Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Think It's Time

At the Orange Leaf Half this morning, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful lady named Donna.  We only ran together for a mile, but it was a great mile filled with great conversation.  We talked about eating disorders and the pressure that is put on women by society to be a certain version of themselves.  She said something that I already knew but have been pushing to the side.  She said that I would most likely benefit from surgery.  Well, I procrastinated a little too long for getting my tubal removal surgery done this year (in regards to my running training and the end of the fiscal year).  So, I think I will use the money I had put on my flexible spending account and get me some much needed therapy.  I want to do this certain form of therapy that is highly recommended to me for my situation.  It’s called EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).  It’s supposed to be fantastic for treating PTS and PTSD, anxiety related disorders and general trauma response issues.
Here’s a description taken from the website:
“EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

Twenty positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR.  Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.  Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy.  Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth across the client's field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, "I survived it and I am strong."  Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.  Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.”
So, hopefully the counselor that does this form of therapy will have openings for me.  I’d like to go once or twice a week.  And while I’m taking this break from running is the perfect time for me to start doing this.  I’ll let you know once I’ve started the therapy and keep you updated on my progress and how it’s working for me.  I know if I can get a handle on my anxiety and stress and my responses to them, then I think I will see the extra weight I need to lose just melt off.  I think I’ll be able to control my eating better and not turn to food so much when I’m feeling vulnerable due to stress or anxiety or fear or sadness, etc.

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