Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Author, Mental Health Therapist, Researcher, Expert in Attachment Trauma

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Why is EMDR Important in the Treatment of Children and Adults with Early Trauma?

Early trauma experienced in the home impacts the brain and overall mental health of the developing child. When parents are behaving in a manner that frightens their children, their children are in a double-bind: “The person to whom I wish to run is at the same time the source of my fear.” With no way to find comfort, the brain becomes disorganized, and it wires itself to be reactive to survive in a dangerous environment. The child’s early experiences teach him that it is not safe to trust or be close, that he is not lovable, and that he must be in charge of getting his own needs met in his own way. Early traumas are stored in the limbic region of the brain, encapsuled in neural networks with the negative beliefs and feelings present at the time of the trauma. EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) stimulates important centers in the right and left hemisphere of the brain that help integrate the stored negative beliefs, feelings, and memories with helpful, adaptive information in the brain. The right-left brain stimulation reaches into the limbic brain in a way that “talk therapy” alone cannot, calming the reactive survival brain.

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