Intrinsic to EMDR Therapy is a principle that states human beings have a biological instinct to heal. Dr. David Servan-Schreiber talked about this principle in his 2004 book, The Instinct to Heal: Curing Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy.
We’ve all seen our body’s instinct to heal in action right? Think about how your body repairs a minor injury, like a scratch, all on its own! If only healing every injury could be that simple! Unfortunately, many injuries overwhelm our body’s ability to heal or a complication arises that blocks our healing and that’s when we seek the help of a Medical Doctor, one who will treat the complication or remove the obstacles and get our body back on the healing track. I agree with Dr. Servan-Schreiber when he asserts that our mental health works the same way.
With that principle in mind, and if we were taught solid emotional regulation skills during childhood (experiencing very few adverse childhood experiences, commonly referred to as ACEs), then we are also innately designed to mentally heal from minor psychological and/or emotional difficulties; maybe with some “heart scars,” but generally speaking, with overall good mental health nonetheless. However, psychological complications and/or emotional obstacles can arise and block our healing process, and when that happens, we need to reach out to an experienced mental health professional to treat and/or remove them.
The following symptoms are just a few of the obstacles that can block your brain/body’s natural healing process:
- feelings of anxiety or panic,
- adverse childhood experiences (ACES),
- unresolved trauma or PTSD,
- feeling triggered by your children or having parenting difficulties,
- sleep difficulties,
- persistent feelings of dread or hopelessness,
- post-partum and other types of depression,
- pain without a discernable cause (aka medically unexplained symptoms),
- anger outbursts.
If you experience one or more of those symptoms, know there is help. You don’t have to suffer through it. Consider beginning therapy with a seasoned mental health professional who can assess whether EMDR is right for you.