Notes from Recent Courses Taken
December, 2011: When there are no words: Targeting early trauma held in implicit memory with EMDR
by Katie O'Shea, MS, LMHC
Katie O'Shea advised that the standard protocols for EMDR do not address pre-verbal childhood (implicit) memories. These early memories of abuse and neglect are emotionally stuck in an infant state-even though the person is now an adult! These early memories can overwhelm the adult when triggered. The adult does not usually connect their upset, anger, rage, with their early childhood experiences. This is not surprising since Katie O'Shea indicates there is usually no conscious memory before the age of about 3. You may be surprised to find out that what happens in your mother's womb is part of the early blueprint that sets the emotional patterns for your life!
Katie O'Shea's work is supported by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk who states that the body keeps score of what happens in your life. In addition, renowned Dr. Bruce Lipton writes that once the body has learned a pattern, it responds one million times faster than the pre-frontal cortex. This type of fast response is a life saver if you are driving down the freeway and someone cuts you off. It is not so good if you react in immediate anger if your partner or child triggers you into an old reactive pattern that you are not even consciously aware of because it was established either in the womb or before the age of 3. In early childhood trauma there is a little part of your Self that stays stuck in "trauma time" and the only way the brain can deal with the enormity of the emotions is to deny what is happening, or disconnect from the distress. The brain's defensive response becomes a pattern that can last a lifetime unless you decide to change your reactive patterns.
In therapy you will be able to follow the triggers of the patterns back into childhood and change them so that the old, unconscious reactive patterns of anger, rage, sadness, anxiety,--no longer "run the show" and cause problems in your adult life when interacting with your partner, children, and at work and play.