What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR therapy, was developed to help people reduce their distress related to traumatic memories and experiences, such as in post-traumatic stress. It’s recognized as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress by the American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense.
EMDR therapy has advantages over other treatments for post-traumatic stress:
- We don't have to 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 while maintaining contact with the here and now.
- There is no EMDR homework though we will likely discuss goals and assignments to work or focus on between sessions.
Eye Movement refers to bilateral stimulation (left and right sides of the body and brain) by tracking movement on the light bar (in person) or on the screen (telehealth - remotEMDR), doing tapping (telehealth or in person), holding tappers (in person), or listening to sounds (telehealth or in person).
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/body to help with your recovery and healing
We would work 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 therapy can be a standalone treatment, or it can be combined with our other treatments, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), OCD treatment, Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR), Ego State Therapy (EST), or whatever else. We can do EMDR therapy via telehealth sessions.
Please note: With all my clients interested in EMDR therapy, I screen and/or assess for dissociative symptoms and/or dissociative disorders. Given what we figure out, we might decide to do more resourcing before doing EMDR therapy, or we might decide to do Ego State Therapy to work with parts and/or Deep Brain Reorienting to process traumatic experiences more gently.
FYI about my background: I'm trained in EMDR Therapy, and I completed the consultation sessions for certification - just need to do peer reference letters. My plan is to submit my application for EMDR certification for maybe sometime in 2023.
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 trained)