Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

What is EMDR

EMDR therapy is a powerful method that supports individuals in addressing suppressed traumas, promoting healing, and fostering the emergence of positive emotions. It utilizes bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movement, to facilitate the brain's natural healing process. Unlike traditional therapy, which focuses on discussing thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to distressing issues, EMDR aims to help individuals process deeply held traumas at a physiological level.

By initiating bilateral stimulation, EMDR encourages the brain to reorganize negative memories and decrease associated stress. This restructuring of thinking allows more positive emotions to emerge in one's mind, leading to a sense of healing and well-being. EMDR does not require an extensive conversation about the distressing concerns but instead focuses on facilitating the brain's innate ability to process and resolve traumatic experiences.

What to Expect

The Eight-Phased EMDR Protocol is a step-by-step process that I will guide you through. I have provided a simple summary of each phase:

  1. Client History and Treatment Planning: You and I will discuss your history, therapy goals, emotional stability, and current circumstances.
  2. Preparation: I will explain the EMDR process, potential emotional reactions and teach you relaxation techniques.
  3. Assessment: You will choose a negative event and image, identify negative and positive thoughts about it, rate your distress level, and notice physical sensations.
  4. Desensitization: Bilateral stimulation (like eye movements or tapping) engages your brain. Sets of stimulation are repeated until your distress decreases or disappears.
  5. Installation: The focus is on strengthening the positive thought you chose. Your distress level should be near zero. Brief sets of bilateral stimulation are used.
  6. Body Scan: I will ask you to notice each body area while holding the target event in mind. Any remaining tension is targeted with bilateral stimulation.
  7. Closure: The session ends, bringing you back to calmness. You may keep a journal as images, memories, or thoughts may arise after treatment.
  8. Reevaluation: The next session starts with an assessment to determine the next steps and identify other negative experiences to address.

EMDR therapy is complete when you feel emotional relief from the targeted negative experience. The event becomes a faint memory, no longer defining your life, and associated symptoms are resolved.

Why EMDR Can Help

Trauma can profoundly affect your brain and beliefs, causing distressing thoughts, emotions, and vivid images. It may make you feel stuck or overwhelmed as if you're still in danger. But there's hope.

EMDR therapy facilitates a natural healing process beyond superficially managing these memories. It gently guides individuals to stay present in their mind and body while accessing past traumas. Although the experiences may still be remembered, the survival instincts of "fight, flight, freeze, or fawn" resolve, and similar stressors or situations no longer trigger negative reactions. Many clients experience immediate relief and a sense of safety following EMDR sessions. It provides an effective and efficient approach to treating trauma and is available to help you.