Activating the brain to overcome trauma: the “celebrity treatment” available in Natal – 05/14/2022 – News

Matthews Fernandez


Since the end of last year, a new therapeutic approach has been introduced in Rio Grande do Norte to the residents of Natal. This is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, in EMDR, which in Portuguese means eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This technique works by activating painful memories that affect the patient’s routine with the aim of making them adaptive and thus overcome. To achieve these results, sensory devices are used to stimulate the brain.

Alex Regis
Sensory devices are used to stimulate the brain and activate traumatic memories that affect the patient's routine such as fears and trauma.

Sensory devices are used to stimulate the brain and activate traumatic memories that affect the patient’s routine such as fears and trauma.

EMDR was developed by American scientist Francine Shapiro to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This approach has even been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) to treat patients with this condition. Additionally, since it is a technology that works with the memory network, compulsive behaviors can also be addressed through it.

In Natal, this approach is used by psychologist Smila Gomez, who trained at the Francine Shapiro Institute in California (USA). She already has 25 years of professional experience and after studying abroad, she started her EMDR application in the capital of Butteguar last year, at Instituto Personale.

“When life is disrupted and you can’t unlock it, with all the resources you have and still can’t, they end up here in the office. Let’s decode the network of memories with the patient to understand where they came from, so we can desensitize and reprocess them,” explains psychologist Samila Gomez.

What he seeks to unlock, in addition to traumas such as thefts, rapes, and disasters, are fears, such as boarding a plane or being in high places, sudden sadness, repetitive behavior, and involuntary sensations caused by negative memories, from the newest to the oldest. At first, what seems to be no explanation may be related to the traumatic experience the patient has.

Magnus Nascimento
After studying abroad, psychologist Samila Gomez began applying EMDR therapy in Natal at the Instituto Personali.

After studying abroad, psychologist Samila Gomez began applying EMDR therapy in Natal at the Instituto Personali.

Psychologist Smila Gomez reports that a portion of her patients experienced trauma as children, with symptoms reaching adulthood. Family therapy, a tragic episode, or bullying at school are common factors for the emergence of so-called maladaptive memories. They are responsible for the psychological symptoms of distress and tension in patients and the goal of EMDR treatment.

“Desensitization is making that memory understandable in another way, so that the body feels less of the effects and sensations. Then we reprocess it, that is, when you take that memory and give it another meaning, another meaning. So those thoughts about ‘I’m not good, I’m not good at what’ Enough, I’m not worthy, I’m a failure, I’m not safe” All those negative thoughts associated with memory are reprocessed into another meaning “Yes, I deserve it.” I’m good, I can do it,” Samila Gomez said.

Technology and Equipment

The therapy, as its name suggests, works with desensitization and reprocessing of traumatic memories. For this purpose, equipment is used to generate bilateral stimuli in the brain. The main instrument is a light strip programmed to emit visual signals that follow a horizontal arrangement, from side to side. In practice, this procedure enhances communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This is the first step in activating memory.

In addition to eye movement, called therapy, other sensory stimuli have also been used over time, such as the use of headphones and tactile devices, for example. In order to decode the motive behind the shock, the psychologist adjusts the speed of the impulses, whether in light, sound, or touch, to search for memories. Psychologist Samila Gomez says that the more advanced the trauma, the longer the treatment process tends to last.

“When we close the diagnosis, it’s not necessarily the first session, sometimes it takes one, two or three sessions to really understand. That’s when we say we can access the main memory. If that main memory is newer memory, that is, if What’s hindering your life is something that happened after the theft, or after an earthquake or something like that, which is newer, it’s a smaller protocol. But if your main memory is from 4 years, it’s a much longer job, because you’ll desensitize many of the memories associated with it,” The professional explains.

Because of this difference in each case, the number of sessions in treatment depends on the diagnosis and is determined by the degree to which the patient is examined. The EMDR treatment process follows a protocol that ranges from gathering the first information about the trauma to testing whether previous wounds have healed and that the treatment has been successful. The results are evaluated as positive when the memories are declared to be adaptive. That is, the body looks at them so that they no longer show bad sensations when they are activated in the patient’s routine.

District researcher, Semila Gomez, began offering virtual reality resources to evaluate treatment outcomes. The suggestion is to introduce the patient into a digital scenario similar to an experienced trauma and see how they react. Activities are developed with the support of IT professionals.


A survey published by the Ministry of Health in April placed Natal as the second capital in the northeast with the largest number of depressed adults and raised the alarm about the disease. Natal has 11.8% of records in this part of the population. EMDR therapy is also an ally in combating this condition, with positive results in disorders such as anxiety, sadness, chemical dependence, bipolar disorder, and psychosomatic illness.

According to psychologist Samila Gomez, mental health is just as important as physical health and requires care from qualified professionals as soon as possible. “We have to stop taking prejudice about mental health, people often take a long time to seek help and then end up suffering more serious conditions, which affect people’s lives so much. Everyone should go to therapy to feel better. Those who understand that their lives Buried, they’re looking for a specialist early.”

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