Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is an extensively researched effective psychotherapy approach for helping people recover from many distressing life experiences. EMDR is most notably known for offering lasting relief from the negative effects of trauma. However, EMDR has also been used to effectively treat a number of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, panic disorders, eating disorders and complex pain.

How Does EMDR Help and How Does it Work?

EMDR therapy is designed to resolve memories that have been incorrectly, or maladaptively, stored in the brain, which often happens when people have experienced traumatic or disturbing events. Although many people recover from disturbing events naturally or spontaneously, oftentimes people need help. Feeling triggered in the present -your brain and body literally “thinks” that the trauma is happening now, even if you are actually safe- is a significant clue that you are experiencing unprocessed or incorrectly stored memories and you might benefit from help.

EMDR is a treatment approach that addresses the past, present and future consisting of eight-phases.  Part of the appeal of EMDR is that it does not require extensive, detailed discussion of distressing events. The time that is spent in each phase is a very different based on individual need. Our approach is to start with supporting nervous system stabilization through teaching Polyvagal Theory and use of the Window Of Tolerance, from the very first session. You will then learn and practice a variety of  coping or resourcing skills. We will spend time working on mindfulness or Noticing your present moment experience and practice experimenting with new ways of changing your thoughts, regulating your emotions. Once we agree that you are ready, we will collaboratively develop a treatment plan and progress into the next phases of treatment, which is focused on targeting and processing an emotionally and physiologically “charged”  memory or body sensation. While holding the agreed upon “target” in mind while you engage in facilitated Bilateral Stimulation or Dual Attention Stimulus (visual tracking, tapping both sides of  your your body, or listening to bilateral beeps or sounds auditorily), your brain will literally move the previously disturbing target memory from being improperly stored in your brain to being stored in an  adaptive memory network.  Once fully processed, typically, clients will report feeling “neutral” regarding the memory.  The event will not be forgotten, however your system will be desensitized to the impact; you will  notice that you are no longer reactive to people, places and circumstances that previously led to experiencing fight, flight, freeze or fawn reactions, and you will be able to perceive new possibilities for your life. Length of treatment varies depending on the complexity. However, most individuals experience significant transformation much faster than through talk therapy alone.

We invite you to view these informational videos from The EMDR Association of Australia (EMDRAA) and The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) and the Veteran's Administration (VA).

*Please Note: The length of time needed for EMDR therapy varies from person to person dependent on a number of factors and cannot be guaranteed.

*Are you tired of returning to therapy week after week and wish that there was a way to experience accelerated results? We invite you to consider  Intensive EMDR Therapy.

To learn more about how EMDR treatment may be able to help you feel free to contact us here.