Treatment for Recent Traumatic Events

I am trained to help adults who have experienced a recent traumatic event with the use of EMDR therapy. Recent event traumas are generally characterized by a traumatic event that has happened within the last 2-3 months. Examples of recent event traumas include: being a victim of a crime, experiencing a natural disaster, automobile accident or any other life threatening situation. Because it is a recent event it has not had enough time to fully consolidate in the clients mind. Therefore, I use special EMDR protocols for processing these memories compared to older memories that have had time to consolidate.  In addition, if a client has not returned to a post trauma, safety period then I am trained to address that as well.

Clients can benefit by receiving EMDR therapy for recent traumatic events as early as possible, often within the first few days following the event. Early intervention with EMDR helps the client to process the event during the “Acute Stress” response phase before the memory has fully consolidated. Early intervention helps to preventing symptoms of PTSD.


Trauma can be categorized into “Big T’s,” and “Little t’s” traumas.

A “Big T” trauma: is a major traumatic life event. A “Big T,” would be a single or series of severely traumatic experiences. If the event happened recently then it could be considered a “recent traumatic event.” Common examples of “Big T” traumas would include; war, rape and major accidents. Typically, single incident “Big T” traumas can processes with EMDR relatively quickly with fewer sessions than “little t” traumas. Most people experience reduction in distress within the first few sessions, and often even after the first session.

“Little t” traumas: are a accumulation or a series of traumatic or abusive events. Several “Little t’s” can be described as a series of less traumatic events over a period of time. Some of these events may not even be recognizable to the individual as a “Little t,” but remain as implicit memory. Some examples of “Little t” traumas include; childhood neglect and abuse, repeated verbal abuse from a close family member or authority figure, bullying, domestic violence, witnessing violence to others, vicarious trauma, racial or ethnic discrimination, experiencing medical crisis and complicated grief. “Little t” traumas are more common than “Big T” traumas. In fact, people may not even identify them as traumatic. “Little t” traumas usually require more EMDR therapy sessions to process.

Although, “Big T” trauma is more closely associated with PTSD we can also get PTSD from “little t” traumas too. Clients who have a history of “little t” traumas may also experience Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). EMDR therapy can be helpful for both “Big T” and “little t” traumas.

How Does it Work?

EMDR therapy can quickly stops the fight, flight and freeze response that has been activated and allows you to feel a greater sense of calm. We as humans are designed to heal, to recover and to flourish. EMDR therapy calms the amygdala in the brain that is our alarm center causing survival response of fight, flight and freeze.  Many people who have experienced a life or death situation may feel depressed, afraid, lethargic, have shallow breathing, feel cold or paralyzed. They can feel immobile and may want to isolate themselves from others. EMDR therapy will help you to come out of the physiology of the shock response. EMDR therapy is a powerful and effective form of treatment to end suffering!