Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR can help you process painful, stuck memories and reduce the effects of trauma.

What is EMDR?

EMDR is an evidenced-based, well-researched therapy that helps you heal from the past trauma and loss that impacts your current life. It was developed in the 1980s to treat troubling symptoms of trauma and PTSD.

 

EMDR can help treat a wide range of traumas in youth and adultsincluding, but not limited to:

Any experience that made you feel unloved, unsafe, humiliated or abandoned can have a long-lasting effect that will impact your current functioning. EMDR can help treat social and generalized anxiety, phobias, dysfunctional relationship patterns, depression, low self esteem, fear of abandonment, grief, chronic pain and other symptoms of trauma.

How can EMDR help?

  • accidents

  • loss of a loved one

  • natural disasters

  • combat or first responder experiences

  • physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect

       (including bullying)

Humans have the innate capacity to process, and heal from, disturbing events and feelings. In optimal circumstances, the brain processes, and reprocesses, a painful event over time. It is then stored in our normal memory system and we can then access the memory without being unduly stressed.

 

Sometimes, however, after some traumas, our brain can become completely overwhelmed, and the way our brain processes these events doesn't work the way it should. Problems seem to become "frozen" in our minds, and the painful images, thoughts and feelings associated with the event seem to be "locked" in the nervous system, sometimes outside of our conscious awareness. These "stuck" memories then have a lasting negative effect on our emotional and social functioning. The memories remain unresolved, and can effect how you see the world, how you feel about yourself, and how you relate to others.

EMDR helps to unlock painful and negative memories, and helps the brain to more effectively reprocess old information so that it becomes less debilitating. The use of bilateral stimulation of the brain via eye movement, sound, or vibration, allows for a resumption of the normal reprocessing so that images, sounds, thoughts, and feelings can be experienced without experiencing the intensity of the event, without being overwhelmed with emotion, and without causing upset and disorganization in your life.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR is an 8-phase process, during which you are totally awake and aware. Below is an explanation of the phases, and is generally the course of EMDR treatment, but treatment may be altered to fit your unique needs.

Phase 1:  The first phase is a history-taking session(s).

Phase 2:  During the second phase of treatment, the therapist ensures that the client has several different ways of handling emotional distress.   A goal of EMDR therapy is to produce rapid and effective change while the client maintains equilibrium during and between sessions.

 

Phases 3-6:  In phases three to six, a target event or memory is identified and processed using EMDR therapy procedures.

 

Phase 7:  This is the closure phase, when the therapist asks the client to keep a log during the week.  The log should document any related material that may arise.  It serves to remind the client of the self-calming activities that were mastered in phase two.

 

Phase 8:  This phase consists of examining the progress made thus far and reflecting on the work that's been done.

source: EMDR institute

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