Archive of ‘Attachment’ category

EMDR 101

Maybe you have heard about EMDR and you are curious about what it is or if it may be a good fit for you? EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It essentially mimics the processing that occurs during REM sleep to help your brain reorganize and heal difficult memories and “unstick” negative beliefs. This is done by administering bi-lateral stimulation through eye movements or tappers – helping both hemispheres of your brain to “turn on” at the same time while processing a memory.

Now, if you are like me, this may sound too easy or maybe just too woo-hooey for you. I felt this way also when I first heard about EMDR… and I am a trained professional in this field! But let me bring you some support as to why this works. For the ease of understanding, let’s think of your memory network like a filing cabinet and the information your brain gathers as pieces of paper. In “normal” daily situations, our brains take in mass amounts of information and filter it through a process to collect necessary data, file it where it needs to be accessed appropriately, and gets rid of what we do not need to keep. However, when we are under threat or a high stress event occurs, the processing gets interrupted and information gets stored incorrectly. When this happens, it causes distress, flashbacks, dysfunctional beliefs, and triggers.

In a controlled manner, EMDR allows you to bring up the triggering pieces of paper, encourages the brain to look and re-identify it, and then correctly files it where it needs to go. By reprogramming the traumatic memory, you remove the upsetting emotions that come with it and it will become neutral or even positive!

Please understand that this does NOT take away experiences or make lessons learned from the event non-existent. It simply removes the real-time distress and anxious responses from it. This is still part of your story and part of what has shaped the positive aspects of who you are- but the negative effects no longer need to follow you.

EMDR is a gentle option to treatment. It is most known for working with traumatic memories, but it is also great for when you feel “stuck” and can not seem to get around harmful patterns or negative beliefs. If this is you, EMDR might be perfect to refile those papers and get you back on track!

By: Grace Shook, LPC

How to Cope with the Loss of a Loved One

If you are struggling with how to cope with the loss of a loved one, this information might be very helpful. 

Humans are biologically wired for attachment. Unlike other mammals, we are born entirely dependent on our caregivers for many months. In order to ensure the survival of the species, the brain and body respond to the distress of the infant in particular, and to people more generally. We adhere to this attachment paradigm for the duration of our lives, through our relationships with siblings, friends, colleagues, romantic partners, and of course our children. Thus we assign meaning to our lives is largely to the extent to which we feel close to and connected with others. We simply aren’t built to live in isolation.

By: Andrew Wade, LMFT-Associate Supervised by Nadia Bakir, LMFT-S

By: Andrew Wade, LMFT-Associate
Supervised by Nadia Bakir, LMFT-S

Grief Has Powerful Biological Effects

The powerful biological and environmental force that shapes and reinforces the intricate web of relationships inevitably creates an interdependence between who we are as individuals and who we are in relation to others. Sometimes the lines become blurred. Who hasn’t wondered, “Without you in my life, I don’t know what I would do, I don’t know who I would be.” It’s almost unimaginable to lose the other that is in part a reflection, or even an embodiment of who we are. And yet we invariably do.

Relationship Loss is Tough

Just as every relationship is unique, so is our response to losing it. While it is critical to acknowledge the individual, personal nature of grief, it is equally important to recognize the universality of grief, and the ways we can profoundly connect with others while grieving. For most people in the United States, grief is something to endure in relative isolation before returning to normal life. After an initial outpouring of support and engaging in cultural or religious customs that honor the dead, we are left to grieve alone.

Making sense of a world turned upside down by grief is challenging, and it doesn’t have to be undertaken alone. In light of our need for attachment, it often requires the ongoing support and help of others to do so in a healthy way. For some, staying engaged with friends and family is most helpful; others need involvement in a spiritual community; and for others joining a bereavement group or individual grief therapy is useful. The important thing to remember is that there is support available if we seek it out.

Grief is Nothing to Feel Ashamed Of

Grief is a normal, natural response to loss. It is not something to feel ashamed of. It can be extremely painful, but it can also be the source of incredible strength, resilience, and meaning. The idea that we must endure grief and return to our former selves not only demands the impossible, but undermines the transformative nature of grief. Phillis Levin, in her poem, Vigil, beautifully depicts the mystery and wonder, even cosmic nature of the grief experience.


Why not wake at dawn? Why not break

From the coffin at night, whose nails

Are the only stars left. Why not follow

A tear like a comet’s tail, and trail

The grief of a year until it ends-

Who knows where. Why not wake

At dawn, after all is gone, and go on?



1 6 7 8