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Improving Motherhood: How EMDR Therapy Can Make You a Better Mom

mother on knees, smiling, as young child hugs mother while on mother's back

 

I had a client who kept finding herself panicking when she wanted to tell her child “no” in public.


No matter what she tried, she kept feeling overwhelmed by the thought that they might react poorly and people might look at her.  So, she would say yes, even though she didn’t want to.


It wasn’t until we worked together that she was able to figure out why she was so anxious and was able to be the parent she had been wanting to be this whole time.


How did we do it?


A lovely little thing known as EMDR therapy.

 

What is EMDR?


EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, harnesses the power of your beautiful, magical brain to help heal things that get stuck while we’re living life.  These moments that get stuck are often referred to as trauma.


What is trauma?


At its root, trauma is simply something that overwhelms our nervous system. 


My client? The root of her struggles was something she considered irrelevant. But that’s the thing about trauma - it doesn’t have to be something huge, like abuse or a natural disaster. 

child looking downward on picnic table as other child points finger at them while smiling as though laughing

It can be something pretty simple, actually.


Basically, it’s anything that happened that you weren’t equipped to deal with at the time.


What does that mean? 


Imagine you tripped while walking on the sidewalk. Today as an adult, it would suck - but wouldn’t really bother you, right?


But as a child, if you tripped and someone laughed at you it could be a traumatic experience that sticks in your mind, body, spirit.


Not because of any fault of your own, simply because your brain did not know how to process what was happening at that moment in time.


When something is stuck, it prevents us from using our current awareness or knowledge in situations. 


Now, odds are you have heard of things like generational trauma and “repeating the pattern” when it comes to EMDR.  That’s because this therapy is one of the most researched and proven approaches to help people move through those stuck points. 


An example here would be when your child is upset and screaming, you’re immediately transported to a time when you were being screamed at and in danger, so you mentally shut down.  


Why? Because as a child that was your only option available for survival. So that response operates on replay since your brain can’t recognize that as an adult, you have other options.  


Similarly, if you learned that screaming back was your best option for survival when you felt upset and unsafe, you’ll yell back at your child.  Again, because your brain can’t recognize the situations are different and you have other options now.


The take-away? The past is also present.

 

How does EMDR work?


EMDR harnesses the power of your beautiful, magical brain to heal trauma and help you live your best life.  

It does this by helping you make the connection between what you’re experiencing now and what has happened in the past.


After making that connection, you can help heal the past event which will allow you to then use your present-day self to address your present-day situation. 


woman sitting in chair facing other woman in chair, arms open as talking

Now here’s the point where EMDR differs from a lot of other therapies.  After you’ve addressed what’s currently bothering you, EMDR then helps you heal your brain moving forward so you can continue using the new information that you’ve learned.  This is done by actively imagining future scenarios that resemble the struggles you’ve had thus far and identifying how to address them more effectively.


In other words, EMDR works by acknowledging that the past is present and it is always trying to prepare you for the future. 


All these steps also utilize bilateral stimulation (which is a fancy way of saying it activates both sides of your brain) using visual, tactile, or auditory stimulation.



How can EMDR help me be a better mom?


EMDR allows you to heal from your past so you can be the mom you want to be in the present.  


mother and daughter flexing arms

Like many mamas out there, my client didn’t realize she was repeating a pattern she learned as a child herself. But when we allow ourselves to be curious, we give ourselves an opportunity to notice how our relationships and interactions with our kids do or do not suit us. 


THIS is how you become the mama you want to be.


By learning how to be in our adult bodies and assess situations for safety, responsibility, and for choice, we are better able to teach our children those skills. We gain the ability to stay present as our adult selves instead of reverting back to our childhood selves in moments of stress (say, for example, finding ourselves in a screaming match with our toddler about who is right or whether or not they asked for the blue cup).


THIS is how we break generational patterns and cycles.


So when we talk about how EMDR can help you be a better mom it really boils down to the fact that it allows you to be your best version of your best self, the self you want to be. And that allows you to show up as the mom you want to be for your child(ren).  


Put more simply:

When we use EMDR therapy we allow what is stuck to be healed and released so that we can be our adult selves and our adult lives. And that means that we can show up for our children as the parents that we are and not as the children that we were.

 

Remember, mama, when it comes to embracing wellness on your motherhood journey, you've got this. And, as always, I've got you.


 

Looking to learn more about EMDR and how it can transform your healing? Click here.

(PS - You can also sign up to be first in line for our EMDR Intensive openings there too.)


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