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Utilizing EMDR for Career Success

When it comes time to move your career to a new level, to go after that job in a new field, or to simply re-enter the career field, often individuals look to career counselors. The expectations of what to expect in career counseling differ, from help on a cover letter to more robust service that helps guide them from a career idea, into a new career path.

However, career counseling can offer far more than just these services. When we consider our careers, we don’t often think of the word “trauma”. However, trauma, from an interpersonal neurobiology level, is simply “too much, too fast”. Being let go, having an abusive boss, being denied a promotion again and again, the ways we can be traumatized when it comes to our careers are endless.

In addition, these career events, tend to have long-lasting impacts on our sense of self, and capabilities. If we are told again and again that we don’t deserve that next step or learn to talk ourselves out of our desires, how do we ever really reach where we are wanting to go?

It is where we need to rethink, to look at our expectations, of what career counseling can be for. Moving beyond the “simple” cover letter exercise, which can be deeply meaningful, into a work that offers something of a new way of looking at ourselves and our beliefs about our careers.

This is where EMDR, and other somatic interventions, can be deeply meaningful. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a highly effective form of therapy for resolving emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It has also been found to be helpful for individuals who are struggling with career-related issues (Luber, M. (2010).

Take James, who came in, wanting to move into a new career field. He had worked in the auto industry, for over ten years, and was wanting to make a move into IT. And even from the first meeting, you could see how talented he was. Yet, he never seemed to move beyond the first interview, even after working with a career coach, on his core interviewing skills.

When he came for his EMDR session, he was at the end of his rope. “I just don’t know how to break through this wall, I feel like I’ve been fighting myself, as I’ve also been fighting to get what I want. Throughout his intensive, James returned to this sense, and through our work began to uncover that when he has turned down for promotion three years ago, it authored a belief in him: “I am not worthy”. This belief had been there, in childhood, but through some positive experiences in college, he had learned to let it go.

However, the failure to move into this new field was authoring this belief in his body again, and he didn’t know how to let it go. Through EMDR, we worked with these memories, of being turned down for the promotion, and then all the supplicant events after, helping James begin to see and feel, how worthy he was of moving to the next stages of his career.

The intensive authored creativity in him, brought back online, all the times he had been successful in his career. We call this process in EMDR memory consolidation. The removal of the blocks that stop us from our success, and the consolidation of memories will aid us in the next steps we desire.

This is just one, of the many things, that EMDR is capable of doing. And through intensives, as well as a quality career counselor (like Aaron!) we can move into the next steps that will lead us to our goals.

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