EMDR and Attachment Healing

Without the proper emotional safety with a therapist some may argue EMDR could be more harmful than helpful! Having a therapist who understands the need for pacing your trauma work and trust is imperative to your healing. This is why at MIDÉ we focus on using an attachment based EMDR. So, what does this mean?

Attachment-Focused Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (AF-EMDR) uses a modified protocol for EMDR that focuses on the attachments people form with a parental figure during childhood. Dr. Laurel Parnell created AF-EMDR after integrating the latest research on attachment theory and the use of EMDR. AF-EMDR addresses the effects of neglect and abuse on the developing brain and how it manifests in various attachment styles. The model intends to heal early attachment wounds. AF-EMDR is designed to heal relational trauma and it can especially help those who have insecure attachment styles and relational trauma. This type of trauma can include sexual or physical abuse, neglect, parental misattunement, betrayal or having parents with drug or alcohol abuse problems or mental illness.  

AF-EMDR incorporates an understanding that with developmental trauma the lack of safety, and security in childhood leads to adaptive strategies that can persist into adulthood, ultimately causing significant distress.  Using Resourcing, Tapping, Bilateral Stimulation, and visualization, trauma can be integrated and reprocessed so that it no longer has a profound negative effect on the present. With AF-EMDR, clients will visualize and internalize a peaceful place using their imagination. Often individuals with developmental trauma have never had a safe place so we use imagination to create one. Imagination can impact the brain in the same way as lived experience, thereby creating new neural pathways. Clients can return to this space whenever they need to during therapy and outside of sessions.   AF-EMDR also uses an imagined support team to assist the client. Through imagination, the support team can provide experiences that the client may not have had, or not have had enough of. With EMDR, a client will be exposed to bilateral stimulation through eye movement, sound, tapping or sensors, while exploring troubling memories. Using resourcing, clients will be able to add and deepen the ability to feel soothed, comforted, guided and protected. Because AF-EMDR can also help people gain a sense of internal regulation, interpersonal relationships can also be positively affected.   

Long story short, we take our time. We slowly get to know all parts of you and your system. You are unique and allowing time and trust to build will allow you to heal. That begins with Attachment safety!