What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a trauma focused, integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and other mental health issues. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from different treatment approaches.
It’s based on the premise that our brains have an Adaptive Information Processing System, which is responsible for naturally processing and digesting life experiences and emotions, constantly updating our reality and trying to make sense of life as we move forward.
Sometimes, adverse life experiences or trauma can be hard for our system to digest, so material can become stuck or maladaptively stored in our brain, resulting in distressing emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations. This unprocessed, stuck material can even impact our beliefs about ourselves or our world, creating a negative lens through which we experience life. It can also cause us to feel triggered when we are reminded through our senses of the unresolved material.
EMDR therapy can help you to reprocess unresolved traumatic memories in your brain. so that normal healing can resume, thus alleviating symptoms and allowing you to heal.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR therapy uses a technique called bilateral stimulation to repeatedly activate opposite sides of the brain. Therapists often use eye movements or other tactile forms, like tapping, to facilitate the bilateral stimulation while having the client focus on a particular target. One hypothesis of why this works is that bilateral eye movements mimic the period of REM sleep, which is when the mind does it’s processing work.
What do EMDR Therapy sessions feel like?
I will guide you through the 8 phases of EMDR, starting with gathering history and conceptualizing presenting issues, mental health history, trauma history. Several sessions will be spent in the preparation phase, which will allow you to build resources, grounding skills, and coping strategies.
Once you are ready, EMDR desensitization and reprocessing sessions will occur. These sessions are experiential and allow you to integrate thoughts, beliefs about yourself, emotions, and body sensations as you move toward healing.
Many clients report that they feel relief after just a few EMDR therapy sessions.
What does EMDR help?
EMDR had been originally established as helpful for PTSD, although it’s been proven useful for treatment in the following conditions:
- Panic Attacks
- Self-esteem issues
- Grief & Loss
- Disturbing Memories
- Pain Disorders
- Performance Anxiety
- Stress Reduction
- Sexual and/or Physical Abuse
- Attachment issues
- Recent traumatic events
Contact me to see if EMDR therapy might help you!