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I attended an EMDR training over the last month and have been blown away by the effectiveness of the trauma-focused psychotherapy I've observed and experienced personally.

Francine Shapiro, the founder of this type of treatment, defines trauma as...

trauma-- The experience of neglect or abuse that undermines an individual’s sense of self-worth, safety, or ability to assume appropriate responsibility for self or others, or limits one’s sense of control or choices.

Who does not at some point wrestle with self-worth, safety, responsibility, or a sense of control? As a Christian, these "effects of trauma" sound eerily similar to what I know as "effects of sin." Even if you've never been in a major car crash, seen someone killed, or be attacked in some vicious way, you likely have had a few experiences where you didn't have the warm, responsive care you needed in the midst of fear and stress. (That's called emotional neglect).

Compound those few experiences with "evidence" from your regular life that tells you you are not valuable, not safe, unable to care for yourself, and out of control and you have a perfect package of pain walking around wounded and bleeding on everyone you come in contact with.

My new analogy for unresolved trauma is being a soaking wet sponge you're trying not to let drip. You go about your day trying to avoid getting bumped (triggered) and then having to clean up messes you wish you weren't making. While cognitive and emotional work can help you avoid triggers and help you get better at cleaning up the messes, EMDR wrings out the sponge. Once you've healed, you still remember the painful things and those experiences still inform how you see yourself and the world around you, but they no longer make you overly vulnerable to your environment.

Who doesn't want to be healed like this? Looking forward to the healing work I get to join in with.

Unsplash: NEOM

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