Going through a traumatic event challenges our understanding of how the world should operate, as well as erodes our confidence and shakes many of our core beliefs. Whether you survived a natural disaster, suffered the loss of a close family member, or endured the tragedy of being the victim of a violent crime, a traumatic event often negatively impacts how we process everyday life experiences. Initial reactions to a traumatic event can include fear, numbness, anxiety, confusion, and dissociation, among many other types of adverse emotions.
One of the most effective tools to address the aftermath of a traumatic life event is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. EMDR therapy has demonstrated to be an effective strategy to help people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to address intense negative feelings. The underlying principle of EMDR therapy is to complete eye movement exercises that help relax a victim of trauma, which allows the victim to focus on more positive thoughts. Some of the negative PTSD symptoms EMDR therapy treats include flashbacks, nightmares, and chronic fatigue.
Trauma and Processing Life Experiences
The same traumatic event impacts people differently, as evident by the news reports of the survivors of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado outbreak. Everyone has a different coping mechanism to help them get through the most turbulent time of their lives. Some people benefit from several individual adult therapy sessions, while other people thrive with the support of close friends and family members.
Getting back to our natural disaster example, one survivor jumps into action to help neighbors recover from the physical and psychological damage caused by a hurricane or tornado outbreak. Another survivor requires intensive family therapy sessions to recapture the close bond family members had before the natural disaster struck.
Distressing thoughts, emotions, and memories should be addressed as quickly as possible before the symptoms of PTSD develop into life-altering issues that negatively influence the development of personal and professional relationships.
Examples of How Trauma Impacts Processing Life Experiences
Different traumatic events influence how people process life experiences. Let’s say someone survives a raging fire that took lives and caused considerable damage. The next time the survivor sits around a campfire or tries to grill outdoors over an open flame, the resulting negative emotions might be overwhelming to the point that the survivor of the fire cannot handle being around a small flame flickering on a stove.
A survivor of a natural disaster might tremble in fear every time the warning sirens go off in the neighborhood, even on a clear day when the local government is simply testing the sirens for operational effectiveness. Victims of violent crimes often have a hard time processing life experiences that concern public safety. For example, many victims of violent crime have difficulty leaving their homes in the middle of the day. A family member who lost a loved one has difficulty processing life experiences that involve memories of the loved one.
You Can Overcome a Traumatic Event
EMDR therapy represents just one technique to help victims of traumatic events reduce and even eliminate negative thoughts, emotions, and memories. If you have just come out on the other side of a traumatic event, schedule an appointment with one of our highly-rated therapists to develop a game plan for improved mental health.