Why would I want to use EMDR treatment versus regular therapy?
EMDR can be a compliment to what we think of as ‘regular talk therapy’ but it is not traditional talk-therapy, it’s more of a mindfulness-based therapy. It is a well-researched treatment that involves working with body sensations, emotions, memories, and core-self beliefs in eliminating painful past experiences.
EMDR helps to heal emotional wounds from the past, so you can move forward in a healthier way. EMDR typically helps heal trauma much quicker than traditional therapy because it quickly works between your left and right brain to reprocess.
Can EMDR treatment be used with any age group?
Yes, anyone who can verbalize their trauma can participate in EMDR. For children, they should be able to speak in full sentences about what has happened to them or what they experienced but do not need to be able to read or write.
What can I expect during an EMDR session? How long are the sessions?
EMDR is a structured therapy approach that follows a set protocol for everyone who practices it. It follows 8 phases that begin with information gathering and end with reprocessing the trauma. When using it in session, you and your therapist will discuss how to use bilateral stimulation such as tappers that buzz between your hands, tapping yourself on your knees or arms, or following an object with your eyes. In a session you will focus on finding the root of your trauma as it pertains to what you are experiencing now. Most sessions are as long or short as any other session with your therapist, 45-55 minutes.
Are there specific disorders that EMDR work for?
EMDR is ideal for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, grief/loss, addictions, phobias, trauma and post-traumatic stress
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
It utilizes bilateral stimulation to maximize treatment effects to make more progress in less time and often it is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.
The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.
In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.” Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.
The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.