TGL Podcast Episode Five: Janelle Nelson // Mental Health, Anxiety & EMDR

March 25, 2019

Happy Monday friends! How was your weekend? We had a great one. My parents were in town and we spent it in Breckenridge. We skied, did puzzles, watched a lot of NCAA basketball and enjoyed some great family time. It was a wonderful weekend.

I'm so excited to share this post with you today. Last week on This Girl Life Podcast, Whitney and I interviewed Janelle Nelson, a LMFT and EMDR specialist. She is amazing. If you haven't listened to the episode yet, you can do so here.

Because this topic is so incredible, we wanted to offer you a little more details. Below is a little interview we had with Janelle. Make sure to show Janelle some love, follow her on Instagram and maybe even book a session!

Without further ado.

TGL: Hey Janelle thanks for coming on The Everyday Grace and sharing about EMDR. First tell us little bit about you, your practice. 
J: Thanks for having me! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist trained in specific type of therapy called EMDR and have a private practice in Carlsbad, CA (North County San Diego). I’m also a mom, artist, nature lover and health/wellness geek :)

TGL: Let’s start off with the basics: What is EMDR?
J: EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is now the most proven form of trauma therapy that’s available. It works incredibly fast and can be used to treat a wide range of trauma - from incredibly severe to very mild.

TGL: Can your quickly breakdown an EMDR session?
J: First I work with my clients to find the most effective memory to target (called a touchstone memory). After identifying this memory I will go through a list of questions with my client to help my client really get in touch with the memory. For example; I would ask them to identify what image represents the worst part of the incident. Also, what negative belief are they believing because of the incident, what feelings do they have around the incident, and have them rate the trauma.

After all these questions (and more) are answered and the client is in touch with the incident then the actual processing can start. The processing phase is where the client gets in touch with the memory and then with their eyes follows a lightbar (tool I have in my office - go to my instagram @jncounseling to see an actual video of this) to allow the brain to ‘digest’ the trauma. The bi-lateral movement from the eyes allows the brain to move and reprocess the memory using both hemispheres of the brain. I will pause and check in with the client throughout the process to see if there distress levels have shifted. When they get to the point where nothing about the incident bothers them (yes- this happens every time!) then we can move to the installation and body scan phases. This is where they are able to pair the positive belief with the incident and they start to feel really good!

At the end of the sessions my clients are usually tired, but incredibly light and relieved or they literally skip out of my office! Ha! I once had a teenage client ask me, “Do you feel like a magician? From like, Harry Potter or something?! That was crazy!”

TGL: You’ve been using EMDR in your practice for over 7 years. Why is it such a powerful tool in the world of healthcare.
J: Because it goes deep and works so so quickly! Trauma literally gets “stuck” in the brain and gets paired with a negative belief about ourselves. We might do a lot of talk therapy and in our minds know “I am good enough,” but in our hearts we don’t FEEL that way. EMDR helps make our head knowledge actual heart knowledge… and that’s what makes it so powerful.

TGL: I only thought it was for PTSD.... but is it just for that or who else could EMDR help?
J: It can benefit literally anyone. I have never met a person who hasn’t experienced some form of trauma (shame or pain). I have worked with many of our Military who have PTSD and the results are incredible for them, but anyone can benefit. Some common things I see (unfortunately) is a lot of sexual abuse, bullying, and attachment trauma (ex: alcoholic/workaholic parent). Other things I have used it for are fear of flying, cancer or illness recovery, and death of a loved one. It has endless uses.

TGL: What are some myths you’ve heard when people talk about EMDR?
J: That it’s some form of hypnosis- It’s definitely not! You are completely conscious the during the processing. Nothing scary I promise :)

TGL: If a person is interested in trying a session where should they start? What should they look for when trying to find a practitioner like yourself.
 J: Personal referrals are always the first best resource, but if you don’t have one I would do a search on Psychology Today.

TGL: Where can our listens/ readers find you!

Social: Instagram / Facebook

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