EMDR, Who is it for?
EMDR therapy is most commonly used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it may also be beneficial for individuals with anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, or addictions. It is a medication-free treatment option that can be used alone or in conjunction with medication treatment.
The best way I can describe it as that the event(trauma) that has been weighing so heavy on your mind and body no longer has that powerful hold on you. Your memories are not removed, rather when you think of the specific memory after doing EMDR, it doesn't cause you to freeze up, to ruminate on it over and over again. The memory happened, but you can move on with your life in a positive, fulfilling way.
One client put it this way, "I'm no longer stuck in the past, and I know it's not my fault."
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How does EMDR work?
When we experience a traumatic event or events, the parts of our brain that get physically and emotionally activated (the amygdala and hippocampus) go into hyperdrive. The amygdala can be thought of as our survival brain where we experience emotional and fearful memories. The hippocampus regulates short-term memory processes.
When we are in this state of hyperarousal, one of the parts of our brain involved in rational thought (the prefrontal cortex) cannot function as it would when we are in a calm state, leading to fragmented memories. We don’t have the neurological capacity to store traumatic or disturbing events in a synchronous manner. Instead, the memories may become “stuck” in the survival region of the brain and left unprocessed.
EMDR is thought to synchronize these brain regions (survival and rational), which helps us process the memory in an integrated manner, leading to the release of traumatic memories and the emotional experiences that have remained in the nervous system.
The method used to synchronize these brain regions is bilateral stimulation — a right-left rapid eye movement guided by the therapist using a finger or hand or wand, or by touch (tactile tapping) or auditory tones. Bilateral stimulation, a cornerstone of EMDR therapy, simulates what happens in the brain during REM sleep when our brain uses bilateral eye movements to integrate information from the day.
I would love to work with you to "Rise Above" past or present trauma, and help you on your journey to live your best life. Feel free to reach out with any questions. I offer a free consultation to see if we would be a good fit. From the time we first talk or interact, everything is completely confidential. The best time to begin is now! Just click on the Get Started button to begin a journey to a new you.
More information is available on EMDR here.
EMDR, what happens in session?
EMDR therapy can take place either in-person or online as a telehealth session. There will be an emotional focus while engaging in sets of bilateral stimulation such as eye movements or tones. EMDR is an eight-phase treatment method. These include: history taking, client preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure and reevaluation of treatment effect.
EMDR, Benefits / Outcomes
Moving on after a traumatic event is one of the most difficult tasks imaginable, but EMDR therapy can make it possible. Once a trauma has been ingrained in your mind, it can be tough to avoid triggers that make you feel like you’re reliving the experience. EMDR allows your brain to reorganize the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are connected to your trauma so that you no longer feel like you’re ruled by the event.
Addresses Anxiety and Circular Thinking
EMDR therapy can be effective for treating generalized anxiety, phobias, and other anxiety disorders because it helps you let go of your circular thinking patterns. When an anxious thought spiral is ingrained in your mind, it can feel inescapable. With the help of EMDR, though, you can learn to address your fears and worries without becoming lost in your anxiety.
Improves Perspective on Self
Maybe past failures or criticisms have gotten trapped in your head, or maybe your negative inner voice simply tells you that you’re not good enough.
EMDR can help you break these thinking habits and replace them with new, positive beliefs about yourself and your world. By reprocessing the beliefs or experiences that have affected your self-image, you’ll overcome your automatic negative thoughts and learn to relate more positively to yourself.
Doesn’t Require Much Talking
Before you and I begin, you will talk about your background, your goals for the treatment, and your expectations. The actual treatment requires little talking, though. I will encourage you to focus on your negative thoughts or memories while they guide you through the eye movements, so your experience will be mostly internal. After the session, we can discuss your experience.
If it’s hard for you to talk about your trauma, your depressive thoughts, or other negative experiences, EMDR may be an easier and less stressful form of therapy. You’re not shying away from your emotions or your trauma, but you don’t have to find the words to express how you feel.
No therapy shows results overnight, but EMDR tends to be a short-term treatment. Most people attend eight to 12 weekly sessions, and the results are typically permanent. This is especially valuable for people who have limited time or funding for therapy as it makes mental healthcare more accessible for them. It’s easier to commit to a few months of treatment than it is to commit to years of sessions.