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Feeling Trapped in the Maze – Part 1 By Don Short, LPC, LMFT


EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement

Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s an evidencebased mode of psychotherapy that is extremely effective at treating a variety of emotional, mental health and physical issues. It was discovered and developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in 1990 and has been a life changing therapy for thousands of people over the years. There is a lot of information on EMDR Therapy at for anyone wishing to review some of the extensive research that has been completed on this modality of therapy. LET’S IMAGINE FOR A MINUTE that you have a cut on a finger. Not a cut that needs stitches but a minor cut with some bleeding. What would you do? What needs to happen for that cut to heal? These sound like simple questions with obvious answers. You are right! All you have to do is to clean the cut, along with the area around it and keep the wounded area in a clean and safe environment. It will heal itself automatically. It doesn’t matter who you are—male, female, black, white, Hispanic, religious or non-religious. The fact of the matter is that our bodies are prone to heal themselves when we provide a clean, safe, healthy environment. On the other hand if the environment is dirty and toxic then our finger will not heal. It will become infected; the infection will spread and make us sick. The example of the finger cut parallels with hurts and wounds in the mental/emotional areas of our lives. We all have been hurt or wounded mentally/emotionally. Healing will begin to take place when we remove the toxins from our mind and emotions. How does one do this? Sometimes we feel life is going well, only to notice fragments of these issues from our past finding a nasty way of intruding into present life situations 50 FACE | MARCH 2016

and relationships. We become tired and exhausted with these intrusions. We begin to feel stuck or trapped in a maze of emotional chaos. It’s a maze of fear, shame, panic, anxiety, grief and/or anger. You can’t find a way out of this maze. You have great difficulty moving forward with your life and relationships in peace. These past unresolved issues are represented as the proverbial ‘pink elephant’ in the room that we are not to talk about or the issues that are buried, only to be triggered at some unforeseen moment. How does one recognize these unresolved issues from our past or how do they manifest themselves in our daily life? Some of you already know the answer to this question. For you, it has been those intensive feelings/thoughts that you have been trying to conceal for years. It’s a day-to-day struggle to keep these past thoughts and feelings from intruding into the present. It’s a cycle you want to break. A roller coaster you want to get off of and never get back on again. One way to help patients is by helping them identify these issues from the past that are intruding into the present by using a Level of Disturbance Scale of 1 to10 (1 meaning no disturbance and 10 representing the highest level of disturbance). The way this

FACE Magazine ~ March 2016  

"Serving the women and families of Acadiana since 2008"

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