Marital conflict, separation, dissolution and court proceedings can be stressful and even traumatic. The arguments, verbal attacks, grief and feelings of loss or betrayal can be devastating. The result of that trauma, if not resolved, is often anxiety, overt stress, and resistance to interactions with one’s former spouse that trigger extreme anxiety and defensiveness. When there are children involved, interacting with one’s ex is necessary, but can be the source of ongoing feelings of traumatization, stress and anxiety, in turn creating more conflict, further escalating the negative feelings. None of these feelings and behaviors are conducive to productive co-parenting or communication, not to mention personal health and wellbeing. However, EMDR can help.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a well researched and established technique that combines imagery, mindfulness, and cognitive techniques to meet the client’s treatment needs. EMDR therapy is often used in trauma counseling, the treatment of anxiety, and in the treatment of a number of other issues. The process of doing EMDR involves focus on a traumatic or disturbing memory while doing back and forth eye movements, listening to alternating tones, and/or feeling alternating vibrations in your hands. This process enables the brain to resolve emotional trauma and gain insight into the circumstance in a way that is often more effective than traditional talk therapy.
What can EMDR mean for someone struggling with divorce or post-divorce conflict?
- It can help to facilitate trauma processing.
- It can reduce undesirable feelings and responses to the triggers of the anxiety.
- It can help to improve one’s ability to maintain a more rational, productive and un-emotional mindset when interacting with their former partner.
- It can help to reduce anxiety.
- It can help to improve an overall sense of well-being.
In a nutshell, the trauma and bad feelings resulting from divorce can fuel conflict and ongoing resentment. By treating the trauma with EMDR, there is tremendous potential to change the dynamic of the interactions between former partners, and to reclaim a life of peace and dignity following divorce.
Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC http://www.thcounseling.com