EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

In addition to conventional talk therapy, I also offer EMDR as a treatment option for my clients.  EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The short video below offers some insights from clients who have participated in EMDR in their treatment.

EMDR is a powerful form of treatment that can address…

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Addictions
  • Disturbing Memories
  • Traumatic Events
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Sexual Assault
  • Childhood Abuse
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias
  • Stress
  • Pain Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Grief Recovery
  • Depression

EMDR has been found to alleviate distress tied to disturbing or traumatic events. It incorporates elements of several different therapies including cognitive/behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, family systems and Somatic Experiencing. EMDR is based on the premise that we have an innate tendency toward health and wholeness and helps us to utilize the inherent healing mechanisms within the human mind.

The EMDR protocol was first developed in 1987. Since then, it has been subjected to rigorous research in 20 controlled studies.  Researchers still do not fully understand how the healing happens during the EMDR process, but studies examining treatment outcomes suggest that EMDR is as good as many other forms of trauma treatment. Some studies suggest that EMDR achieves positive treatment outcomes in less time and with less client distress as compared with other leading forms of trauma treatment.

Researchers theorize that EMDR assists the brain in organizing distressing information differently. When we are traumatized, the brain is unable to process the event as it typically does by placing the event in a narrative or chronology that makes sense as something that happened “back then.” Instead, the memory, along with associated feelings and bodily sensations, are stored in a raw and disorganized fashion in the memory network of the brain and the body. These memories and experiences can be triggered by every day events, causing the person a great deal of distress.

EMDR allows us to access that disorganized, raw material in memory, allowing the brain to re-order the data associated with the traumatic event.  It effectively “pulls the plug” on the upsetting charge of the memory, allowing an individual to recall an upsetting event without becoming overwhelmed, frightened, or feeling as though they are re-experiencing it every time they think about it.

To clarify, EMDR is not hypnosis. You remain conscious and in control of the process the entire time. EMDR does not involve erasing memories, either. You always have the memory of the incident; it simply does not hold the same painful emotional charge.

If you are interested in learning more about this treatment approach, please feel free to bring questions to your complimentary consultation. You may also go to www.emdria.org to learn more about this treatment.