As a social worker in private practice, one of my joys is helping people deal with unbelievable, sometimes unspeakable, traumas and suffering that they have experienced or witnessed. Often these experiences lead to symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “This study supports the efficacy of brief EMDR treatment to produce substantial and sustained reduction of PTSD and depression in most victims of adult-onset trauma.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17284128
One young woman in her late twenties was working in third-world countries in refugee camps in the medical units. She had to cope with multiple issues including debilitating illness and the deaths of children. Although she wanted to continue the work, her symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder included flashbacks, nightmares, sadness, irritability, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness. She was worried about accepting another posting without having dealt with her issues. She had times when she felt she couldn’t make it through the day.
Due to her commitment and dedication to the treatment process, and within a relatively short period of time, EMDR treatments allowed her to work through the frightening images and painful experiences that she was holding. As a result of our work together, and the treatment process, she was able to come to terms with the psychological and emotional traumas. Through EMDR, she was able to process the memories. After receiving EMDR, she showed decreases in all of her presenting complaints and increases in positive cognitions. Her nightmares stopped and her symptoms of depression and anxiety seemed to completely resolve.
Currently, she is working at another refugee camp in a different country and has reported that: “Things are going great!” Before she left, she stated that she could actually picture herself confidently handling and managing the experience of working in a refugee camp. She was able to release the pain and suffering and to look forward and view her work with pride.