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  • Writer's picturestacyw8

Therapy with Both sides of my brain?

Did you know that traditional psychotherapy, while effective and helpful, is considered to be a left-brain therapy? In fact, most therapy involves only the left side of the brain, which is the dominant side of the brain, as it controls language and speech. The left side of the brain is factual, mathematical, and logical. It would make sense, that in therapy when you are talking about things in your active memory, you would be accessing the left side of your brain.

The right brain, in contrast, controls emotion and intuition. The right side of the brain is considered to be artistic, imaginative; keeper of nonverbal cues and daydreams. The right side of the brain and the left side of the brain only communicate during REM sleep, that time during sleep when your eyes are moving back and forth very quickly. It is during this time, that dreams occur.

Unlike traditional talk therapy using only the left side of the brain, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) utilizes both the left and right sides of the brain. This is done with bilateral stimulation, which activates both sides of the brain. This is most often done with eye movements, though the use of tapping and buzzers is also effective.

By stimulating both sides of the brain while recalling a negative thought or event, the emotion attached to that event or thought is removed. Once that emotion has been removed and the distress has gone as low as, possible, we are able to increase the belief in a positive more adaptive self-thought.

The most fascinating part of EMDR is that it allows your brain to process these things and do the majority of the work. EMDR can be a life-changing therapy. It certainly has changed mine. As both an empath and a clinician, being effective at my job means that often I find myself feeling limited in my ability to help people. I am not a prescriber of medication, which means that the most I can do for someone with depression, is talk to them about coping with it. I have left sessions, wishing I could do more and feeling ineffective.

However, since becoming EMDR trained, I have lost that unhelpful feeling. I am not feeling burnt out because I have been working tirelessly to find resources to help situations that I am unable to change.

With EMDR, it is not about changing anything other than the way a person sees and feels about themselves. After all of the clutter of the negative self-talk has been removed from your brain, it is much easier to begin to feel better. It is possible to be life-changing when self-doubt, anxiety, and negative emotions have gone.

How do I know it works? Because not only do I am a practitioner of EMDR, I have received EMDR. Having done so has not only given me an insight into how this therapy works, it has helped alleviate the anxiety associated with starting my own practice. My thoughts are no longer interrupted by something I think must be true about me, like that I am somehow not good enough, that sense of imposter syndrome we all have felt at one time. My brain is focused on the fact that I can do anything I desire to do with my life. I can be as successful as I want to be, the only thing standing in my way is myself. Once I removed the self-doubt, I was able to take a risk that would have caused me to lie awake with anxiety at one time.

If you have never had therapy, if you have had lots of therapy, if you have trauma or none at all, EMDR can help. It certainly changed my life, I believe it can change yours as well. If you have not tried it, even if you are in therapy now, ask your therapist about a referral for EMDR. Maybe a nontraditional approach to treatment can be as helpful for you as it has been for me. I am helping people, making a noticeable change in the lives of the people I work with, and I am doing it in my own practice.

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