Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome / Disorder (PTSS / PTSD)

Each one of us may have negative or traumatic experiences from time to time, but when a trauma takes over your life or gets in the way of you being able to enjoy life to the full then this is more likely to be what psychologists call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS). A person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will mentally replay the trauma repeatedly, will start to worry about it unduly, may start to feel tense and might even start to avoid people or places just to avoid being reminded of the traumatic experience. With PTSD or PTSS this effect will go from bad to worse and over time what may have begun as just a bad experience becomes traumatic and can eventually lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the end the trauma will negatively influence and take over your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Psychology Practice Pizarro in Voorburg is able to offer you a very effective and relatively straight forward treatment that can substantially reduce the effect both large or small traumas. The treatment we use for this is Eye Movement Desensitization en Reprocessing or EMDR therapy. During EMDR therapy you will visualize the traumatic experience and we will talk about it briefly, after which you will be instructed to follow my finger with your eyes in a way specific to the EMDR therapy. This seemingly simple action has a profound effect on how the trauma is perceived. EMDR has been proven to work on anyone and there is no good or bad way to do it, nor does it require any special skills from the patient suffering with PTSD. For clients with eye problems or those who have epilepsy EMDR can also be done using sounds through a headset. Even for clients with both hearing and sight difficulties EMDR can be applied by touching the backs of their hands.

It usually takes just a single or a few EMDR sessions to reduce the intensity of the trauma. The memory of it remains, but with less negative connotations and this will reduce the influence of the trauma on your day to day life. We are all equipped with the ability to heal unprocessed traumatic memories through EMDR. Although the exact mechanism by which EMDR achieves its results was unclear until very recently, EMDR has been scientifically proven to be effective and is being applied around the world and across cultures. A recent study by researcher Linda de Voogd of Radboudumc now provides an insight into this mechanism. During her PhD research she looked the influence of simple eye movements on brain activity at rest. She discovered that eye movement causes suppressing signals to be sent to the amygdala, an area of the brain largely responsible for memory storage. By suppressing the amygdala, while specific memories are retrieved these memories in turn will be suppressed. Large scale scientific research has further shown that EMDR in combination with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most effective way to treat PTSD or trauma and is even more effective than currently available medication.