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Episode 26 | The Role of EMDR Therapy in Holistic Mental Health Treatment

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Podcast Transcript

Episode 26: The Role of EMDR Therapy in Holistic Mental Health Treatment

[00:00:00] Amy: Welcome to the Holistic Health Show, where the worlds of science and spirituality converge to illuminate a path towards total well being. Join us as we embark on a journey to bridge the gap between Western medicine and complementary therapies, offering you a roadmap to embrace a proactive, holistic approach to your health.

[00:00:21] It's time to empower yourself with choices that nurture your body, mind, and soul. Welcome to a world of infinite possibilities for your optimal health.

[00:00:32] Welcome back to the show, everyone. Today, we have Nancy Leaf on the show. Nancy is in Newfoundland, Canada, which is where I'm from, so it's really exciting to connect with somebody from home. Thank you, Nancy, for joining us on the show today. I think it's going to be a really exciting conversation. Nancy's business is Blackbird Holistic Therapy.

[00:00:54] And, or sorry, Blackbird Holistic Counseling, and today she's going to talk to us about EMDR [00:01:00] therapy. Nancy, I'd like to know what EMDR stands for to start with. I have heard of it before. I can't quite recall what that Means so go ahead and jump right in and educate me on all things EMDR.

[00:01:16] Nancy: Awesome.

[00:01:17] Yeah. Well, you know, hi, it's good to, good to be connecting with a fellow Newfoundlander abroad and you're doing amazing work on your podcast. I've listened to a few sessions and yeah, I, it's really. Interesting. Fascinating stuff. So, but yeah, so EMDR, so it stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing.

[00:01:42] So it's kind of a fancy name, but, and it's a big model. I'm not going to lie. But essentially what this model is about is It is a treatment, it's treatment for processing trauma. [00:02:00] So it's been around since the late eighties. thIs lady by the name of Francine Shapiro invented it almost by happenstance.

[00:02:12] Sometimes that's how the best ideas are created, I guess, right? Like sort of mistakes in a way, or just sort of experimenting. Anyway, so she developed this in the late eighties with. While she was treating Vietnam war veterans in the United States for their trauma, obviously. And, you know, it just became, uh, a thing that evolved over time.

[00:02:38] And, you know, I've been in this field for 15 plus years. Sure. I haven't been doing this for a lifetime or anything, but I must say, like, I. didn't really hear too much about EMDR until recently. I, I heard the, the treatment modalities name being thrown around over the years, but nothing really [00:03:00] like not a lot.

[00:03:01] And so I became unbeknownst to me, part of the resurgence in popularity of EMDR, at least in my, like, corner of the world. I'm getting a lot of, say, More government type of agencies reaching out to me because they're looking for more EMDR therapists because clients are asking for more EMDR therapy.

[00:03:26] Yeah. So it's pretty cool. So it is enjoying a resurgence in popularity which is great. I guess people are recognizing that. You know, most mental health conditions, if you're going to ask anybody like me, the root of them, including addiction, which is a mental health concerns, how I look at it, is trauma.

[00:03:47] And so EMDR postulates that when we experience a mental injury aka trauma, and it can be like big, you know, [00:04:00] traumatic events, like one would think like a car accident. So on and so forth, but they can be small t. So these are things that a lot of people might not even realize were traumatic that they went through in their life.

[00:04:13] But when we go through traumatic incidents or traumatic periods of time in our life that were too big, too much, you know, at that time to fully understand, which, you know, when you think about kids. They don't have that developmental capacity to understand fully what is occurring, has occurred and be able to like, let that leave them, you know, you're looking at trauma and that memory and all of its components.

[00:04:45] So this is where it gets interesting because the memory is not just a picture in our mind. It's a somatic experience. It's an emotional experience. And that's

[00:04:54] Amy: something I was going to ask actually, is anyone who might. Well, I [00:05:00] guess I'm, as I'm forming my question, I'm thinking of a couple more, and I want to be direct.

[00:05:04] So, I suppose when somebody comes and sees you, do they necessarily have to know what issue is causing them pain? Or do they just, yeah, so they could come to you and say, look, I'm experiencing this, there's something I want to work through, and I don't know what it is, but I feel like my life could be

[00:05:23] Nancy: better.

[00:05:24] Yes, I'd say that. Like, I read sometime in my life, I don't know when this was, but I read one time that 80 percent of people who come to therapy don't know why they're there, really. They can't identify. It's like, sort of an ambiguous thing. They just don't feel well, or Hmm. they feel like their life is falling apart.

[00:05:42] Some people come in though and they say, Hey, look, I'm depressed, been diagnosed got trauma in my background. I haven't been the same since this happened. You know, I wouldn't say that it's nice to have that awareness. But not everybody's going to have that kind of awareness and [00:06:00] that's okay because the way EMDR works is it's like, it's like a big eight phased process.

[00:06:09] And we just tap into, you know, a person's current life experiences that may be difficult for them and their tools and techniques to help them connect to previous memories in their lives. where they felt the same way, almost like a free association type of technique called float back. And that's how we make, draw the line between what's going on in their current day life and their past experiences.

[00:06:44] Some of those experiences are memories that people Totally forgot about, or never would have even thought have anything to do with how they feel today. So, right. But that trauma is [00:07:00] stored and locked in a person's body, in the brain and in the spinal cord. And this leads me to. It gets it out.

[00:07:07] Amy: Hmm, and this leads me to the question, because you hear some people say, Oh, you know, I tried therapy, but it made things worse, because I had to think about things that I didn't want to think about, and so I felt worse.

[00:07:19] And how do you address that, or how do you get someone to get past that? Because you don't, of course, want them to feel worse, but then certainly if you are working through trauma and, you know, opening old wounds, you know, you don't want them to leave. Open and vulnerable like that. So I mean, what do you say to people who kind of have that view on therapy on any kind of therapy?

[00:07:42] I

[00:07:42] Nancy: suppose. Yeah, I wouldn't blame them for having that type of wonder and like concern because like I was a talk therapist before all this. Right. EMDR is not talk therapy. Sure. I like to set up my sessions where we have a little connection and we get into the menu. I call [00:08:00] it, the EMDR work that we're supposed to be doing or could be doing that that day to help them work on the trunk.

[00:08:05] So what EMDR, the tools that you use in EMDR, quite literally, and this is This, this is sort of my take on it that I've sort of formulated over the past few years that I've been doing this. It's like you're putting on safety gear to handle sensitive, toxic, you know, material. So not just for the client, it's quite literally putting on your PPE, your, your, your helmet, your fire gear to go into this.

[00:08:41] And it is for me too. So you don't necessarily have to give me all the. The graphic details of a traumatic incident. In fact, I always say to people, look, I'm [00:09:00] here to listen to you. If you want to talk to me, sure, go, go for it. But I don't ever want my clients to feel like I don't want to listen to what they have to say because look, you have to be a validating person when you're a therapist, of course.

[00:09:13] But I say to them, it is not necessary. What is necessary is that you give me brief. Descriptions and you, we stick to that is you connecting to the traumatic experience in your body and me using my EMDR tools and here I am doing this because this is one of them. I'll tell you about that in a second.

[00:09:34] And bilateral stimulation, which is, this is one way of doing it, finger movements and I get out of the way, they watch fingers move across the midline of their vision. So that engages both sides of their brain. Both hemispheres of their brain get to communicate about a, an experience that they haven't been able to fully process because it's [00:10:00] stuck somewhere.

[00:10:01] Wow. And that mechanism allows them to. Process that experience, you literally see emotions move on through there being sometimes they're like, I don't even know what I'm feeling. It's okay. You move it on through. And that's just one example of like what helps a person not feel like they are bleeding and not contained from the trauma.

[00:10:30] And then of course, by the time that we get to the part of EMDR therapy, where we are actually processing trauma, we have already had done a bunch of trauma resourcing techniques. That's the prep work. You'd never just jump in and start doing, doing a So when you do have a session where you're processing trauma and afterwards, you're like, Oh God, I'm spent.

[00:10:56] Now I'm thinking about that a little bit. Okay. Let's be you [00:11:00] now. Let's co regulate. I'll do it with you. Of course, of course, I got my own resources installed in me, you know, and we regulate and I'm checking in about how they're feeling and they always set up the last 10, 15 minutes of my session. To make sure everybody is contained in these, these resources, maybe we'll get into them in this interview.

[00:11:23] I don't know are like very, I should say, effective ways to contain the material so that it is stored away in a different place in your brain until you return a session and you have that control to take that back out. So, it's got practices set up to help contain the material is what I'm saying. And also the mechanisms of using EMDR are protective in that sense that the material is held in a way [00:12:00] that it is safer to process trauma.

[00:12:04] Amy: Yeah, so again, I have multiple questions. Yeah, which is good. This is interesting I guess I'll start with you said it's an eight phase process Is this does this mean it's a phase per session and so someone comes eight sessions or how are the sessions line lined up? What can one expect when booking a first session with you?

[00:12:24] I guess as a long term plan.

[00:12:26] Nancy: Yeah, so the way I guess,

[00:12:28] Amy: is there a short term plan, you know,

[00:12:31] Nancy: yeah, it sounds like it could be extensive thing. But what I have found with, and this is in the literature, but EMDR is that what would take a person and I'm just speaking in generalities here because of course there's exceptions to this.

[00:12:46] What would take a person normally like years to process can take six months to a year. Okay. EMDR is like therapy on jet fuel. Wow. It's super precise. [00:13:00] It, the methods are standardized. Like, it is such clean and precise and powerful work. So when you come in, though, you know, like I said to you just previously, I'm never going to sit down with somebody and be like, tell me all your trauma and like, let's start processing.

[00:13:20] Nope. So you spend, like for me, it could take about. You know, four or five sessions, maybe even longer, to get all of this resourcing set up. Now, that's the prep work. So that's phases one and two. So, of course, it's just like you would experience if you're going to some other therapist. You gather information, you do your consent to participate form, all that goes on.

[00:13:41] You have a consultation, all that. You meet. You start to develop rapport, of course, and, you know, meanwhile, what I like to do and how I like to teach my resources is I just, I prefer to have someone come in and be like, okay, so like, you know, I've met you for like [00:14:00] a couple of times. We've done the consult, we've done the first session.

[00:14:03] So you know, how was everything this week? They'll give me maybe something that may have been somewhat distressing. I'll say, okay. Let's take that experience now and let's learn a resource to help you emotionally regulate. That's what the resources are to help a person regulate themselves and manage their symptoms that they're experiencing.

[00:14:26] So let's learn that technique and apply it to what was distressing you this past And that's how the first few sessions go, right? They come in and I'm like, okay, so did you practice your technique? Yes. Or no. Okay. How did that go? Great. And then they may tell me some other thing that might be bothering them or whatever.

[00:14:48] And then we learn the next technique and apply it to regulating that experience. They get the experience with me, not just learning how to do the technique, but this is how I regulate. This is what it looks like. [00:15:00] I'm there to guide them. So that goes on, like I said, for the first you know, depends four or five sessions and then we get into the other phases of EMDR, but a person has, there's a readiness, you know, that has to be assessed.

[00:15:16] There's other assessments that have to go on. So, dissociation has to be assessed and other things that might be pertinent to other person's mental health. So that can include outside kinds of assessments, like, for depression or PTSD or whatever. And then once all that prep and readiness is, is done, then, like I said, we start the, the processing.

[00:15:35] And so what I find is that once we start identifying the traumatic memory that we start with, each memory can take a couple of sessions to process. And then you move on to the next memory, so on and so forth. It could take a few moments to explain like that, but there's, it's quite a big [00:16:00] technique where you, the identifying process of of like, you know, basically you have memory networks and yeah, these channels, I should say, like, you know, you have channels in your memory, right?

[00:16:20] And it's very difficult to sort of just sort of explain this way without like, cause it's a big conversation, but you would have, you know, for example, if someone went through a trauma and they felt like they weren't good enough, and they believe that. At the helm of every trauma is a belief about oneself that you take away.

[00:16:40] So, you know, that, that isn't true. That's illogical. That doesn't even make sense why you would make that about you. But that's trauma. So perhaps say, for example, a child went through separation, divorce. they feel not good enough. Well, that's what I would call a channel in your memory network. And there's probably a bunch of other [00:17:00] little memories that are connected to the very first time that that person ever felt that they weren't good enough.

[00:17:07] And the gorgeousness of this technique is that you don't have to remember all those memories.

[00:17:15] Amy: Yeah. And the reason I was shaking my head just then is because as you're, you know, kind of saying this and thinking just right from birth, we're impacted by so much.

[00:17:22] Nancy: Oh yeah, we are. We have mental injuries, just like right from birth, we have physical injuries.

[00:17:29] We have mental injuries and they show up as trauma and they get triggered because they're not resolved and not treated. Just like if you had an injury in your body that wasn't treated. It didn't show up through your lives. No different, right? Except you can't see these. But EMDR helps you see it and develop a network and apply the same principles.

[00:17:50] So you start to knock them out. Yeah, right. And you change those beliefs about yourself as a result.

[00:17:57] Amy: And so, I mean, you know, you mentioned anyone [00:18:00] suffering PTSD or depression and you know, I guess kind of all those when people think mental illness, you know, they think these big kind of bigger issues that people might have.

[00:18:14] I mean, would, would EMDR therapy also You know, someone who's lacking self confidence or is a generally happy person, but is afraid to, I don't know, maybe experiencing some social anxiety or, you know, not that it's overwhelmingly debilitating, but an awkwardness or a fear of moving on to a new career or making new friends.

[00:18:39] And I don't want to, I'm not trying to minimize those feelings by saying they're Not as severe as depression by any means. I guess I'm just trying to gather information on the broadness of what EMDR can Can do for why somebody would would come and see you you or anybody else for EMDR therapy

[00:18:59] Nancy: [00:19:00] Yeah, and like that's a really good point because I was actually thinking about this earlier today when I was doing my work Was that you know?

[00:19:08] another beautiful thing about EMDR is that it can recognize that You know, mental health concerns exist across a spectrum and you don't need to necessarily be going through like what's considered atypical or abnormal, which would put you in a diagnostic category. Mm hmm. There's a whole lot of other mental suffering that can go on that's outside of diagnostic category and It could, that's, that's the, that's what the resourcing and learning those techniques to help a person manage the symptoms that they experience, like say anxious feelings or confidence, self esteem.

[00:19:57] That's what the, [00:20:00] the first, I call it chapter, it's phases one and two can help people with. And it's interesting, you said. self confidence because I find that as when people are able to feel stress or anxiety or go through their symptoms and they learn these techniques and they apply these techniques to those moments, you start to Like, move through those difficult experiences, and you did that.

[00:20:36] Your brain and your body can do that. Sure, I taught you how to do it, but I can't make your brain and body do that. You're doing that, and that gives a person confidence and empowerment. Like, I can control this dread that I wake up with in the morning. That's not enough to put me in a category of, I'm like, depressed somewhere, but no, I don't have all the other symptoms.[00:21:00]

[00:21:00] But I just experienced imposter syndrome, maybe yeah, whatever right like, you know, like, I don't know I we all go through that in in this kind of career. So those techniques are there to help a person Emotionally regulate and you don't have to have a mental health diagnosis To benefit from that you may not want to move forward and do The rest of the phases of EMDR and unpack trauma.

[00:21:31] I think everybody can benefit from that but You could literally get a lot of benefit from phases 1 2 those resources It's not the therapy, but the resources, the skills. That's a great question. That's a great point. Great question. Yeah.

[00:21:46] Amy: And so anyone who is going through, you know, and wants to do all the phases, wants to complete all, all eight phases of the process, is it, and I mean, this could be client dependent, but is it a once a week [00:22:00] thing?

[00:22:00] Do they? come in once a month? Is it up to them? Or what are, you know, where are best results seen? And I guess my follow up to that is, is there homework? You know, are they going home and then also doing things? It's like physiotherapy, you know, you go, you get your exercises, and then you have to go home and you have to do them.

[00:22:17] And they know if you're not doing them, right? It's obvious. I love

[00:22:20] Nancy: this. I love this. These are great questions. So, like, you'd never say you didn't know much about AVR because these questions are just like, yes, my brain is like, yes. So, like, they're, one of the big, one of the big things at EMDR, people who are experts in this field or do this, are, they tout that there's no homework.

[00:22:42] They help a person establish routine. Now, if someone wants to look at that, like, that's homework, so be it, but it is not your typical, You know, I'm going to write this down for you on a card and take your homework and go home and practice it. Write your letter to your ex partner and we're going to do this [00:23:00] and certainly not you know, make fun of that kind of intervention, but it's not the same because this is not talk therapy.

[00:23:08] We are here to condition your nervous system. I tell my clients, you're coming to the mental gym when you see me, we are going to work out in your mind and you will get gains. By regulating after you talk about this hard stuff. So you do the techniques with me in session And then I encourage you and I'm sure other EMDR therapists do this too, to start to set up a routine Where you are practicing your techniques in the morning In the nighttime and whenever you're feeling stressed or triggered, distressed, right?

[00:23:45] So that's essentially what quote unquote, you could arguably say is homework, but it is not, you know, homework now when people come back to me session by session, which [00:24:00] usually goes to answer your other part of your question is client dependent. You can come every week. I like to say every two weeks.

[00:24:08] Now, there are clients whom I have had to see every week due to the level of distress. And the nature of what they're going through, and maybe they have the resources, they can do it. But the literature says that you can still feel the impact or the effectiveness of EMDR therapy. If you come up as long as every three weeks, but after once every three weeks, it doesn't show itself to be as effective.

[00:24:34] So anything, you know, within that timeframe from one to three weeks. But yeah, so, but when people come in, of course I do an assessment. So what is different? What has changed since the last time? Have you been due? Have you been practicing the regulation techniques? And they all know because I tell them, okay, we're going to have the same questions every time.

[00:24:53] It could be just so you know. Okay. And they'll be like halfway through their last, you know, until [00:25:00] the next time they're like, Oh God, I didn't do it. And they're like, Hey, look, this is not about a plus plus student. This is about. Integrating it into your life, and that's a process. So,

[00:25:11] Amy: I suppose instead of homework, it's about building new habits.

[00:25:14] Nancy: Yeah. We say. Yeah. You're shaping your lifestyle. You're, you're learning how to shape your nervous system, quite literally, to help you stay resilient against those triggers that will come upon you, because we can't stop the triggers from happening. Yeah. But. What ends up happening is our responses are completely different because that dysregulated nervous system, that material is processed for being processed.

[00:25:46] So it's, it's not dysregulated, right? As much.

[00:25:54] Amy: Yeah. And then you I'm curious now about what, what goes on in the sessions. You were moving your [00:26:00] fingers back and forth and I guess an individual is following that and that's the eye movement and correct me if I'm wrong, but what else is there?

[00:26:09] Nancy: Yeah.

[00:26:09] Great. Great question. So like this was, so I should back it up a tiny peck. So this, what I'm doing, I'm getting it out of the way cause like essentially I'd be like this if I'm doing virtual, right? And so this is, that's called the bilateral stimulation, and that is the mechanism by which the brain can process the traumatic material.

[00:26:37] And

[00:26:37] Amy: I've seen, sorry, just before you go on I've seen um, a lot come up recently about vagus nerve stimulation. And that's moving the eyes as far as what I've seen anyway. Is it the same sort of idea or is it stimulating the vagus nerve or is it completely unrelated?

[00:26:56] Nancy: I think it, well, to be honest with you, I would have to look [00:27:00] into it a little bit more, but I do like, it would not surprise me if it was because the vagus nerve is connected to your central nervous system.

[00:27:09] Yeah. Right. Right. So bilateral stimulation through You know, creating a pathway to engage both hemispheres of the brain, the right side and the left side about a distressing event and helping that brain process that and understand it and therefore let it go and henceforth become regulated through your nervous system, right?

[00:27:32] Like, that involves your vagus nerve. Okay. So, because your nervous system, of course, is everywhere. This bilateral stimulation stuff, you can do finger movements. That's the gold standard. Some people can't hold dual attention. They, what I mean by that is have a hard time following fingers and connecting to the material.

[00:27:53] In their mind at the same time, that could be for so many reasons. So,

[00:27:58] Amy: so does this mean that you're [00:28:00] speaking to them while they're following?

[00:28:02] Nancy: this, this movement, like I said, people, some people can't.

[00:28:07] maintain that dual attention for many, many reasons. It could be because they have processing issues outside of trauma. Maybe, you know, they have, yeah, sensory processing issues. It could be that they dissociate. So that's a big one. When that happens. I say, don't fret. We will get the bilateral stimulation for you.

[00:28:30] Don't worry about it. There's lots of ways we can do this. So you can tap because you're engaging both sides of your body and that, that creates that, that connection between the, the two hemispheres of the brain. You can also have a light bar to follow. I'm thinking about getting a light bar simply because my arm gets pretty tired after all this.

[00:28:54] Yeah, certainly. There are, there are paddles and you hold them and they have like one in each hand and [00:29:00] they have buzz buzzers kind of and they vibrate in your hands. So that engages both sides of your brain. So there's lots of different techniques and essentially. Yeah, so this is, because when we're dysregulated, we're thinking about trauma or we're triggered.

[00:29:20] Our sympathetic nervous system, the branch off your central nervous system, which is the fight or flight. part of your nervous system, the part of your nervous systems that says, alert, there's danger, that gets lit up, your, your central nervous system in your brain, I speak to my clients about it this way, becomes literally like a Christmas tree that is lit up so bright you can't even look at it, it's uncomfortable, and you don't know where the light switch is, oh my gosh, turn this off, so this and the resources themselves, That I teach people is a hack into your parasympathetic, sympathetic nervous system, [00:30:00] which is the rest and digest part of your nervous system that controls all the involuntary movements in your body, breathing, digestion, heartbeat, so on and so forth, and it calms your nervous system because it, it's the right stimulation.

[00:30:16] That your brain and body needs to be able to soothe. Right. It's Incredible stuff. Yeah, it's a lot of neuroscience too. It could go on a better, you know more and more, but that's the gist Right. And so included in that is the vagus nerve.

[00:30:34] Amy: You mentioned dissociation a couple of times and that you need to kind of evaluate for that So, can you explain to myself and anybody listening?

[00:30:41] What is dissociation?

[00:30:43] Nancy: That's a very good question. So, I'm full of them. I'll

[00:30:47] Amy: keep you on your toes.

[00:30:49] Nancy: I love it. This is my favorite. Yeah, so yeah, dissociation is a trauma response. If you want to put it blunt and you want to have a real clear understanding what that [00:31:00] is, dissociation is a trauma response.

[00:31:04] It's a defense mechanism because whatever you're experiencing in that moment, you know, is too much. For your nervous system to process it's either too much at that time or it's too much for too long

[00:31:22] Amy: So is it somebody kind of shutting down and going within or?

[00:31:26] Nancy: That's one way how it's expressed for sure.

[00:31:29] You know, you see people and like I mean the general population dissociates I want to be clear. We all dissociate. There are some mental health conditions that you wouldn't you'd be surprised, are, involve dissociation more than some psychiatric mental health conditions. So people with PTSD dissociate more than people with schizophrenia.

[00:31:50] Okay. Hey, how could that be? Well, it is because dissociation is a major piece of the traumatized brain. So. It's self protection, I [00:32:00] suppose, is it? It is, because you would not be able to withstand the intensity of that difficult experience. For that long and of course if you're like if this trauma is happening as a child You don't even have the mental faculties.

[00:32:14] You don't even have a breath. Your brain is not done to even I mean You're you're really unable to process what's happening. So children often do dissociate because You know, when you're a kid, what kind of, what kind of choices do you have? Like you, you often can't fight back. Yeah. You can't run away. So dissociation is what people do.

[00:32:35] And you've heard this said, maybe when there's no other escape, you go to a different place and that's protective. And if that didn't, if you're, this would not be a function of our human body and brain, if it didn't help us get to this day. October 11th, 2023. It would not be here. Wouldn't be here. So, it is protective.

[00:32:57] It is necessary. It's a survival [00:33:00] technique. However, what happens is when we get traumatized, your body is going to keep thinking that that's happening. Like, the threat didn't go away. And your mind is like, well, you know, I know that I'm in a different scenario. Like, it's 20 years later. Da da da. Chill. Body.

[00:33:18] Brain. But your body's like. When it gets a trigger, it thinks it's happening. It's reliving the experience. So you have very asynchronistic experiences going on. And one of those experiences can be the dissociation. So I find that when people. are initially triggered. Lots of times, they're okay for a little bit hanging out in that distress.

[00:33:43] But if we don't intervene with, you know, therapy, you're in therapy and recognize when someone is dissociating, if you don't intervene and help them become more present in their body, identify what's going on, so on and so forth. Or if they're outside of therapy and they're triggered [00:34:00] and they don't notice, which is normal, very normal.

[00:34:03] And what ends up happening is that over a period of Dissociate because you just can't hang out in that zone for too long, that distress, right? So we check out, we can be checked out for a long period of time, right? But yeah, like people withdraw, they check out in session, sometimes I'll see eyes glazing over, like um, slowed speech delayed responses.

[00:34:33] Sort of like someone feeling looking like they're pretty preoccupied or vacant. Yeah, you know, so but that's a fly Sorry Is that it's a normal part of working with trauma and I always because some people get some Reactions to the fact that they aren't associating Maybe they're just realizing that they dissociate because they learn that in therapy.

[00:34:57] My

[00:34:58] Amy: next question, do they realize that [00:35:00] that's something that they do? Or is it, is it a state that you're unaware of?

[00:35:05] Nancy: For a lot of people, they don't realize that that's what they're doing. Yeah, well, and this is why I do this assessment that assesses how much a person is dissociating every day. Because that's protective to know that you dissociate, even though it's, it's can be a shocking and no scary thing.

[00:35:25] Yeah, certainly, you know, it's better to know that than not to know.

[00:35:29] Amy: Yeah, I suppose once you know, you can then begin working through it. Absolutely, which is a journey in itself. And so is this something once an individual completes, you know, their their phases of therapy of EMDR therapy, are they then done?

[00:35:47] Is it over? Do is it, you know, you come back to kind of maintain or is it, you know, what's what's the scenario afterwards?

[00:35:55] Nancy: That's a really good question. And I find so like people will, [00:36:00] you know, work through their trauma. Some people want to maintain their mental health. So we might switch modalities because I don't just do EMDR.

[00:36:10] I do a lot of alternative healing as well, and I like to weave that in when it's suitable for the clients. Some clients I just do EMDR work. I love that. There's no preference. There's no judgment. You know, I don't, it's not, that's not my agenda. It's what a person needs. So if they are a mind that thrives in the EMDR and I don't sense there's a spiritual dimension to their healing journey, I don't go there.

[00:36:40] When I got people who are. Clearly showing signs. They may know that they may not know and of course to let the work may take on a broader lens And I bring in spiritual Healing and expansion in that because you are

[00:36:55] Amy: you're a certified counselor an EMDR Therapist you're a [00:37:00] naturopath.

[00:37:00] Nancy: I believe yes naturopathic Counselor and so what got me that title is my work with as a shamanic practitioner Right.

[00:37:09] Yeah, so that's where I do my spiritual work. So sometimes I'll, I'll focus on when the trauma is nice and, you know, cooked, it's, it's people are finding lots of relief. They're starting to make life changes that are. Changes that perhaps they've needed to make for many years, but just could not find themselves to make those changes because trauma was blocking their Natural strengths and abilities to create change and evolve in their life.

[00:37:38] That's what trauma does, what pain does. That's all blasted out. They're able to do these things. Oh my goodness. They start to open up. I find a lot of people start to open up spiritually. So Hey, Hey, did you know I'm also a shamanic practitioner? I can help with that, right? And some people don't realize that until then, even though I do like to introduce it the fact that I do that work [00:38:00] and if they're, if they're up for that, wonderful, if they're not fine, maybe they have their own spiritual systems.

[00:38:05] Wonderful. If you need my assistance, I'll help you with that. So we, we do work in that domain, right? So, but. Yeah, so I guess it depends on the client and what they're, what they're looking for, what their goals are, and if my services can fit that need. Basically. Because some people just feel better and they say, thank you.

[00:38:31] And they go on. And I'm very proud of that. Yeah, of

[00:38:34] Amy: course. So how would, or how do clients say that the EMDR has improved their lives? You know, what have you found that, you know, I presume that they're coming back and saying to you, this has changed and this is what the results I've seen. So what are some of those?

[00:38:52] Nancy: So some of the clients, like right away, I mean people feel immediate alleviation of symptoms lots [00:39:00] of times in the first session because they learn a technique in the first session. So I hear, wow, I haven't felt that relaxed I don't know how long. Like Nancy, how could I be talking about difficult stuff and now be like feeling amazing.

[00:39:14] Hmm, right. So, you know, I'm like, well you can do that. This is what you can do. Right. So I see it in the first session, of course, I see it in the first chapter, like phases one and two, as we're doing all the prep work and they're getting used to regulating their system and conditions. Then when we start to do the trauma processing work, I hear people, yeah, making changes, like becoming aware of being triggered, stepping in with their resources and that enables them to respond differently to.

[00:39:47] Amy: So, would that be, you know, a decrease, say, in either going into this dissociative state or an emotional outburst? Are those the sorts of

[00:39:57] Nancy: differences that there? Yeah. So, your [00:40:00] mood becomes more stable. That's one of the questions I ask in the assessment phase of every beginning prep session, asking about mood.

[00:40:06] So, mood stabilizes. Unhealthy coping mechanisms decrease. You don't need them, they find, because there are more regulated improvements in the relationships. Sometimes, though, unexpectedly, there may be Unequilibrium, or disequilibrium in their relationships because they're saying no where they normally wouldn't.

[00:40:33] Yeah. Because they're standing up for themselves, they've got more self esteem, they have more confidence to say no. So sometimes those changes are, well, leaving my partner, but now not always. Which

[00:40:47] Amy: isn't necessarily negative as people

[00:40:48] Nancy: grow. No, it's not right. Maybe some people, part of their issue is that they're stuck in a relationship that doesn't, it's not healthy for them.

[00:40:56] Yeah. So, but that's some of the stuff. And then I see people have [00:41:00] encouraged to maybe go back to school. I see that a lot. I see people with chronic pain. Tell me that they have less pain. Wow. That gives them better functioning. More patience for their children. I hear that a lot. More patience for their children.

[00:41:18] And then I hear stuff like Um, you know, I can sleep better. I hear that a lot. And I've got clients on my caseload that I've had in my caseload before I ever did EMDR therapy. And they're the ones that I'm very interested in as well, hearing what they have to say, because they know what the difference is, like, you know, from their lived experience in sessions, from having talk therapy.

[00:41:47] And then this, this EMDR therapy and they're like, Nancy, I don't know what this stuff is, but I don't know how it works. It's a mystery to me and it's crazy stuff, but it's weird, but it works. Yeah. [00:42:00] Like hey, that's you know, and it's a wonderful thing to have confidence as a therapist. So just know like you do this This will help you.

[00:42:08] This is the results. Yeah. Gosh, it's so good because you know, this must be very rewarding. It is. You're like you're dancing in the gray all the time. Yeah. Right? But I mean, yes, it takes the practice that you need to do on your own with your regulation techniques. It can be difficult to come to the session and be like today.

[00:42:32] I'm gonna feel that stuff.

[00:42:35] Amy: Do you find people are bringing their children for sessions or do you not work with children?

[00:42:40] Nancy: Yeah. Well, I work with kids. I work with, well, not kids, kids. I work with youth as young as 11. Okay. But yes, certainly I do work with. What a great

[00:42:49] Amy: resource to have going through your teen

[00:42:51] Nancy: years.

[00:42:52] Imagine, like, regulation around such Oh my gosh,

[00:42:57] Amy: I'm just thinking back to high school. [00:43:00] If every one of the kids in my high school, including myself, had access to this, I tell you what, it'd be a different environment. Wouldn't

[00:43:06] Nancy: it? Yeah. Think about it, right? And wow, when I was in high school, there was no Google.

[00:43:12] Yeah.

[00:43:13] Amy: You

[00:43:13] Nancy: know, like. Yeah. It's a different situation right now with social media, I mean, my goodness, and the effects that that has had on on developing brains and all that. So, yeah, it would be, it's, it's really good for, for that population.

[00:43:27] Amy: Yeah. And then I don't want to keep you too much longer. I know you're getting late there, but I do want to ask.

[00:43:33] Is this something that you can do online? You know, if it's this visual,

[00:43:37] Nancy: yeah, yes. So you know, I say client preference. If you are a person that wants to come in person, meet me once or twice and try out the in person sessions and then bridge your way into virtual. So be it. That's great. I do live in rural ish Newfoundland. And so getting to my office, you know, I have limited [00:44:00] hours. I'm sure there are

[00:44:01] Amy: some listeners who's thinking, what part of Newfoundland is not rural?

[00:44:04] Nancy: Exactly right. But yeah, there is a part that is kind of not rural. A couple parts, but anyhow. So, you know, that could be a barrier, but I do have people drive to to quite a distance to come and it's sure I mean, I love in person therapy, but when it comes to the effectiveness of the EMDR, there is no difference As long as you can have a suitable space to do your therapy.

[00:44:31] I have people of course who don't feel safe at home Yeah, certainly they they're like, okay, I'll do a session with you virtually. I'm like great and then where I'm in Car, I'm like, oh my goodness. Yeah. Yeah, maybe you should come in next time, right? You really need a space that bad. So so as long as you got that space And you can keep it distraction free because we all know how it could be when you're doing virtual work with, you know, notifications pinging [00:45:00] everywhere.

[00:45:00] Yeah. Close out your Facebooks and all that kind of stuff. To be honest, and when we're doing mobile, like I try to maximize the width of the screen so I get people to turn their, their screen sideways and that gives them longer, you know, you can get more of the BLS there. It's great. And people can be comfortable if it's bad weather in Newfoundland, you know, that happens just at the drop of a hat, say, you know, I don't have transportation.

[00:45:29] It's, it's, I don't have childcare. It's stormy out. I've got your time booked. It does, it does matter how I see you, of course, but your time is booked, whether you're in person with me or, or virtual. I'm working with you.

[00:45:45] Amy: Yeah, perfect. Well, thank you very much. I learned a lot today.

[00:45:48] Nancy: Oh, I'm so glad.

[00:45:50] You know, I have a healthy obsession with EMDR. So I could talk about it all the live long day.

[00:45:57] Amy: I love it. Yeah. No, it's been very informative. [00:46:00] And I would wonder if we had listeners who had questions, could we say, have them post in the comments or questions and I feed them back to you? Is that something we can do?

[00:46:09] Nancy: Absolutely. That's a great way to do it for me. Yeah.

[00:46:13] Amy: And then if anyone was interested in a session or learning more, I mean, do you have resources on your website for people to kind of have a look at that I could link or how could we get some more information in front of them?

[00:46:25] Nancy: Okay. Cause my website is still being worked on.

[00:46:29] It's being developed. So it's not really, um, I would say ready for that yet. Yeah, but I do have some resources that I don't know if, if they could email me if they would like, and I could send them those resources, or we could do it where I send you those resources. You can post this. Yeah. Why don't we

[00:46:49] Amy: do that?

[00:46:50] So anyone listening, what we'll do, if you have questions for Nancy or for me just Comment on the video or on the audio depending on how [00:47:00] you're listening and I'll feed those across to Nancy and I'll get all the resources from Nancy and I'll provide those in the descriptions of the videos so you have access to them and there's not too much legwork for anyone involved in that one.

[00:47:12] Nancy: Yeah, yeah, that's great. Cool. Well,

[00:47:14] Amy: Nancy, thank you very much for your time. I would. I'd love to continue this conversation sometime. I've taken some notes. I have things to reflect on. So I really appreciate it. And I hope you have a lovely night.

[00:47:27] Nancy: Oh, thank you so much. And what a pleasure. Like again, I get fired up about this and you know, I love to tell people about this and, and I wish everybody very well and I hope you have a good rest of your day.

[00:47:40] Morning, evening, wherever you are in the world. Absolutely. And yeah. So I hope you learned something. I

[00:47:48] Amy: did. I'm sure everyone will. Thank you so much for listening, everyone. If you enjoyed the episode today, I would appreciate it if you'd hit like and subscribe and again, all the resources in the description and [00:48:00] feel free to look Nancy up.

[00:48:01] Again, it's Blackbird Holistic Counseling and I'm sure she'd love to hear from you. Thanks everyone. Until next time.

[00:48:08] Thanks for joining me on the Holistic Health Show. If you enjoyed the episode, subscribe now and get ready to embark on an incredible journey toward holistic wellness. Until next time, be well and stay holistic.

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What I used to record this episode

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen

Wireless Charger

Rode Mic

Mic Cable

WiFi plug

Ring light

Audio Cable




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