So, now that we are strong and humble enough to acknowledge our negative or limiting beliefs and toxic emotions, what are the options in dealing with them?
We can start with noticing the limiting beliefs, stop-thoughting them and replacing them with the truth. For example, we drop something, up comes the thought, “I’m so stupid,” (along with any associated feelings such as shame or anger), we now (before this goes further) stop the thought, go into our body, notice/name the feelings, take a few deep breaths, go back into our head and say, “I’m doing the best I can” or “I’m smart enough.”
However, this method may work in the moment and yet is often not enough to override the decades, if not lifetime, of default thinking or neuropathways.
We can equate this to when we remove a dandelion flower and even some of its upper root, but if we do not fully remove the entire root tap, the flower will reappear. “Oh, but I thought I’d dealt with this (mother issue) already,” or, “was over that (abuse, loss, situation, anger)!”
Apparently not – or we would not be having any triggering or unsettling moments, even if they surface ‘once in a while’ or we think are ‘no big deal.’ Do you want at any time to feel guilty, ‘not good enough’ or any other toxic emotion or denigrating message?
EMDR Therapy addresses the root or touchstone source of this default patterning. Start with any situation (see list below) and during the ‘floatback’ phase, people ground into their body and feelings to access conscious and unconscious memories which have reinforced the wounds of this situation throughout their lives. I call them the ‘cuts’ along the way – like a stone skipping along the water’s surface – we enter the file of “not good enough” or “I am stupid” examples, identifying the earliest and worst memories. These are the ones that will be processed (reconsolidated, I love that term!).
The eye movements (by the therapist’s hand motions) cause both dual attention and bilateral stimulation in the brain (similar to REM sleep – no, not hypnosis), allowing the client to relax and access conscious and unconscious aspects of the memories in a safe slowed manner so that the older, wiser self (with the therapist) can make sense of the fragmented and distorted parts of the memory which were not fully processed (because the person’s brain was so overwhelmed) at the time of the event.
Over the years, I have witnessed some amazing shifts in clients (and with my own EMDR sessions) with minimal sessions (2-6). Pre-verbal (in the crib even!) memories have been accessed, body symptoms lessened, changes from ‘I’m helpless” to “I can ask for help. I can help myself.”; from “I’m messed up” to “I’m good enough.” Clients rapidly make sense of the past, feel emotional relief and are more able to move forward with daily life and goals.
EMDR Therapy is a treatment modality recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, the Defense Department and the World Health Organization in treating trauma. However, its effectiveness goes beyond trauma.
“Targets” people can address include:
- negative belief (I’m worthless.)
- emotion (anger, guilt, regrets)
- traumatic or specific event
- Intrusive memory (flashbacks, nightmares)
- Upcoming event (interview, date)
- Triggering events (holiday)
- Person (bully at work, uncle)
- Time in life (divorce, move, age 10)
- Body sensations (pain, chronic)
What are you ready to clear up?