Combining EMDR and Scar Remediation

Ocean Birds, Lorraine Pentello, EMDR and Scar Remediation, Melbourne
Photo by Bogatiy Kant

There is a beautiful feedback loop that happens when physical and emotional healing happen simultaneously. Physical ailments can quickly be resolved when we get to the emotional roots behind them. Likewise, emotional healing can happen when physical pain is resolved.

EMDR and Scar Remediation can both be extremely effective in shifting physical and emotional pain individually, but when used together they can be an absolute powerhouse! Under the right circumstances and with a bit of preparation they can work very quickly, shifting long term pain in a matter of minutes.

Not everyone is ready for this deep work initially. There are a few necessary steps that need to happen to make sure you’re prepared. It could even take a few weeks or even a few months to build up to this process.

Why Mixing the Two Together Can Work Well

Traumatic events can often leave behind scars. If these scars become gnarly and continue to grow, then they can affect your health and wellbeing (to learn more about scars read my earlier article here).

This is where Scar Remediation comes in. However, breaking down the scar can trigger emotions and memories. This can be quite sudden and without warning. It can even lead to full blown flashbacks.

So this is where EMDR comes in. Processing these emotions and memories as they arise can be easier than having to hold onto them to process them later. EMDR can also be used as a calming technique if the memories become too overwhelming.

Slow is Key

It is important to be resourced before attempting this work because retraumatization can happen. Building a trusting relationship during treatment is important, as well as learning calming techniques to keep us in what neurobiologist Dr. Dan Seigel calls ‘the window of tolerance’.

During this window we can function, manage and thrive in everyday life without getting too distressed. It is essential to work within your window of tolerance when processing emotions and remediating pain. When we’re sitting at our edges of this window we can start to feel some discomfort even though we’re still inside it.

Working at these edges is where we can experience the most dramatic resolution of physical and emotional pain, but to do this safely we need to get used to what it feels like to be at the edge and to be able to communicate when we’re slipping over it.

This could take a few sessions or it could take months depending on your experience with embodiment, but once you’ve mastered it you’re ready for deep trauma processing work.

To learn more about the preparation that goes into trauma treatment read my earlier article here.

What Treatment Looks Like

Sessions usually start by discussing your intentions and boundaries. Then we move on to embodiment exercises to calm your nervous system and gentle bodywork to relax your body.

Once you feel completely relaxed and in your ‘window of tolerance’ we investigate the sensations of your scar with direct touch before moving onto Scar Remediation. As any emotions or memories arise we start the EMDR process of bilateral stimulation.

From here we can flow between EMDR and Scar Remediation or even do both at the same time; continuing the process until you find resolution or need to take a pause.

Sessions end with integration, either in the form of a guided meditation or a discussion.

Blockages to Resolution

Some things that might get in the way of resolution may be neighbouring scars that are entwined or earlier memories that also need processing. These will all become apparent as we move through the process and you won’t need to know what they are at the start.

To Tie Things Together…

EMDR and Scar Remediation can complement each other in amazing ways, bringing fast resolution to physical and emotional trauma. Often there can be some preparation needed before diving in.

This process took me many years to think through and create. At the time of writing this, I have been combining the two for almost a year and my clients have been getting amazing results!

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