This is an excellent question… shows your motivation. The short answer is that it depends on what you want. The long answer is that it depends on how difficult your life has been, what you need, want, and what personal development you have already done and want to do.
Some clients want to focus on one challenge while others want to clean out the whole backpack of past disturbing memories.
Historical incidents can intertwine and interfere with current difficulties. They are like the roots of a weed. They feed the upper branches and keep them vibrant and alive. You can chop off the top of the weed, but it grows back if you don’t get the root.
When you chop off the top of the weed psychologically it is called state change, for e.g. eating chocolate/drinking/… or talk about your problems with friends, etc. It helps temporarily.
Addressing the root is called trait change. That’s where we go back in time to find out what all is impacting us today to clear it out. Ever have the sense that your reaction is much bigger than the current issue calls for? We will address the root permanently… it doesn’t have to be every root in the garden. One at a time works.
Metaphor.. it works like a spiders web… cut the main string and it begins to fall apart even without working on every part of it.
Example 1: Someone is hit by a drunk driver and the car accident is no fault of their own. Yet they feel at fault. They know intellectually it isn’t their fault, but can’t stop the thoughts running on and on. We find out that it is related to feeling at fault at 5yrs old for an incident in which they had no control. When we cleared the negative belief and disturbance at age 5 then the feeling of fault with the current accident cleared quickly.
Example 2: A woman is raped and feels she is a bad person. Intellectually she understands she isn’t and her family and friends tell her she is a good person, loving, and kind. We float back in time to age 4yrs old when she was punished for something she didn’t do. We clear that up and the current belief “I’m bad” for the rape clears in processing.
Example 3: A man comes for therapy because he is struggling in his marriage. He feels angry a lot and finds him self withdrawing from his partner. We float back to find out that as a young boy his mother stopped talking to him for days when he made a mistake. Same as above.. we cleared the early and the later clears faster and easier.
Example 4: A family member dies and although not preventable he feels he should have been able to do something. He is stuck feeling overwhelmed and guilty. We find out it is connected to a time when he was 3 yrs old and his grandmother died whom he was close to. Nobody explained what happened, she just never came to see him again. We cleared the early memory (root) and a memory that felt even worse (he sees his pet run over at 10yrs old) and the current clears faster and easier.
You tried talk therapy and it felt like you learned important coping skills, but you can’t get past the negative beliefs about self, the sleeplessness, the anxiety, the anger, the unhealthy habits, … This is a case of roots not being cleared and it doesn’t matter if it was 5, 20, or 40 yrs ago the root can still be cleared. This is the brilliance of the human psyche!
These are some of the reasons for counselling where heart, mind, body, and spirit are addressed so that what is emotionally disturbing can become fact and free you to be more of who you really are.
It is important to take time to decide what it is that you want from counselling. I can help you figure this out if this feels too difficult. It may also change as your therapy progresses.
Some ways to play with figuring out what you want:
1) Reframe the question. Another way to put this is to think about how you will know counselling is over? e.g. you are sleeping better, your anxiety or fears have resolved, past memories aren’t disturbing anymore, you are able to be in relationship the way you want, you feel more joyous, hopeful, and free, etc.
THEN write down what you have if you don’t have the difficulty anymore. For example, if you aren’t anxious, etc. what will you have instead? What will you be feeling instead of anxiety?
2) What brings you joy and peace? That can help you figure out what you want e.g. I feel peaceful when I walk in nature. Or I love playing with my kids.. or I take pride in doing my work well… or…
Then what is the statement that describes what you want?
It could translate to “I want more time in my life to enjoy nature to be more balanced in the time I work and time I play”
What is your statement?
Can I afford counselling? personal development? Great question. Consider these costs… (costs based on 1 person unless otherwise stated)
- Average cost of eating out for lunch every day $1800/yr.
- Avg cost of eating out for supper no alcohol 1x/wk for a couple $2000/yr.
- Avg cost of 1 Tim Hortons coffee every day $540/yr.
- Avg cost of your own self care/counselling $ ______ fill in the blank.
You are worth the time and money to take care of your mental health!
You become certified when you meet the EMDRIA requirements that ensure competence in EMDR work. A certified therapist will ensure he/she is knowledgable in current research and attends advanced trainings and conferences to maintain their skill level and certification. It is a stamp of competence. Email for more details on the requirements.
Abuse is the use of might, mouth, or money to hurt, control, threaten or manipulate. – Sam Blakely.
Abuse can be verbal, mental, physical, sexual, and financial.
Trauma is the result of an event/s that overwhelm the child or adult’s ability to cope and integrate the ideas and thoughts of that experience.
Trauma can occur as a result of (but not limited to) a threat to life, bodily injury, or to psychological well being like abandonment of a child.
Children may form beliefs about themselves during trauma, like they are to blame, even though the situation was not their fault. The brain structures (e.g. emotional or limbic system) respond with a life or death response to stress and terror. As humans we use coping strategies to deal with threat, for e.g. freezing, dissociating, etc. all of which improve our chances of survival.
These same strategies and symptoms in later life may interfere with our functioning, for e.g. avoiding relationships, anxiety, panic attacks, forgetfulness, depression, guilt, anger, sleep disorders, etc.
Healing is a term to be defined by each person that may vary over time. Marc Ian Barash (1993) says that healing can be:
– The re-establishment of communication with our selves;
– Finding meaning of pain, woundedness, etc. in terms of the totality of one’s life; a re-framing of meaning in experience;
– Restoration of balance from disease to incorporating healthy aspects into one’s life;
– Willingness to change, an adaptation that moves beyond habitual patterns of thinking, behaving, or feeling which in turn can alter biological processes.
To be updated soon!