How to change your behaviors
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are some of the best-researched, most effective psychotherapy treatments for a wide range of issues. They have been proven highly effective for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, relationships, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.
Dana uses a non-judgmental and accepting approach to help her clients identify and understand the underlying thoughts and triggers that lead to intense emotions and reactions. Once awareness of the triggers and thoughts are established, Dana helps to teach her clients to learn coping skills manage the intense emotions and reactions. These learned coping skills help clients to successfully change their undesirable behavior.
Regulating Your Emotions
Mindfulness is a critical part of DBT. Extensive research has shown Mindfulness Meditation to be highly effective for anxiety reduction, relapse prevention (for depression and addiction) and stress reduction. Research also documents excellent physical health and emotional health benefits from mindfulness and meditation.
Adverse Child Experiences & Trauma
Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
The earliest relationships and interactions in our lives set the tone for all relationships that we have moving forward. Experiences that occur early in life have an impact on the health and socio-emotional wellness of the individual throughout the lifespan. In order to improve our current relationships, we must revisit and work through any related early life experiences. Utilizing EMDR, I help clients to revisit their past so that it no longer affects their present.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is one of the best researched, most effective psychotherapy treatments for a wide range of issues, including trauma, panic attacks, and stress reduction. EMDR helps clients, both children and adults, to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that linked to earlier life experiences.
EMDR is an excellent approach, especially for clients who have tried therapy before but continued to feel stuck and unable to move forward. It is also a faster* approach to achieving counseling goals, compared to other approaches. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.
Using detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes so that they achieve lasting changes.
*When compared to traditional talk therapy
How does EMDR work?
Traumatic incidents are stored differently in the brain than non-traumatic experiences. The emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions, which were appropriate at the time of the trauma, can be triggered throughout the person’s life at times when trauma is not present. This results in symptoms such as anxiety, chronic pain, and difficulty sleeping.
EMDR assists clients in reprocessing (revisiting and relearning) earlier life incidents that have contributed to their present day symptoms. Doing so allows those older memories to be stored correctly in the brain so that emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions are no longer triggered. EMDR also assists clients in uncovering the beliefs that developed as a result of earlier life experiences, and helps them to remove these negative beliefs. The EMDR therapist assists the client in replacing the negative beliefs with positive, adaptive beliefs about themselves.
What is an EMDR session like?
The EMDR process begins in a similar manner to other psychotherapy techniques. After the therapist gathers some history and information about the client, the client and therapist determine which memories will be targeted to relieve the client’s current symptoms. The therapist assists the client in uncovering negative beliefs, which developed from those memories, and in determining what positive beliefs the client would prefer to hold. The therapist also assists the client in reaching back in time for other possible memories, which support the negative beliefs.
Preparation work is then conducted to help the client feel safe and secure when discussing upsetting feelings and memories. This preparation stage may include visualization and mediation exercises, among others. Exercises are determined by the therapist and client based on the client’s preferences and strengths.
Once the preparatory work is done, the client is assisted in recalling upsetting materials, such as memories or sensations, while the therapist facilitates eye movements, sound or a tapping device to bilaterally stimulate the brain. The sets of bilateral stimulation of the brain are continued until the client is able to think about the upsetting material without any emotional response.
EMDR, like other trauma treatments, uses the concept of “dual awareness,” where the client remembers the upsetting event while also being aware that they are in a safe environment, in the present moment. Further, the eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) mimic the period of sleep referred to as “REM” sleep or “rapid eye movement.” This portion of sleep is frequently considered to be the time when the mind processes the recent events in the person’s life.
Is EMDR safe to use with children?
EMDR has been successful for children and adolescents struggling with anxiety, ADHD, depression, difficult behaviors, etc. In my work with children and adults, I’ve observed that similar symptoms diminish faster with young children as compared to adults. Children appear more able to undergo rapid change. It seems that a trauma, anxiety, or a phobia has had less time to take hold throughout a young person’s mind and body. Whatever the hypothesis, it is significant that EMDR seems to help children move in positive directions.
EMDR is a useful approach with younger, less verbal children, as well as introverted adolescents. For younger children, the process can be set up in a playful, engaging manner so that the child can feel that he or she playing a fun game with the therapist. When children are having fun, they are more open to being in a therapist’s office.
How effective is EMDR?
EMDR has been extensively researched and developed, and studies consistently show that EMDR effectively decreases or eliminates the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder for the majority of clients.
EMDR is also used in the treatment of numerous other conditions, including: panic attacks; generalized anxiety disorder; grief; dissociative disorders; phobias; eating disorders; performance anxiety; addictions; and stress reduction.
For more information on EMDR therapy, contact Dana Carretta.