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.
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?
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.
“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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Robert A. Grigore MCP, RCC#12316
EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist
EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant
Owner of Grigore Counselling