Trauma informed keynote speaker Derek Clark is an inspiring survivor of brutal child abuse and foster care. The adverse childhood experiences that he endured motivate and rejuvenate audiences to make a positive difference in the life of a grieving child. Motivational speaker Derek Clark shares ones of his traumatic events before being saved by the foster care system, “I remember the pain. I feel the pain. I smell the pain and I see the pain. Never will I forget the memory of what was done to that innocent little five year-old boy. It is difficult to really describe the feeling of the hot scalding water burning off the majority of the skin on the top of my left hand. You could literally pull off parts of my flesh. It was awful!
I remember how angry my mother was. I wondered why I received this new kind of punishment. I kept asking, why has my mom hurt me so bad? I remember looking up at my mom and seeing her reflection in the mirror, the intense look she had, she was so focused on hurting me and taking out all of her frustration. No wonder I was diagnosed as emotionally disturbed or a “bad kid.” I was a product of my environment.
This particular abusive event has followed me throughout my life. It has literally haunted me every time I take a shower. Before I get into the shower,
I’ll test the water with my hand to make sure it isn’t too hot. Every time I touch the water, it automatically takes me back to the moment when my mother held my hand under the scalding water. It was uncontrollable. I could not block it out of my mind I just lived it over and over every day of my life. It was like a broken record, constantly repeating over and over again. I had to make sure the water wasn’t hot. I would look at my left hand and remember the skin burnt off and the pink color that showed beneath.
I would also recall this horrific event every time I washed dishes, got into a hot tub, or washed my hands. If the water even had the possibility of being hot, I would recall the awful memory of being burned. I have thought about what my mother did to me every single day of my life, ever since the day it occurred.
I believe this was the greatest obstacle to me attaining complete happiness with myself at an early age. This unhappiness followed me everywhere. Anger would flow through my heart, then sadness. Every day I had to relive that experience, and it would put me in a negative frame of mind. If I could not get over it quickly enough, this negativity would color my entire day, affecting others around me.
As a child and teenager I tried many different forms of therapy. But there is one particular kind of therapy which worked amazingly well in ridding me of the fear of hot water. I highly recommend it to others. It is called EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing)”
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically, or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes ‘frozen in time,’ and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about the event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention simulation of the brain, while the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self.
During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress. However, clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:
• personality disorders
• panic attacks
• complicated grief
• disassociative disorders
• disturbing memories
• pain disorders
• eating disorders
• performance anxiety
• stress reduction
• sexual and/or physical abuse
• body dysmorphic disorders
The above information on EMDR was from a pamphlet from the
EMDR Internal Association.
Make your conference the best one yet by hiring Derek Clark. Derek is a popular trauma informed motivational keynote speaker and a survivor that will educate and inspire your audience to never give up on a child.
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