(Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
EMDR Therapy can help you to resolve painful memories from the past; after these memories are resolved you get to feel calm and safe again and no longer “stirred up” when reminded of difficulties in your past.
EMDR can also help you reduce stress, increase confidence, and feel more positively about yourself and your future.
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based practice that has been shown through over 25 years of research to effectively decrease or eliminate the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, and Depression.
Research has show that EMDR can be a rapid and effective treatment.
EMDR was originally developed to treat the effects of trauma. It is also commonly reported to be helpful with:
- Achieving Peak Performance in Sports, Public Speaking, and Academics.
- Improving Self-Esteem and Reducing Stress.
- Decreasing Performance Anxiety.
- Reducing Panic.
- Letting go of Negative Beliefs about Yourself, the World, and Others.
- Reducing or Resolving Emotional Issues Related to Painful Memories. Stress, Mood, or Anxiety.
A bibliography of the extensive 25+ years of research about the benefits of EMDR can be found at the EMDR International Association’s website: www.emdria.org
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. That is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? EMDR is an 8-phase therapeutic process discovered by an American Psychologist, Francine Shapiro, in 1987 The eight phases include: History and Treatment Planning, Preparation, Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, Body Scan, and Closure. While true EMDR utilizes all 8 phases, when people talk about EMDR, they are generally referring to the Desensitization stage. This is the stage which involves Bilateral Stimulation, which can be done through various types of alternating bilateral stimulations including eye movement, tapping on the knees or hands, using hand-held buzzers, or listening to auditory stimuli. As a therapist, I typically use hand-held buzzers, as do many therapists.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR can very fast acting. Because of the bilateral stimulation, people are able to process through their issues much more quickly and effectively than traditional talk therapy. Essentially, the Bilateral Stimulation works with both hemispheres of the brain to help desensitize the neural pathways the brain currently uses when thinking about a traumatic event (Desensitization Stage). The Bilateral Stimulation is then able to create new neural pathways in the brain to install a stronger, more positive belief (Installation Stage).
One of the aspects about EMDR I most appreciate is that clients can experience it in many different ways. For some it involves thoughts, memories, or feelings. For others, the process may involve more physical sensations such as pressure in the chest. Regardless of how people process through their target issue, the goal is to reduce the distress associated with the target issue.
Common Questions About EMDR
Oftentimes I am asked if EMDR erases painful memories. It does not. You will still have all of your memories. However, after EMDR you will no longer feel “triggered” by them.
Another frequent question involves the hand-held buzzers. People are sometimes concerned that they are painful or if EMDR is like Electroshock therapy (now known as Electroconvulsive Therapy). The buzzers are not painful at all (they just vibrate, like a cell phone). EMDR is not connected with Electroconvulsive Therapy.