What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR, was developed to help people reduce their distress related to traumatic memories and experiences, such as in post-traumatic stress. It’s recognized as effective treatment for post-traumatic stress by the American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, and the Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense. It’s also helpful in working with other issues, including anxiety, panic, and phobias; chronic medical issues including chronic pain; depression; sexual assault; and violence and abuse.
EMDR has advantages over other treatments for post-traumatic stress:
- We don't go into detailed descriptions of the event(s) - we just talk about the headlines.
- We don't try directly challenging the not-so-helpful beliefs/thoughts - we do it in an indirect, but still helpful way (you'll see).
- We don't do extended exposures to the event(s) - the exercises are more tolerable and palatable, bite sizes at a time.
- There is no EMDR homework though we will likely discuss goals and assignments to work or focus on between sessions (that's my Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, background).
FYI: Eye Movement refers to bilateral stimulation (left and right sides of the body and brain) by tracking my back-and-forth finger/hand movements (traditional), doing bilateral tapping (my preferred method, especially with telehealth sessions), or listening to bilateral sounds.
Desensitization to the disturbing aspects of the events – could be to certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, associations, whatever
Reprocessing of distressing, unprocessed stuff in your brain/mind to help with your recovery and healing
We’d be working on the trifecta of your future triggers/events, present triggers/events, and/or past triggers/events. I'll teach you the tools you'll need for this treatment, and we'll do this reprocessing journey together. At the end of our treatment, you can leave the past behind you, cope well with what's going in the here and now, and handle whatever might happen in the future. You might notice new insights and less distress/disturbance.
EMDR can be standalone treatment, or it can be combined with our other treatments, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or Clinical Hypnosis. We can do EMDR via telehealth sessions.
Video - Introduction to EMDR Therapy from EMDR International Association
About EMDR Therapy from the EMDR International Association
Experiencing EMDR Therapy from the EMDR International Association
Link to EMDR brochure from EMDR Consulting (with whom I’m training)