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Have you found yourself relieving a past experience through memories and nightmares or within your body? Do you catch yourself overthinking or fixating on this experience in your daily life?

None of us are immune to being impacted by life. 

Life happens to us and around us. You have probably used the word “trauma” or heard the word used to refer to circumstances. Trauma is often a misunderstood word. 

In the world of trauma research, there is a distinction made between Big “T” trauma and little “t” traumas. We all have little “t” traumas that may happen on a more regular basis. But most of us also have a Big “T” trauma that has happened at some point in our lives. 

Big “T” trauma is an extraordinary and significant event that leaves you feeling powerless and out of control. This can include experiences such as neglect, major disaster, abuse, unexpected loss or diagnosis, or life-threatening situations.


A note here: Even witnesses or those who hear the recounting of an event (Example: those working in helping professions) also can vicariously experience the Big “T” trauma. 

Little “t” trauma is an event that produces distress and impacts us on a personal level to an extent that exceeds our ability to cope. These traumas aren’t often catastrophic, but they can overwhelm our systems and impact how we cope. These can include an interpersonal conflict or getting fired. 

glass jar with polaroid picture of an image that says "memories" inside of it on a table

When it comes to discussing trauma, it’s helpful to consider that how our bodies experience an event is based on the actual event and our perception of it. Meaning that if we perceive something was traumatic, often our body is going to respond like it was too. 

A hallmark of recognizing if something is traumatic is how we view the event. For example, seeing and feeling a past experience as if it’s happening right now often indicates that the experience was traumatic. 

None of us are immune to being impacted by life. 

One of the tools that our practice uses to support and help clients move forward from traumatic experiences is EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessed. (Gosh…that’s a mouthful, right? Which is why it’s referred to as EMDR most of the time.) 

The goal of EMDR is to help clients move through and reprocess events that have happened in their lives. The goal isn’t that you never think about it again or don’t wish that the event didn’t happen. Rather, the goal is that the impact of the event feels less disturbing and produces fewer regular reactions in our life.

I love how one of my clients described it. They said that prior to starting EMDR, the event/memory was like a piece of artwork that always needed to be on prominent display at the art gallery of images from their life. The event always dictated how the art was displayed and maybe took a front and center view. But then, as we utilized EMDR, the artwork piece didn’t need to be at the front of the gallery. The event was able to move down into the other hallways of life memories and snapshots. 

The event was still a part of the person's story; it changed them in ways that likely wouldn’t have come without that event. However, the event wasn’t one of the first things that others saw, or the client thought about anymore. 

None of us are immune to being impacted by life. I know I want the experience of not allowing certain events that have happened in my life to be front and center.

That’s where a process like EMDR and the presence of a peaceful therapist come in. The goal in the early phases of EMDR is to set up the process and build tools that help regulate your nervous system. The hope is that throughout reprocessing and in-between sessions, clients are able to contain, hold, and regulate their responses before they move through the steps of using the eye-movement. 

There are many ways and tools that EMDR can be performed. At Steady Hope Counseling, our therapists will work with you to find the ideal approach to help clients move forward from life events. 


If you want to learn more about EMDR therapy or connect with a therapist, check out our contact form to schedule a free, 15-minute consultation. 

Sad on Couch

Interested in starting EMDR therapy in Decatur, Ga?

Our team of trained therapists at Steady Hope Counseling will find the ideal approach to help you move forward. If you want to learn more about EMDR or connect with a therapist, schedule your free, 15-minute consultation today. 

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