One of the most effective treatments for PTSD was discovered incidentally by Francine Shapiro, PhD, in 1987. When Shapiro was hiking and became anxious and overwhelmed, she noticed that as she scanned the environment with her eyes, moving them back and forth, she began to relax. This led her to assume that eye movements had a desensitizing effect, and when she experimented with it clinically, she found that other people had the same response. It became apparent that eye movements alone weren’t comprehensive, so she added other treatment elements and developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
What happens to the family of a first responder when tragedy strikes? Well, it depends on the tragedy. If an officer gets a physical injury while on duty, there will be support from all over. I can remember when we endured our first shooting, there was a sea of officers from one end of the hospital to the other. In the following days and weeks, people brought food, cards, helped with the children, and much more. It was a very difficult time for our family. The support made it so much easier on all of us. There was a constant flow of messages, visits, cards, etc. We knew we had support. There were still difficult days, but the support was there.
A few years later, when PTSD crept into our lives, there was utter silence. There was no one coming with food. There were no cards. There were no messages. People avoided us like we had the plague. As he slipped deeper into PTSD, I found myself completely isolated and alone as I tackled daily life. My days were spent working, caring for the children, cleaning, cooking, running to practices, and all the while trying to determine his mental state every day to determine what would be of utmost importance that day.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that is used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People suffering from PTSD find it difficult to process thoughts, negative memories, or upsetting feelings that are related to the trauma they suffered. EMDR treatment helps individuals effectively process these types of experiences in order to heal and achieve symptom relief. People suffering from PTSD struggle to make sense of their experiences, but EMDR was developed to help them heal from traumas they may never fully understand.
What Is PTSD?