EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a proven effective treatment for trauma including PTSD, complicated grief, panic attacks, disturbing memories, anxiety, and abuse. EMDR is administered only by trained and licensed therapists and can be a powerful treatment modality. I actively use EMDR with the majority of my clients both online and in-person and see both adults and children. Fully committed to the treatment, I attend ongoing trainings and work closely with an EMDR consultant and trainer. I am honored to witness the healing EMDR offers!
The Purpose of EMDR
EMDR helps your brain turn relivings — traumatic experiences — into normal memories. EMDR can help shift from living past painful experiences as if they are happening in the present to normal memories of “I remember when…” While EMDR does not erase the memories of past events, It helps detach the pain and trauma from those experiences. A body-based technique of eye movements or other bilateral stimulation is used to help your brain reprocess those memories and essentially shift them to normal memories without that distress attached. There is no doubt that our brains have an adaptive – and miraculous – capacity to heal itself! EMDR can help give a jumpstart when needed. My role as the therapist is to be the banister to the stairs that you climb. Using my experience and training, I gently guide and support you through the process…and get out of your way!
EMDR & Grief
EMDR can be incredibly powerful with Grief that feels stuck… Nothing can ever take the sadness completely away because what is sad is sad. What EMDR can do is encourage your brain to separate the locked-in trauma & distress from the Grief so that you are free to create an ongoing connection to your loved one, which, ultimately, promotes healing. One of the fascinating aspects of this treatment is how language is used. In traditional talk therapy, we use language to talk about these traumatic experiences, and sometimes we can spend years talking about similar feelings and themes. EMDR asks that we be very intentional with how we use language because we want the brain activated in a different way. Your brain is holding these memories already, so you do not have to talk in detail with me the oftentimes excruciatingly painful details which in itself can be traumatizing.
The EMDR Session
Following EMDR’s 8 phase protocol over several sessions, we talk about your presenting concerns (your current location), the beliefs you hold (the map you have been using), your past experiences (your past locations), and your future dreams (your future location!). Time is spent practicing grounding techniques to use both in sessions and throughout your week (tools for the road). And, when you are ready, we begin reprocessing using bilateral stimulation which can take a variety of forms such as tapping, butterfly hugs, drawing, or a light bar. Reprocessing activates the memories while your brain is receiving that bilateral stimulation, and we notice deeply and intently without judgement what your brain brings up. An EMDR reprocessing session enables negative pieces of the traumatic event leave and allows positive, adaptive and realistic information to enter.
- EMDR is recommended as an effective treatment for trauma. – American Psychiatric Association (2004). Practice Guideline for theTreatment of Patients with Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic StressDisorder. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines.
- CBT and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing were the most often-studied types of psychotherapy. Both were effective. – Watts, B.V. et al. (2013). Meta-analysis of the efficacy of treatments forposttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 74, e541-550.doi: 10.4088/JCP.12r08225
- – Mavranezouli I, Megnin-Viggars O, Grey N, Bhutani G, Leach J, Daly C, et al. (2020) Cost-effectiveness of psychological treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder in adults. PLoS ONE 15(4): e0232245. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232245
- Children (n=52, aged 4-18) were randomly allocated to either CBT (n=26) or EMDR (n=26)in a disaster mental health after-care setting after an explosion of a fireworks factory. . . Both treatment approaches produced significant reductions on all measures and results weremaintained at follow-up. Treatment gains of EMDR were reached in fewer sessions. – de Roos, C. Greenwald, R., den Hollander-Gijsman, M, Noorthoorn, E.,van Buuren, S. & de Jongh, A. (2011). A randomised comparison ofcognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitisation andreprocessing (EMDR) in disaster exposed children. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 2: 5694 – DOI: 10.3402/ejpt.v2i0.5694