Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an approach to treatment that focuses on how trauma from our past and present, or fears about the future, are getting “stuck” in mostly unconscious parts of our minds and blocking our ability to heal and move forward. These traumatic memories trigger overactions that can manifest themselves in panic attacks, extreme avoidance behaviors, disassociation, mood dysregulation, acute stress or anxiety, compulsive behavior, and other areas that substantially impact quality of life.

EMDR uses eye movements like those we automatically experience during REM sleep to tap into our brain’s adaptive information processing system, its natural ability to heal itself. During these eye movements, the therapist works with the client to maintain grounding in the present moment while desensitizing and reprocessing the stuck trauma and negative thought patterns associated with it. The therapist and client then work to install new adaptive ways of thinking that build resilience while providing relief from previous traumatic blocks.

EMDR has emerged as one of the leading treatments for various forms of trauma and phobias, and is being utilized to effectively treat a variety of other disorders including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, gender dysphoria, dissociative disorders, and personality disorders. EMDR therapy is effective for kids and adults alike.

Learn more about EMDR on EMDRIA by clicking here: https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/

Is EMDR right for me?

If you have experienced trauma, you know firsthand how paralyzing it can be. Any person or event that triggers a reminder of the trauma can mean the difference between being able to function or completely shutting down, losing control, or running away. Our brain’s natural defense mechanism in a life and death or otherwise terrifying situation is to activate its flight, fright, or freeze response as a way of ensuring our survival. While that autonomic response helps us survive during that event, it can greatly inhibit our quality of life when it overreacts across future settings. EMDR differs from traditional forms of talk therapy in that the client is not required to provide detailed narratives of the trauma story and therefore is not triggered in the same way they otherwise may be. For some clients who are reluctant to have to relive the trauma through detailed expression, EMDR provides a welcome alternative. If you have noticed a lack of ability to maintain a sense of calm no matter how hard you try and you believe it may be related to painful events you have experienced, EMDR can be a great treatment option for you. This is especially true if you have tried other forms of treatment, gained a conceptual understanding of where this stress and/or anxiety response is coming from, learned ways of coping, but still have been unable to move forward and gain relief from your symptoms. EMDR is one of the few therapeutic treatments that is able to tap into our neurological processes in a way that produces lasting, healing change from even the darkest of memories.