What’s with the paddles and a lava lamp?

Several close friends were instrumental in my healing. One person in particular took it upon herself to gently insist that I see a psychiatrist after the loss of my husband. Friends and family were concerned that I was suffering from PTSD due to the fact that I found my husband after he took his life in our home. I made an appointment with a wonderful psychiatrist with which I give much credit for helping my brain “bury” the replay of that scene. She helped me work through the experience with a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).

The EMDR Association defines it as an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. As EMDR is a mental health intervention, it should only be offered by properly trained and licensed mental health clinicians.

I recall that I was to look at what seemed to be a rectangular lava lamp with lights to begin the process but I became too dizzy. The other approach is to hold one little paddle in each hand. She would ask me to be silent and think about the traumatic memory for about 2 minutes. She would stop and we would talk about it. After several therapies I have not been haunted by the vision.

My lesson: I want to be open to the many ways one can heal from a traumatic event.

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