What is special about trauma memories?

Normal memories are stored by a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Think of this part of the brain as a well organized librarian.

The hippocampus (your library) catalogues (processes) events and stores them in the right place. However, some traumatic events (such as accidents, abuse, disasters, or violence) are so overwhelming that the hippocampus doesn’t do its job properly. (If the librarian had experienced what you did – she may have well have run out of the library screaming – leaving those experiences unprocessed!) When this happens memories linger in various regions of your brain in their raw, unprocessed, form. This is much like leaving random books around the library to trip over. These trauma memories are then easily triggered, leading them to replay and cause distress over and again. EMDR is much like getting a skilled librarian back to work – so those memories get processed, filed and shelved for access when YOU want to access them

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