EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine are Essential for Trauma Therapy

Black Woman healing from trauma | Pikesville, MD

A therapy practice is very much an extension of the owner. As the owner of Revitalizing Inner Self Essence (R.I.S.E.) in Baltimore, MD, I continue to spend intentional time brainstorming how to ensure the practice remains aligned with who I am. Most importantly to me, working with folks in a holistic way that fosters healing is completely non-negotiable. In reflecting on this importance, a major focus at Revitalizing Inner Self Essence is integrative healing.

To be clear, not just any type of integrative healing,  but healing that is non-oppressive and has been proven to be effective. Because of this importance, I did two things: 1. Reviewed skills and techniques that I have found effective and 2. Became a student. Both of these things help me stay grounded, focused, and competent as a trauma therapist. They both have also taught me a great deal by leading me towards a specific healing path as a therapist. Where did this path lead me?  To receive training in EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine.

Image of a digital illustration of a brain with a black and white half and a colorful half. This image depicts the potential of EMDR therapy in Baltimore, MD to help individuals overcome trauma. Meet with an EMDR therapist in Baltimore, MD today. | 21204 | 21286 | 21044

Illustration by Troy Howard for exclusive use at R.I.S.E MD

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for treating trauma. EMDR was discovered by Francine Shapiro, a Ph.D. psychology student in the spring of 1987. One day, she noticed that she felt better after taking a walk and looking left to right when worrisome thoughts came to her mind. After this discovery, she began her research, then developed this treatment. EMDR therapy is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates aspects of left and right eye movement to heal painful memories. It helps lessen the impact of trauma on the mind, spirit, heart, and body.

What is Mind-Body Medicine?

As explained by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Mind-Body approaches use the conscious mind to impact the work of the brain and the rest of the body. These techniques exert their effects on the hypothalamus or the “switching station” in the brain. The hypothalamus controls the autonomic nervous system, which controls heart rate, and blood pressure. Additionally, it controls the endocrine gland and the nervous system. But what am I saying here?

So, your brain tells your body how to react. What your brain tells your body to do in situations is based on its assessment of danger. And when you’ve experienced trauma, your brain sometimes mistakes things as dangerous. Mind-Body Medicine techniques target the parts of your body and brain where you experience trauma to help you heal and assess danger more accurately.

Image of a woman standing on a log and practicing a yoga pose. This image represents what someone may look like practicing mind-body medicine techniques learned from a holistic therapist in Baltimore, MD. 21204 | 21286 | 21044

Photo by bodybendyoga on nappy.co

Why Use EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine together?

Both EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine are integrative approaches to foster healing. As a trauma therapist, I know that talk therapy is only one way to foster healing. I also know that your body has an innate ability to remember pain and create necessary coping skills in order to survive. The truth is, we cannot always unpack these memories and traumatic experiences through talk therapy alone. If you’ve ever struggled to find the right words to describe a feeling, then you know that talking isn’t always the answer. Using integrative approaches allows your body to fully process trauma by accessing various parts of your brain, along with targeting memories and observing body responses.

EMDR helps you revisit painful memories, notice how they activate your body, and then desensitize your body’s response. Mind-Body Medicine skills help you process your feelings and thoughts in healthy ways outside of therapy. In my opinion, EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine skills are an extension of one another. When one decides to use EMDR, you’re using techniques that stimulate the mind in order to desensitize the response your body has to trauma. When one decides to use Mind-Body Medicine skills, you’re using skills that incorporate movement and relax your nervous system.

As a Black female, it’s important for me to note that for Black folk, holistic healing is not a new concept. For centuries, our ancestors have used Mind-Body medicine skills like meditation, prayer, music, movement, herbalism, and communing with nature for healing. This was way before the term Mind-Body Medicine was created. And, you know why we’ve used these methods for centuries? Because they work. As a Black person, when you choose to engage in these practices at my Baltimore, MD-based therapy practice, you also choose to honor your ancestral healing methods.

EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine at R.I.S.E.

At R.I.S.E., it is our practice to begin trauma therapy by developing what we therapists call, rapport. This means that we pace the work and begin by using talk therapy to develop a foundation for our work together. At R.I.S.E., we are intentional about beginning the work in this way to allow trust to develop.After the rapport building phase, we begin teaching Mind-Body Medicine and EMDR techniques as coping skills. Next, folks decide if they want to formally begin EMDR. If so, we begin the standardized protocol. If not, we will continue using both methods as needed on your healing journey. At R.I.S.E, we combine these techniques to calm your nervous system and help you feel safe. Let’s be real – safety and trust are a big deal. Plus, not only do we teach these tools, but we also provide you with worksheets to be able to continue the practices at home.

We combine these techniques because we understand that different situations call for different solutions. Never again do we want you to feel like you don’t know how to take care of yourself. It is our hope that you have a variety of solutions to choose from, should you need support.

Trauma Therapy in Baltimore, MD Can Help

Image of a woman smiling wide at the beach. This image illustrates how someone may feel after meeting with a holistic therapist in Baltimore, MD for EMDR therapy and mind-body medicine therapy. | Image of a woman standing on a log and practicing a yoga pose. This image represents what someone may look like practicing mind-body medicine techniques learned from a holistic therapist in Baltimore, MD. 21204 | 21286 | 21044

Photo by sheenalashay on Nappy.co

As a trauma therapist at my Baltimore, MD counseling practice, I have worked with many individuals who have experienced trauma. Speaking about hurtful experiences can be very difficult. And it can be challenging to consider starting integrative and holistic techniques, like EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine skills. But, I will say that once you do, you’ll be glad you did.

Trauma therapy can help you acknowledge the weight you’ve been carrying. Then, together we’ll work to identify ways to use holistic skills on your healing journey. Throughout our work together, we will find ways for you to honor yourself, forgive yourself, and forgive others. And by reaching out for support and taking care of yourself, you’re already making strides in the right direction. Make the first step to get started with trauma therapy in Pikesville, MD.

  1. Contact me here with questions about counseling
  2. No questions and ready to get started with therapy? Schedule a consultation now.
  3. Start therapy to heal your heart and reconnect with yourself.

Other Therapy Services at Revitalizing Inner Self Essence

I know that getting started with therapy can be intimidating. But I want to assure you that as a Black queer therapist, I am dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming environment for you to process trauma and reconnect with yourself and your life. At my Baltimore-area practice, I specialize in helping survivors of domestic violence and homicide overcome trauma. If you have further questions about me or my practice, please contact me.

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