Michelle, (not her real name), is a lovely young woman, married with a small toddler. She is a working Mom who has suffered from depression (probably symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder), low sex drive and been on anti-depressant medication most of her adult life.
Michelle came in for counseling as her relationship with her husband was suffering: neither she nor her husband was happy. Also, she felt horrible because she found little pleasure in parenting her child. She felt like a bad wife and mother. Her sense of shame was huge and she was searching for a way to stop the destruction of her marriage and family. Michelle used any and all parenting tips to help her to cope and, although these tips were helpful, they were not addressing the core issues.
As we talked and discussed the nature of her problems, it became clear that Michelle had experienced numerous traumas over the course of her life. These included incidents such as bullying and teasing from teachers & other students as well as some abuse within her nuclear family relationships. These early life events are often at the “root” of our present-day problems because we are “triggered” emotionally and often can do little to control our reactions. Traumatic events often shape the way we deal with life, especially when we under stress.
Michelle and I decided that EMDR was the best treatment approach for helping her to deal with these difficulties. EMDR deals precisely with the root trauma and helps to change and neutralize the effects of the traumatic events. It changes how we think, feel and react to the image and memory.
Therapy is not an easy process if you are seriously expecting to grow and change as a person. This is truly the case for Michelle who is often tearful and emotional as we desensitize one issue after the other. Michelle is an artist as well. What is truly amazing about this process is how she is utilizing her artistic and creative talents as resources and coping tools. In a recent session, she decided that she would dedicate a creative project to one of her traumatic memories. She would use art and a series of paintings to express her traumatic experience. This is not a new idea but it is a novel one for Michelle who came to this realization through the EMDR process.
She continues to attend therapy due to the positive results she is experiencing as a result of our work together. Michelle is happy to report that her mood is better and that she is coping better with her family. She is enjoying her son so much more. Her relationship with her husband has improved and he commented one day by asking: “where is the pod?” Remember the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” movie? He was asking her where his “real wife” was as she seemed so different in their interactions with one another.