Francine Shapiro created eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). One day as she was walking and thinking, she noticed that her eyes were shifting back and forth, from left to right. As her eyes moved, she felt less negative emotion when remembering her distressing memories. She became curious and developed a therapy that combined eye movements with a cognitive component. She started to test her eye movement therapy on veterans. Her research was innovative and helpful for decreasing anxiety, symptoms of trauma and PTSD.
David Grand learned EMDR from Francine Shapiro and added a layer of creativity and innovation. For example, while doing EMDR, he noticed that people looked specifically in a particular direction. From there, he came up with Brainspotting. Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system and, therefore, can profoundly impact a person’s psychological, emotional, and physical well-being. The brainspotting therapist guides the client to activate and process their feelings, memories, anxieties and traumas using the direction of the clients’ eye gaze.
Francine Shapiro and David Grand were able to create these innovative therapies by being self-aware and aware of how others behave, think and feel. These therapies use the eyes to access the limbic system to decrease anxiety, trauma and suffering. They can be intense as sometimes reliving is a part of the healing process. After the sessions, you might need to use your creativity and innovation to ease emotional pain, decompress, and desensitize painful memories. Here are some things to consider to guide you towards using your creativity in healing
- Awareness of emotions – When we are on autopilot, we tend to push our needs and feelings to the side. What does anger, sadness, stress, and worry feel like in your body? What are some things that make you angry, sad, worried or stressed? What times of day are you more likely to feel these negative emotions? Are there certain people that you find yourself frustrated around? What does this feeling remind you of?
- Regulating the emotions – Now that you are aware of your feelings, how will you regulate yourself? Being able to handle your feelings means that you can function without lashing out, raging, becoming overly depressed or anxious. In addition, you can use creativity to help you observe your emotions without drowning in them.
Using creativity to heal – There are ways that you can use your imagination, hobbies or talents to recover. For example, some people find it helpful to write stories, poems, dramas or keep a diary. In comparison, others might feel that they release stress through dance, music, art, exercise and martial arts.
- Imagery – Imagery can be a powerful tool if you are feeling stuck. For example, if you want to feel peace, when is the last time you felt totally at ease? Who were you with, and what were you doing? Can you also feel it in your body if you imagine the memory?
- Plans and Opportunities – If you are struggling with anxiety or stress, develop a plan. Writing out solutions on a paper, either in a list or mindmap, can offer clarity and hope. What is the opportunity for this change? Is there room for personal development? What fears are holding you back?
Putting it all together
If you find aspects of your life overwhelming or challenging, a therapist can help. An EMDR or Brainspotting therapist can help you access fear, memories and trauma in a safe environment. After the sessions, creativity and innovation will help you get your life back on track. For example, a therapist can help you understand why your relationships tend to be troublesome. They can provide you with insight into your behaviour and offer tools to get your relationships back on track. From there, it might take your creativity to implement date nights or dating strategies.
Past trauma can feel less heavy after trauma therapy. Still, reliving of some of the memories might make you feel tense or anxious. Using your creativity and talents can help release the tension in your body, bring awareness to your emotions, and help you regulate yourself. In turn, sleeping, eating and communication will improve.
Writing, artistic, or kinesthetic talents can increase your confidence. After abuse, self-worth tends to drop. We tend to enjoy things that we are good at, and the more we do these things, the better we become. Writing out your story can help you to get another perspective. Art can help you release emotions in the form of colour or shape. Dancing and Martial arts can help relieve any stress or tension stuck in your body.
At MindnLife, we provide assessments, psychology, and child therapy programs, designed to strengthen and support optimal social and emotional development. Our psychologists work closely with parents to provide all-rounded support to the child. We strive to create an environment of trust where the child will feel safe to share. Book your appointment with Dr. Borschel here: