occurs when an individual experiences an event that overwhelms their ability to cope with the event. While typically events are related to physical safety, death, or natural/global disasters, any forced event that overwhelms a person’s ability to respond may be considered traumatic (TIP No. 57, 2014). When an individual struggles with trauma for over a month, it might be PTSD. According to the DSM 5, individuals with PTSD avoid reminders of a traumatic event and re-experience the event through nightmares or flashbacks. Individuals feel unsafe and constantly watch for danger. They experience difficulty sleeping and feel detached from others or parts of the event. These experiences can impact an individual’s relationships, their work, and their sense of safety and trust (APA, 2013, pp. 271-180).

            One of the most effective treatments for PTSD, trauma and other adverse life experiences is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR. EMDR helps individuals deal with the emotional pain (fear, anxiety), the faulty thought patterns (“I am never safe”) and the physiological arousal (sweating, hyperventilating, rapid heartrate) that are associated with trauma.

The process involves stimulating both sides of the brain to help new, healthy learning to occur around painful memories/experiences from one’s past and establish new learning for understanding similar situations in the future. EMDR helps establish a sense of emotional calm around a current distressing experience and helps an individual learn that he or she has control over the current event and future events.

            According to the EMDR Institute, Inc. website, EMDR is supported by a number of organizations, including: the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs.

While other treatments for trauma are also effective, EMDR offers the following advantages: no need for a detailed description of traumatic; clinicians do not directly challenge “irrational beliefs;” no extended exposure to painful emotions/memories; and no “homework” assignment at the end of the session.  In addition, studies show that individuals can benefit from EMDR in a relatively short period of time (three or four 90 minutes sessions) as opposed to years of treatment (www.emdr.com). EMDR is also effective for treating distressing feelings and challenging thoughts that are not necessarily traumatic but still contribute to low self-esteem, feeling powerless, and other distressing issues.  

The Region Ten Leadership Team has recognized the impact that trauma has had on the individuals in our community and has responded by training many of their clinicians in the EMDR technique. Along with other local EMDR providers, Region Ten looks forward to offering this treatment to individuals in our community to assist in their recovery efforts.

For more information, visit Region Ten CSB at regionten.org or call 434.970.1800.

Scott Beach serves as  Director of Training for Region Ten Community Services Board. 

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