Shelley Burns, MA, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor
conveniently located in Duvall - 425/844-2103

Trauma Treatment

Free your mind from the past

Trauma can be defined in various ways, both by the severity of the initial experience and by the impact on a person’s life after the experience.  We often make a distinction between “Big T” and “little t” traumas.  The first is the type of event we most commonly think of as traumatic, i.e., auto accidents, physical abuse, battle experience, major loss of any kind, rape, etc.  The second refers to things that have happened that may part of more ordinary human experience but in some way have led to serious outcomes. These events include being shunned or teased as a school child, being ignored or dismissed by parents, being poor, and failing at sports, professional or academic pursuits. Ideally, those latter situations could have been processed, worked through and left behind.  But, without adequate support, compassion, and resources these “bumps” become lasting barriers to our growth and development. “Just forget about it!” does not really work.  Our very complex and clever brains need to work through and process difficult memories or these memories remain “stuck” and highly influential in our day to day lives. 

Psychotherapy is a proven intervention for getting traumatic memories unstuck and resolved.  There are many therapeutic techniques which have been successfully used over the years.  I use a combination of traditional “talk therapy” and the newer forms of treatment such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and body/mind oriented techniques.  EMDR has been shown in hundreds of studies to be very successful in the treatment of trauma.  It is also shown to be the treatment that has the most long term success.  In other words the positive effects last longer.  In my years of using this technique I have seen successes which I could never have expected to see using more traditional methods.

EMDR treatment helps to desensitize reactions to memories, in other words to become comfortable with a memory and not continue to be reactive and fearful.  Reprocessing is learning to understand what happened in the past and create new ways of being in the present and future that are not controlled by the past. 

EMDR uses guided eye movements or other dual attention stimulation of the brain to help process memories back and forth across the left and right hemispheres of the brain.  This allows what was “stuck” to move through normal processing and desensitizing.

I invite you to talk with me about EMDR and look at the material available at the web site emdria.org.