Did EMDR Help Evan Rachel Wood Take Down Marilyn Manson?

Evan Rachel Wood posing for photo wearing golden feathery attire

Sexual abuse survivors around the world cheered when Westwood star, Evan Rachel Wood shared her experiences of sexual abuse by her previous boyfriend, Marilyn Manson.

Already a supporter of victim’s rights through charitable endeavours, Wood took it as far as the law.

Many attest to the overwhelming fear to speak up against the “powerful few” (generally Caucasian males in power), especially when so much is on the line.

Some call it “career suicide” to attempt to do what Evan Rachel Wood did.

But it was worth it.

Katie Kilkenny, reported in her March 16th 2022 article for the Hollywood Reporter, that in HBO’s Phoenix Rising documentary, that Manson’s victims were locked in rooms, physically assaulted, raped, and branded.

On April 18th 2019, Evan Rachel Wood publicly announced to her 1 million followers via her Instagram profile (and later the world via a Hollywood Reporter article by Chris Gardner), that she was undergoing EMDR.

Wood wrote, “I just started #EMDR. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Its a kind of trauma therapy and I must say, is absolutely fantastic. Crying has never felt so good. For people struggling with their past traumas or PTSD and have the means to do so (which everyone should and it pisses me off that mental health is a luxury) I highly recommend this intense but very effective treatment. This is what I look like after a session. Been through a lot, purged a lot, but my eyes are clear and hopeful. Also,
NO. SHAME. IN. GETTING. HELP. ✌” See her post here.

Over 85,000 others have liked and supported Evan Rachel Wood’s post. Including comedian, Whitney Cummings, and Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson.

Brie Larson accepting Oscar statue

After helping hundreds of others overcome their sexual abuse memories, and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I can attest to the power of EMDR.

Is EMDR just for survivors of sexual abuse or PTSD?

No.

But unfortunately since about 50% of women are sexually assaulted, and about 1 in 4 men are sexually abused, there’s an awful lot of people who can relate to Evan Rachel Wood’s experiences.

So it’s good to know, EMDR does a heck of a job with PTSD – good enough to be endorsed by the World Health Organization, the American Psychological Association, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and a dozen other leading healthcare organizations around the world.

A past client of mine (an architect), described her experience of undergoing EMDR with me after she couldn’t cope with the horrible sexual abuse trauma she had undergone by someone she had once trusted dearly.

Architect leaning over table working on drawings.

“My major concern was dealing with rape PTSD and all the myriad negative things I had dealt with that was related to that. For four chaotic and dark years, it changed every single aspect of my life. Nothing went untouched by this. My whole world turned upside down. Everything blew up in my face. My reputation, sense of identity and understanding of the world shattered. My personality changed dramatically. My interests changed dramatically. It was like I became another person and I had no control over it. Everything was impacted by rape. From the way I wore my makeup, to the people I associated with, to how I viewed myself, my relationships in life, work, everything changed.

From the very beginning Robert was so attentive to every detail and very organized. He responded to emails very quickly, was sensitive to any need I brought up, and handled everything professionally with care, and without judgement. I was amazed at how much he paid attention to the little things. I was so ready to tackle this trauma and get some sense of worth and meaning back into my life. Being stuck in such a delicate state, and being a highly sensitive person, I needed the right therapist and Robert proved himself to be it from the very beginning.

After treatment, “nothing changed” on the outside. But inside, everything changed. Something like rape will forever change you. Coming to terms with that, finding a new sense of identity that feels right, as well as some sense of purpose again, is a very difficult thing to navigate. Through the EMDR process I was able to “come back down” to myself and find stability in my mind and heart, and come to peace with my past. I was able to find the good in the bad about the situations I faced, but moreso in myself. For the first time in my life I experienced the feeling of being worthy enough to be cared for, loved, heard, protected and to have time spent on me. A beautiful domino effect happened. I can say that now I live with greater confidence about my boundaries, my worth, my individuality, and my right to navigate my life for my needs and interests. It’s a remarkably huge step in my life!

Without doubt I would recommend Robert! I already strongly suggested to a few friends that they should go! Learn about EMDR and if it seems remotely worth spending your time on, DO IT. Sign up with Robert and get started on making the changes you want in your life! Whatever is holding you back from going through this healing process, sacrifice it. If you are not whole and healed and healthy then nothing else in your life will be either. It all starts with you!” (T, Architect).

After T went through her transformation, Like Evan Rachel Wood, she was ready to face her abusers in court.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing has 8 standard phases.

Robert Grigore waving his hand mid-BLS.
  1. History Taking, Goal-Setting, and Treatment Planning: Here the clinician gathers important information about the client’s symptoms, life history, current state, available support systems – much like any form of therapy (this is like building the map to chart your route before undertaking a journey).
  2. Preparation and Stabilization: Here the clinician assesses and develops further internal resources to ensure the client can tolerate both positive and negative affect. Common techniques taught at this stage are “The Container” and “The Calm Place” in order to assist the client in controlling their state of emotional arousal (this is like learning to apply the brakes before you hit the gas).
  3. Assessment: Here is where the EMDR therapist and the client begin to focus on a specific memory or “target” and elicit basic details to ensure the proper neural networks are activated along with a nervous system response (simply talking about an event doesn’t produce a full state change). The client reports how it feels in the body, the emotions experienced, the cognitive distortion (i.e. a negative belief that feels true but for which the clinician knows to be false, such as “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not safe,” “I’m in danger,” “I can’t trust anyone,” “I’m unworthy of love,” “I’m worthless,” etc.), and also what they would prefer to believe instead (has to be realistic and adaptive).
  4. Desensitization: This is where the “magic” happens as the clinician initiates bilateral stimulation to activate both hemispheres of the client’s brain in alternating fashion to elicit the entire brain’s natural capacity to form new connections (neuroplasticity), and generate positive adaptive responses. As EMDR has evolved, new techniques exist to desensitize in a variety of ways along a continuum which allows the clinician to titrate how much the client’s brain freely associates to the material in question. This is especially welcomed for clients struggling with Complex-PTSD, OCD, extreme phobias, as well as those struggling with dissociative and other challenging forms of resistance (such as symptoms consistent with personality disorders).
  5. Installation: Once the target has been completely desensitized (meaning the client reports the absence of distress…where even the most horrific memories of trauma feel like simple facts and no longer negatively influence the individual), the clinician focuses upon strengthening the positive belief (if the negative belief was say, “I’m worthless,” the positive would be something like, “I’m valuable regardless,” or if the negative was, “I’m not safe,” the positive could be, “I’m safe now regardless” and so on). When the client reports feeling the positive belief feels completely true in reference to the specific target, the clinician moves to phase 6.
  6. Body Scan: Here the clinician asks the client to think about the target, along with the positive belief, and scan their body to notice any areas of the body which might hold any negative tension (such as doubt in the stomach, or tension in the solar plexus, etc.). This is a critical stage because the body acts like the umbilical cord to all of life experiences. As somatic beings, we feel emotions, and consequently, feelings can become trapped in the body during negative experiences (as a previous massage practitioner, I can attest to how the body tries to talk to us…just think about the sayings, “He’s a pain in my neck,” “I trust my gut,” etc.). Once, the body no longer holds any residual feelings of negative tension, the clinician knows to move on to the next stage.
  7. Closure: Either this means the session is over, or the target has been neutralized for now, and the clinician and client are ready to move on to the next one. As EMDR therapists work in what I call the pay-as-you-go model (60 or 90 minutes at a time), this usually means only one memory is worked through per session (or only part of a memory if it is really complicated). Personally, I’ve found tremendous advantage in working in the 3 to 5 hour blocks to allow for plenty of targets to be processed during one sitting. For the busy professional, this is ideal as they can accelerate their treatment plan to be started and completed in a very short period of time (the majority of my clients who elect to work in this way have needed approximately 3 days, with the more complicated cases needing 5-10 days, and the more simple cases needing only 1 day). Regardless, if the session is closing and the target hasn’t been neutralized, the clinician will direct the client to use the techniques taught in Phase 2 to ensure any distress is contained.
  8. Re-Evaluation: At the beginning of the next session, the clinician checks on the work from the previous session. This ensures that results are permanent, and nothing else has bubbled to the surface. An important part of the healing process is when the client looks back at a memory that used to cause such intense distress, and now sees that it no longer bothers them. This allows the client’s psyche to move past traumatic events, and finally put them to rest where they belong – in the past.

(Click here for a free copy of my book to learn more about EMDR, called “You Need Therapy. EMDR: Real People With Real Problems Getting Real Help“.)

No one will know if EMDR was the catalyst for Evan Rachel Wood to take down Marilyn Manson per se, but one thing is for sure, it certainly would have helped.

For those struggling to cope with their own symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, depression, addiction, and more, there is help…and with EMDR, it can come very quickly…and with Robert Grigore MCP’s Total Immersion EMDR, it can come in as little as a single weekend.

Don’t give up on yourself.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Written by,

Robert A. Grigore MCP, RCC#12316

EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist

EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant

Owner of Grigore Counselling

info@grigorecounselling.com

www.grigorecounselling.com

Book your free 1-1 consultation with Robert Grigore MCP, RCC today.

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When “No” Means No…Even When My Body Says “Yes.”

Confusing? Certainly for some. For others it’s as clear as day. You know the #MeToo movement, you have seen the news, you know that sexual consent is on the radar in the public forum (finally), but what about when when consent appears unclear–as in the body is saying “yes”, and the words are saying, “no?”

*Trigger alert* The information I’m going to share is based upon clinical experience with survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. If you are feeling vulnerable while reading this statement, please save this post and come back to it later.

I have been working with survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault (“abuse” meaning the events took place prior to adulthood, and “assault” meaning after adulthood), for over five years as a Registered Clinical Counsellor. I am also Certified EMDR Therapist, the author of an introductory book on EMDR called, You NEED Therapy. EMDR: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help, and the owner of a boutique psychotherapy practice in Vancouver, BC., that focuses solely on using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help my clients transform their suffering into strength. Rather than explaining what EMDR is, I encourage you to read my other blog posts on the topic, visit my YouTube channel, or visit my website–suffice to say EMDR allows me to work with tons of clients because it works so fast!

I get the privilege of helping survivors through dark thoughts and beliefs about themselves based upon how their body responded during a traumatic sexual abuse encounter. Some of my male clients tell me, “Well Robert, I got an erection during my abuse, so I must have wanted it right?” and some of my female clients have said, “I don’t understand, my mind said ‘no,’ I went stiff as a board, but I still enjoyed it…does that mean that I wanted it?” You can see how these statements – and believe me they’re more common than you might think – would appear confusing to the survivor.

I’m going to debunk a few common misconceptions right now:

1. The body responds to physical touch, whether we want it to or not. For us males, if our genitals are being touched, caressed, played with (and for some even more violent means may fit as “playful”), the penis is likely to become engorged and an erection sustained – with or without our verbal consent. Furthermore, provide enough stimulation, and we will ejaculate. This does not mean that we wanted to. Every ejaculation does not mean we loved it, and when ejaculation is forced upon us, we are not enjoying it.

The same can be said for women too. Often, the right type of touch can create vaginal lubrication, and enough stimulation of the clitoris, G-Spot, and/or vagina can generate an orgasm (or at least “pleasurable sensations”). During stimulation, the body may respond in typical “pleasurable” fashion (i.e. movements, moans, goosebumps, etc.) – this does not mean women are consenting.

2. Even if the above situations are occurring (i.e. the body is saying “Yes”), but the words are saying “No,” LISTEN TO THE WORDS AND STOP.

3. If the words “Stop,” “No,” “I don’t think so…,” “I don’t want to…” “Maybe next time…” “I’m not sure…” etc. occur during an attempt to initiate sex, then STOP. Clearly the first four statements are pretty clear, but the last two, are a little less straightforward. Not everyone feels comfortable or confident or safe to clearly define their decline of a sexual initiation. Yes, it’s something they need to work on in therapy, but this does not give another human the right to take advantage of another’s verbal passivity.

4. The same goes for silence. The absence of consent and the absence of rejection, means STOP. For some people, the initiation of sexual contact is incredibly overwhelming, and their response could be to “freeze” in the situation (you’ve heard of fight/flight/freeze). This is a natural response to an overwhelming situation.

5. To expand upon #4., the “freeze” response is a valuable response to threat if “fight” or “flight” are not options. As soon as “fight” or “flight” become viable options, “freeze” often turns into one of the two. Imagine the rape victim who cannot escape their attacker, or when struggle creates more violence, “surrender” in the body (i.e. freeze) provides an opportunity to mitigate the damage and prepare for escape. Be very clear: in “freeze” the mind is still very active, the nervous system is on high alert, and the individual is looking for a way out.

There’s also a fourth response in extreme situations when “freeze” occurs too long or death appears imminent: “Shut Down.” In “shut down,” the body feigns death – meaning that the body prepares itself for “sure death,” by beginning to shut down the organs—it will become very limp, and the individual will experience a powerful analgesic effect. Should the brain interpret that the threat is “over,” the body will cycle back into “freeze,” and then “fight” or “flight.” Everyone’s body is equipped to respond to threats to their safety with fight/flight/freeze/shut down, therefore whatever happened to you is not your fault, it’s actually your body’s way of helping you navigate through a very traumatic event.

Should a person say “Yes” with both body language and verbally, get naked and stand in another person’s bedroom, and then say, “Stop,” it means stop. People can change their minds midway through a sexual exchange, much like they can through any other kind of personal exchange (just like your Starbucks barista wont force a latte down your throat if half way through the transaction you suddenly get the urge to cancel and go for bubble tea).

Rant over. I hope these points help to clarify that if you have survived sexual assault or abuse, but felt in someway that the event(s) were your fault—they weren’t. Even if you received physical pleasure or your body led you to believe you did, and you didn’t want the event to happen, then you didn’t give consent.

If you are a survivor of sexual abuse or assault, you can heal the damage that’s left over in the wake—negative thoughts, negative beliefs, even trauma that is stored in your body. In my opinion, EMDR can help survivors of sexual abuse and assault in a way that no other treatment can. It’s fast and forever—results are maintained and actually improve (according to research and clinical experience).

If you or someone you know is interested in seeing if EMDR might be a good fit, feel free to reach out for a free Congruence Consultation. The assessment takes less than 25 minutes, and then you could very well be on your way to a better life. We can’t undo the past, but we can transform how you live in the future.


With care and the utmost respect,

Robert A. Grigore, MCP, RCC #12316

EMDRIA-Certified EMDR Therapist

EMDRIA-Approved EMDR Consultant

Owner & CEO

Grigore Counselling

www.GrigoreCounselling.com

info@GrigoreCounselling.com

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EMDR for Weight Loss: The ONE Thing Your Current Diet/Exercise Plan is Missing

You’ve tried eating Keto, you’ve tried Paleo, you’ve cut carbs, you’ve cut fat, you’ve cut sugar. You’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars of diet plans and supplements — all promising that you’re going to go from zero to hero…if you JUST follow this plan. You go to the gym. You’ve sweat hundreds of thousands of hours…enough sweat that you could fill a swimming pool. You go on and on and on, but you never seem to lose the weight. At best there’s still some jiggle where you want sizzle. At worst, you can’t imagine how you’ll ever go on, and you give up. Where’d I put that last slice of pizza?

But did you know that you’ve been doing everything probably pretty close to as right as you can…except for ONE thing. And this one thing is going to be the difference between yo-yo-dieting, and dreaming of the perfect body, to actually living in it, and feeling like a winner.

What’s the “one thing?”

You’re not thinking properly.

Well…actually you are thinking about exactly as you are likely to be thinking based upon certain events that have happened to you in the past. Those particular events have created a framework in your mind, which generates one or more negative beliefs about yourself — which has made it essentially impossible for you to shed those extra pounds.

These negative beliefs are incredibly debilitating. They can pop up before or during a workout, they can creep up when you’re thinking about starting a diet, and they can leave you devastated when you fail. Here’s some of my negative beliefs that have entered my mind when I’m trying to exercise or eat well: You’re too fat; You can’t do it; I’ll never get there; I’ll never be enough; I’m ugly; I’m disgusting; Just give up; Just do it (not Nike, more like cheesecake); I’m not good enough; etc. You get the idea. Some of these beliefs have literally stopped a workout in it’s tracks. I’ve been lifting a barbell, doing chest presses, and hung up my weights and gone home. I’ve been running for kilometers, stopped dead in my tracks, and started walking home.

If it’s happened to me, I can bet it’s happened to you too in some way.

Here’s the thing: these negative beliefs go directly against your goal of getting in shape, eating well, losing weight, having more energy, and whatever else your exercise and nutritional goals are, because they go against you becoming your best YOU. We cannot be our best when we feel our worst. It just can’t happen.

Have you heard the saying that for every negative thought or criticism, we need 10 positive thoughts or compliments? That’s because negativity is so powerful that it literally changes our brains. Our ability to frame experiences into positive perspectives is directly influenced by previous trauma that we’ve experienced in our lives. There’s changes that occur in the Hippocampus of brain making it easier to see things negatively, and more less likely to respond positively — that seems like a no-win situation eh?

It is.

See how much a negative belief influences you by trying the following: if you’re a runner, go for a run and when you are starting to tire out, say the following words to yourself, “Don’t stop,” see how that influences your energy level. Next, say the words, “Keep going.” See if that’s different at all. If you’re reaching for the bag of potato chips your taste buds are begging for, say, “Don’t eat junk food,” and see how you feel. Then, say, “Be healthy,” and see how your feel.

And like you’re probably familiar with, the more negative you feel, the more self-defeating behaviours you are likely to engage in. With negative beliefs rotting your personal foundation, the best best shot you have at exercising and eating properly, is to do so out of hate. Your negative self-talk will sound something like this, “Don’t you touch that doughnut, you fat ass!” Or, “If you don’t get to the gym, you’re a loser!” These negative internal criticisms might work for a limited amount of time, but they won’t work forever. You don’t need an internal drill sergeant calling you a “maggot,” what you need is to see yourself in a positive light.

I’m not talking about “positive – thinking.” Every weight-loss guru, or self-help book can tell you that positive thinking is your “ticket” to a better you. Yes, that’s true, but what these weight-loss gurus don’t tell you, is unless you actually work through the underlying reasons for your negative beliefs, no amount of motivation is going to give you the results you actually crave.

What CAN and WILL give you the positive results you crave is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This type of therapy unearths the roots of where those negative beliefs first came from, and eliminates them. When there’s no power source for the negative belief, it simply disappears. Seriously. And what takes its place, is a positive belief about yourself.

When you have positive beliefs about yourself – and again I’m talking about TRUE positive feelings you have about yourself that you CANNOT deny, even if you tried – you will be able to stay motivated, love eating healthy, and easily adopt healthy routines. This is because you actually want to nourish your body, because you love your body. You will WANT to do the things that make you feel calm and relaxed when it’s time for you to feel calm and relaxed, and you will WANT to do the things that you know you need to do to challenge your body, build its strength, and appreciate how it carries your heart, your mind, and your soul into each new chapter that unfolds during your day.


For a free consultation to see if EMDR is a good fit for you, please contact us today! We’re looking forward to introducing you to your new future. 1-(778)-883-4819 or info@GrigoreCounselling.com

With care and respect,

Robert A. Grigore, MCP, RCC #12316

EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist

EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant

Founder & CEO

Grigore Counselling

www.GrigoreCounselling.com

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EMDR VS. Talk Therapy: Friend or Foe?

This is a great current debate, and one that I’ve recently highlighted in my brand new book: You NEED Therapy. EMDR: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help. If you’ve read my short little book (less than 100 pages), you’ll notice that I clearly outline the need for all of us to seek therapeutic help, as so many of us are affected by mental health distress (about one in five according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). Moreover, I personally believe that the number is much higher: 100% of us are affected by mental health distress, because 100% of us have experienced (and survived) trauma. I go into more detail in my book about the different kinds of trauma, suffice to say not all trauma is of the “obvious” variety. I also clearly identify how Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is in my opinion the best, and fastest way to not just manage or cope with symptoms, but to completely eliminate them.

So I get this question often: “So Robert, if EMDR therapy is in your opinion the best and fastest form of therapy out there, why should I bother going to a talk therapist?”

Good question. In this blog post, I’m going to outline a few benefits and limitations of both therapies, and at the end, maybe it will become clear as to whether the two forms of therapy can work together, or if they are destined to be enemies!

Let’s start with EMDR.

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing was first conceived in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro. It was an accidental discovery while she was walking in a park, and discovered that her distressing thoughts were becoming less distressing as she moved her eyes back and forth (probably watching birds, people, trees, etc.). Skipping over a great deal of the history here, EMDR was first used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and it was very successful. Since then, EMDR has been adapted to treat almost any kind of distress and or mental health disorder.

One of the hallmarks of EMDR is that it works significantly faster than talk therapy. Prior to my learning how to conduct EMDR, I was a talk therapist. I had been working with a full case load of clients with variations of significant trauma and PTSD symptoms (as a result of experiences such as rape, torture, physical violence, emotional blackmail, psychological manipulation – you name it). During that time, I had been working with these individuals for over two years, and only seen improvements in moderation – they began to stop self-harming, felt safe (enough) to share their stories, maintained a strong therapeutic alliance with me, and so forth. But the main issues that they were really struggling with (like being triggered in personal or social situations, aversion to intimacy, suffering from nightmares or flashbacks, difficulty with feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, reacting to feelings of shame with alcohol or drug use, etc.), were still there…lingering beneath the surface. Many of my trauma survivors would often say to me, “If only you knew the ‘real me’.”…

Once I started treating these very same individuals with EMDR, I began to see changes that I had only ever dreamed about (and for which my clients were too afraid to dream of). We were wrapping up treatment in as little as 8-12 sessions.

Prior to treating these individuals with EMDR, could I call myself a “Master Talk-Therapy Clinician”? No. Of course not; but since I had just begun to use EMDR at the time, I couldn’t call myself a “Master EMDR Clinician” either. It would seem that in using EMDR, I was helping more people, on a deeper level, in a fraction of the amount of time, with a psychotherapy approach that I had just discovered – as opposed to an approach that I had been studying for the better part of a decade (existentially-informed talk therapy).

A study by Gauhar (2016) showed that EMDR yielded a 95% effectiveness rate for treating depression, compared to a 40-50% effectiveness rate for treating depression that combined Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with medication (the most common method of treatment for depression to date). Furthermore, Gauhar showed that it only took six to eight sessions of EMDR to show noticeable improvement.

Another hallmark of EMDR is that after successfully completing treatment, the symptoms do not return. That means that you go for treatment once for each issue and when you’re done, you’re done. By “once” I mean however long it takes for the issue to be cleared the first time (could be two sessions, could be six, or 12, etc.), afterwards, that particular issue is eliminated for you. That’s not to say you’ll never have distress again (‘life happens”), but at least you will not have to struggle with the same issue again and again.

A U.S. National Comorbidity Survey published their findings that the “depression relapse rate” for those treated with CBT was between 50% and 80%, compared to the “depression relapse rate” for those treated with EMDR as being 0% (Gauhar, 2014)!

Very similar findings exist for other clinical issues such as PTSD, phobias, addictions, etc. In my book, You NEED Therapy: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help, I provide a nice list of some of these examples! Suffice to say, there’s no shortage of them after EMDR has been researched for over 30 years.

EMDR is endorsed by many professional associations throughout the world, such as: American Psychological Association; World Health Organization; U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Defense; U.S. Department of Health and Human Safety; Dutch National Steering Committee; National Institute for Clinical Excellence; and more. Moreover, EMDR is often provided to survivors of natural disasters, mass trauma incidents, and terrorist attacks – sometimes immediately following the incident in order to help process the recent trauma event. Suffice to say, EMDR is highly regarded for its clinical effectiveness.

Another difference between EMDR and talk-therapy is that there is NO homework with EMDR. You will be taught coping strategies in the beginning to ensure that you have the appropriate techniques to handle any triggers or reminders of trauma that might occur between sessions, but you will not be required to do things like: write lists at home, perform actions or statements in public to “improve confidence,” do something that makes you feel uncomfortable to “get over” your fears, read books and practice their exercises, etc. All you need to do is come to your scheduled session, report on what your experiences are in session (and anything that seems important between sessions), and trust that the Certified EMDR Therapist knows how to take you from where you were at the start of treatment, to where you wish to be at the end of treatment.

Need I say more? Let’s move on to Talk Therapy, shall we?

Talk Therapy

Before I adopted the sole focus of EMDR therapy in my practice, I was a talk therapist. Specifically, I was most intrigued and drawn to Existential Therapy (which is a form of Cognitive Therapy). For the purpose of this blog debate, I’m going to refer to “Talk Therapy” as “Existential Therapy,” “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy,” and “Psychoanalysis” (I’ll be sure to reference which form of therapy I’m referring to.)

First, a little history about Talk Therapy. Beginning of course with Psychoanalysis, everyone is familiar with Sigmund Freud (referred to as “The Father of Psychoanalysis”), who was mainly responsible for bringing the concept of “Talk Therapy” to bear as he called it, “The Talking Cure.” In its original form, Psychoanalysis consisted of the patient lying on a couch with the psychoanalyst sitting on a chair behind the patient’s head. The patient would continuously speak of whatever came into their unconscious mind (called Free Association), and the psychoanalyst would write everything down. The concept was that as the patient freely associated, their unconscious and unresolved issues (usually early childhood years) would become transferred onto the therapist (called “transference”), and the patient would transform their therapist into an important figure (usually a parental figure). The psychoanalyst would then analyze the transference and respond verbally with statements to hopefully elicit change in the individual.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has often been referred to as beginning with the Ancient Greek philosophy, Stoicism. These philosophers believed that through the use of logic, they could assist individuals with discarding certain belief systems and behaviours. If you’re interested in learning more of CBT’s early beginnings, I’m sure if you Google, “History of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy,” you’ll be sure to find some fascinating reading there…but I’m going to skip over significant amounts of history, in the interest of keeping this blog post fairly concise.

The basic idea behind CBT is that for every given moment, individuals act based upon a pattern of influence from their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Behaviour could drive a particular feeling, which would spark a thought; a thought could elicit a behaviour, which influences a feeling; a feeling may ignite a behaviour, and consequently thoughts afterwards; and so on. If one could identify the chain reaction of a particular problem in their life, this identification could give someone more control over the same situation again, should it arise in the future.

Take the following example: Imagine that I am struggling with the thought that “I am stupid.” I find myself feeling extremely afraid and ashamed of that thought. Then I follow that up with “…But I have a Master’s degree!!” I then end up depressed and don’t leave my house for weeks, except to get groceries, and go to and from work. CBT would examine the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and see how they all intersect. It would make sense that they each influence each other: I end up staying home to avoid having to “prove” my intelligence to others, saving myself from the feelings of shame should I “not measure up” to the expectations of others, which protects me from thinking “I’m stupid.” By identifying the belief of “I’m stupid,” and finding evidence that refutes that belief (such as having a Master’s degree), such action may influence my feelings of shame to reside and subsequently, allowing me the courage to “risk” social interaction again.

Here are some benefits

  1. Talk therapy provides a very open and exploratory avenue for clients to develop their awareness of their skills (or lack of skills). The therapist will gently encourage their client to lead themselves into their unknown, so that they can begin to build their awareness.
  2. The client generally does the majority of the talking in talk therapy, with the therapist asking a few poignant questions to help move the client along.
  3. When I worked as an Existential Therapist, I focused heavily upon challenging my client to build their awareness of their responsibility to choose how to respond to a particular challenge. While I did not offer solutions, my client often begun to recognize their options.
  4. Existential Therapy is a therapeutic focus which asks the “big questions” about life: If we are all free to make our own choices, what choices are you making right now? If your life is up to you to create meaning from, how are you taking an active role in that pursuit right now? Since nobody else can see through your eyes and see exactly what you see, you (and everyone else) how do you reconcile that deep loneliness?

Verdict

Gravel with Scale

So what’s the verdict? Can EMDR and Talk Therapy co-exist? Are they compatible? Is one better than the other?

In my opinion, EMDR and Talk Therapy can co-exist. While I do not believe that any form of Talk Therapy has the ability to eliminate a client’s source of suffering, I do think that Talk Therapy has a role to be played. One of these potential roles could be in preparing oneself for trauma processing. An EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist will always make sure that a client is ready to undergo trauma processing prior to engaging in that phase of treatment (clients at Grigore Counselling are never “tossed in the deep-end” without “knowing if you can swim”), thus talk therapy is useful to assess readiness, self-awareness, and emotional tolerance.

Another area where Talk Therapy is certainly useful is in therapeutic contexts which are not prototypical environments for EMDR, such as: couple’s counselling, divorce mediation, group work, career assessment, personality assessment, and for developing self-awareness. Those with minimal self-awareness experience tend to require longer EMDR treatment, and less processing occurs at the beginning due to preparing the client’s readiness. Since Talk Therapy is usually less expensive per hour, Talk Therapy can help prepare a client to be ready to finally eliminate the actual source of their suffering once and for all.

Personally speaking, I would much rather eliminate the source of my suffering, rather than spend too long on developing coping skills and practicing their uses, which ultimately requires a lot more money to be spent on the overall cost of treatment. However, I can definitely attest to the fact that it’s nice to have someone to just talk to from time to time – especially if social engagement is something that is lacking. Although a talking relationship is useful at times, the true change comes when the underlying memories which are causing the stress is eliminated.

EMDR is the only form of treatment that is provided at Grigore Counselling. We want to get you the maximum amount of healing in the shortest amount of time, so that you can go out and live your life the way you really want to.


Have any questions? Want to provide feedback? Ready for a free consultation? Please comment below, or send us an email! We’re happy to hear from you 🙂 And please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit!

With care and respect,

Robert A. Grigore, MCP, RCC

EMDRIA-Certified EMDR Therapist

EMDRIA-Approved EMDR Consultant

Owner of Grigore Counselling

www.GrigoreCounselling.com

info@GrigoreCounselling.com

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How I Know You NEED Therapy.

Yup, you heard me. I know you NEED therapy. But how do I know that? Simple. We all do. I don’t just mean some pie-in-the-sky “we all need to get along and be happy” nonsense; I mean that literally every human being is in need of deep therapeutic change. Without it, we are doomed to stay stuck, and not evolve as individuals.

The reason I can be so certain that we all NEED therapy, is the exact reason why I wrote the book, “You NEED Therapy. EMDR: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help.” After working in the field of psychotherapy for a relatively short period of time (approximately four years at the start of my book), I recognized that my growing suspicion was true: we are all wounded beings. However, it was only after adopting the disciplined psychotherapeutic approach of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and subsequently dedicating my life to healing trauma, did I realize that my suspicion was actually much more serious than I thought…

While the Mental Health Commission of Canada stated in 2016 that one in five Canadians (that’s 6.7 million people) experienced a mental health disorder or complaint, I would argue that the number is actually much higher. This is only people who have actually in some way recorded their distress, either via public health records or through some kind of survey. How about all the people who didn’t seek help, or tell anybody about it? How about all those who suffer in silence, gritting their teeth, day-in and day-out, just hanging on until they get to some kind of relief…like making it to the weekend, or if they’re lucky enough, going on a vacation?

What’s actually more serious, and why I wrote the book You NEED Therapy. (and why I’m writing this blog post), is that I am rather certain that you are not an anomaly, and that you (just like I do), NEED therapy. If you do not take this acknowledgment seriously, I fear that you will continue to live your life repeating old patterns that are not allowing you to progress in your life–they keep you stuck, living chained to past ideologies and imprisoned in pain. These past negative ideologies (what we call in the EMDR world as “Negative Cognitions” or “Negative Beliefs”) keep you perhaps feelings “safe,” but they do not promote you to grow–they keep you stuck. I touch a little bit more about these in a bit.

As an EMDRIA-Approved Certified EMDR Therapist, I can tell you that everybody you come across is experiencing some sort of emotional and/or psychological distress–they just might hide it better than others. To qualify as someone who “experiences mental health distress,” you simply need to experience difficulties in some manner in your life: maybe you notice feeling anxious in social situations, during conflict with your spouse, or thinking about dating, or maybe you notice that you’ve been feeling really tired, drained, stressed out, and have had a lower mood lately; or maybe it’s something where you know that you’ve experienced a traumatic incident and you haven’t been the same since (etc.). Just because you may not be suffering from uncontrollable nightmares, delusions, or find yourself banging your head against the wall, doesn’t mean that you’re not suffering. If you are experiencing nightmares, and banging your head against the wall, hopefully that’s a sign that you should call me 😉

In my book You NEED Therapy. EMDR: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help, I expose the truth about trauma: that everyone has experienced a trauma–you included. In fact, I’m quite certain that you’ve experienced several traumas. Unfortunately for many, if the trauma they experienced isn’t “severe enough” (like a car accident or a terrorist bombing), they don’t think they are a trauma-survivor. That’s simply not true. We are all trauma survivors.

Trauma can occur at any time in your life. It needn’t be that you survived a hurricane, or assault, it can be much more subtle than that. For example: if you grew up in a family atmosphere where you were constantly made to feel insignificant, small, or unimportant; or perhaps your family moved around a lot; or maybe you were bullied on the school yard; or it was difficult to have your voice heard among your friends; over time, these “smaller traumas” fester and grow into negative beliefs. A negative belief is a quiet voice that you hear in the “back of your mind” that makes comments about yourself, and for which actually feel true to you. I’m not talking about auditory hallucinations–most of us don’t actually hear the voice, but if you do, that’s OK too. As an example, following the order of the example of what could constitute as “smaller traumas”, the corresponding negative beliefs may be: “I don’t matter,” “I cannot relax or feel safe,” “I’m weak,” “I am invisible,” or “I’m not good enough.” You get the picture.

My bet is that is that you too, have at least one negative belief that dampens your ability to experience the world and your life in it, to the degree that you dream of. These negative beliefs are often very difficult to spot at first, but once they are identified in session, usually the response is, “YES! That’s it!”

If you’ve been to see a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist before, you may have heard the term “negative belief” already. Some people are able to begin to change their lives, their approach to problems, and ultimately transform themselves with the awareness of their negative beliefs, their origins, and utilize effective coping strategies. However, many of my clients come to see me after having tried all of that, and are still stuck, are still struggling to change their negative life patterns. That’s where EMDR gets me excited!

While EMDR also identifies these negative beliefs, EMDR goes further than that. EMDR eliminates them. In EMDR treatment, the goal is not to just learn coping strategies (although that happens at the start), the goal is to completely eliminate the distress–thereby eliminating the need for a negative belief. That also means there is no need for the coping strategy after all, because there’s nothing to have to “cope” with.

You might be wondering, “Well, how does the distress become eliminated? And how does the negative beliefs change?” In my book, You NEED Therapy. EMDR: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help, I completely answer that question.

In my short book, I outline the role of anxiety in our lives, how and why we experience trauma, and why trauma is the single reason for your difficulty with moving forward in your life. When the trauma is addressed, healed, and reprocessed, the brain has no reason to hang on to the negative beliefs, and you will be free to adopt a more pleasant belief about yourself (like, “I am lovable,” “I am worth it,” “I am safe,” “I can handle my emotions,” “etc.”).

In less than 100 pages, you will understand how traumatic experiences (big or small) make your brain function in a different way than how your brain would operate under “normal” and non-stressful situations. You will learn how information that is stored during the time of trauma, becomes locked inside, and triggers you to respond to current situations just like you did during the time of the earlier trauma. You will also discover how EMDR is your answer to healing that trauma, and how this incredible therapy can free you from your negative life patterns, allowing you to become the “You” you’ve always dreamed of (or were too scared to dream of!).

In just a few hours (and a light read by the way), you’ll have a clear understanding of what EMDR is, how it works, and why it works so well and quickly. You will discover many cases and studies of how EMDR completely eliminated symptoms of mental health distress (not just managed the symptoms). You’ll even discover how to find the right EMDR therapist for you, and once you have him or her, how to get the most out of each of your sessions. Finally, you will have answers to 11 frequently asked questions about EMDR, like: Does EMDR hurt? How long is treatment? What does EMDR feel like? And more…

If you would like to know more, check out this link to my book on Amazon!

$1 of each sale of my book is donated to The Gregarious Fund–an initiative that assists low-income individuals with the financial resources to receive professional-level counselling treatment.


With care and respect,

Robert A. Grigore, MCP, RCC (#12316)

EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist

EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant

Owner of Grigore Counselling

www.GrigoreCounselling.com

info@GrigoreCounselling.com

www.allmylinks.com/EMDRRobertGrigore

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5 Easy Ways to Boost Stress Tolerance

Hey there! You know what it feels like to be stressed right? Of course you do! But what if I told you that on top of the regular stresses involved in your daily life, you may be engaging in some unhealthy habits which actually lower your ability to handle stress? Naturally, I’ve got you covered with 5 proven strategies to boost your stress tolerance.

1. Sleep.

The number one way to boost your stress tolerance is to get a good night’s #sleep. There’s a whole bunch of glorious things that happen in your body while you sleep (like producing melatonin, allowing your muscles to repair themselves after the previous day’s activities and to prepare them for tomorrow, and consolidating learning from the day’s experiences, and so much more).

If you do not take your sleep seriously, then I’m afraid your health will suffer–not just that you’ll feel less capable of being energetic, but your mental health will suffer too. Without good sleep, you can look forward to feeling lethargic, foggy, slow, sore, irritable…you get the idea.

Researchers have long since connected the benefits of a good night’s sleep with increasing your tolerance for stress. The more sleep you get the larger your window for stress tolerance gets.

Here’s a few tips for getting a better night’s sleep:

  • Spend 30 minutes or more before you finally lay your head to bed, where you do NOT engage with anything stressful. This is actually harder than it seems for many people until they get used to this routine.
  • Do not watch TV or any screen for at least 30 minutes before bed. This is because the blue hue in the screen’s pixels are interpreted by the brain as being sunlight, and the brain begins to produce cortisol instead of melatonin (that means it begins waking up instead of going to sleep). If you absolutely MUST watch something while you fall asleep, then I recommend using “night mode” on your device (removes the blue hue).
  • A few hours before bed, begin to change the lighting in your home to softer or dimmer lighting. Same as the blue hue issue, bright lights shock the eyes a bit and triggers your brain to send a signal to your adrenal glands to produce cortisol to begin awakening.
  • Try light stretching, yoga, or meditating before climbing under the covers. Stretching actually produces dopamine and is a similar response (in the brain) as to what happens during sexual intercourse. Meditating as well as yoga can be relaxing for many people, and you may prepare yourself for sleeping more quickly and more deeply.
  • For more tips and tricks for sleeping better, check out my Facebook or YouTube pages!

2. Exercise

I know…I know…#exercise is always recommended to improve mental health and improve your ability to handle stress, and there’s a reason it’s always recommended: it works…most of the time. But there’s two sides to every coin though right?

Right. On one hand, exercise provides incredible boosts of energy if you consistently raise your heart rate to a safe level, and then replenish your body with the appropriate kinds of nutrients post-workout (amino acids, proteins, etc.). The more this habit is engaged with, the more able your body is to repeat the action. While I’m certainly not a personal trainer myself, I do find that drastically changing my exercise routine has a pronounced effect on my stress levels and mental health functioning. If I consistently exercise (say 3 to 5 times a week) and then suddenly stop for a prolonged period of time (no exercise the next week), I feel much more sluggish and tired.

For those who suffer from trauma symptoms like panic and high anxiety, exercise is actually a great way to demonstrate to the brain that you are “not in danger,” “strong,” and “in-control.” During high stress, we shift into fight/flight/freeze mode, and doing something as simple as running on the spot indicates to your brain that you are “escaping the danger.” Trauma is a tricky issue because, even if your “logical mind” knows that you are not actually in danger, there may be another aspect of your emotional self that feels like you might be–going for a run or hitting a punching bag is highly recommended in these situations. (Also, if you have an old printer that you can safety demo, that is just good old fashioned fun…I hate printers sometimes…)

OK. You were waiting for that “other side of the coin” right? Here it is: if you are suffering from high stress and especially if you are one or those people who experience prolonged stress (who isn’t these days…am I right?), you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.

Working with a nutritionist over the previous summer, my partner and I discovered that we were both experiencing adrenal fatigue–supported by hormonal saliva tests (being honest with you, I wasn’t engaging in as much self-care as I should have been)! The nutritionist suggested that we actually cease exercising for a couple of months while we focus upon eating and sleeping better. After we got our diet in check and sleep back on schedule, exercise was incorporated back into the fold.

Now, since I’m also not a nutritionist nor a medical expert, I cannot recommend that you cease exercising. So this isn’t an excuse to skip the gym! One of my colleagues actually turned down her nutritionist because she couldn’t imagine her life without exercise! There’s no right or wrong way to exercise, so even light walking can help.

3. Diet.

Eating a balanced #diet throughout the day is absolutely recommended to maintain your ability to tolerate stress. While this suggestion isn’t quite a “booster” for stress, it certainly can help to avoid the dreaded 3:00 pm crash!

Because your body’s blood sugar level is its natural method of maintaining energy, making sure that you get enough fats, protein, and carbs (emphasis on “enough” meaning…not too much) is recommended to maintain your body’s ability to face stress as it comes. If you are already low on energy, and then more stress comes your way, it’s going to be a lot worse than if you have enough natural energy stored up and ready to be consumed to face the challenge. Think “prevention” instead of “relief.”

I always make sure that I have some form of protein in my office bag or desk to ensure that I have my protein between 2:00 and 3:00 pm, and I usually carry coconut oil in my office bag to add to my coffee to make sure I have my fat to balance my sugar levels. Yes, I still drink coffee…can you imagine stopping coffee?? NO way!

4. Limit Alcohol Consumption

Too much #alcohol can negatively impact the body’s ability to withstand stress the following day. Of course, if you’ve ever had a #hangover, then you know what I’m talking about. Well, the next day, your body is struggling to recover its electrolytes and depleted neurotransmitters that it exhausted while you were out escaping yesterday’s stress.

I’m not telling you never to drink again, but maybe just a regular glass or two of wine instead of a couple of double gin and tonics eh? Naturally, the benefits of sharing a bottle of wine with some close friends, adds stress-relief in the form of social cohesion and belonging–powerful aids in boosting your ability to tolerate stress.

5. Organization

Organization is so important for so many reasons. If you maintain your work space, home space, and personal schedule in an organized manner, your can expect a significant boost in your ability to tolerate stress.

When we are aware of “what’s coming” we can prepare psychologically for it. If we’re so busy and buried under a sea of clutter, when a new stressor comes our way, we are likely to miss it, or simply become overwhelmed.

Let’s break organization down into the above-mentioned three categories:

  • Work space organization means a few things. First, you’ll want to maintain a clean and compartmentalized space (just as the woman in the photo above is displaying). Her mind is much more likely to be focused when she is not seeing a bunch of clutter out of the corner of her eye. Second, many people report feeling more creative when there’s physical space opened up–this promotes psychological expression. Do these two things effectively (and assuming you actually like where and for whom you work) you’re likely to say #ilovemyjob just as this woman in the picture apparently loves her job.
  • Home Space organization is critical too. If you leave your home space cluttered and unorganized, then a.) you are spending your time in relative chaos and are likely to feel stressed in that environment, and b.) when you return from work, you will be challenged to effectively “leave work at work” as your nervous system will be responding to the work from stress with the stress from home.
  • Personal schedule organization is listed last here, because it applies to both home and work. When consciously take the time to spread your daily tasks into appropriate chunks, it is much easier to maintain motivation for completing tasks, and it is far more likely that you will not become overwhelmed. If you are working on a huge task, break it down into little “chunks” so that your time periods are effectively used. This idea is also called #chunking.

What should be occurring during all of these areas in your life, is the necessity for taking breaks. I’m not talking about siestas every 15 minutes, but something that works for your body. For example, every hour of work, take a two or three minute break to get a glass of water or go for a few steps to stretch your legs. Improving blood flow, hydration, and modifying what your eyes are looking at, are all great ways to improve your stress tolerance because your body functions better.

So if your boss asks you why you aren’t at your desk working right now, say that you are processing information to improve your work-efficiency!

I look forward to you boosting your stress tolerance with these 5 Easy Tips to Boost Stress Tolerance. Feel free to drop me a line if you’re interested in chatting, want to leave a comment, or would like a free consultation. I’m happy to connect!

With care and respect,

Robert A. Grigore, MCP, RCC #12316

Owner & EMDRIA-Certified EMDR Therapist & Approved Consultant

www.GrigoreCounselling.com

info@GrigoreCounselling.com

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