What the heck is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, known as EMDR therapy, addresses the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences.
EMDR is a form of therapy that is really different from traditional talk-therapy. When we’ve experienced trauma our brains store that traumatic memory differently than regular everyday memories. Therefore, every time we’re reminded of that trauma we may experience a visceral, negative bodily reaction. This reaction is usually subconscious and creates maladaptive ways of dealing with the world.
EMDR has shown that our minds can heal from psychological trauma the same way that our bodies heal from physical trauma. When you cut your hand your body automatically starts to repair the injury. If you keep injuring that hand and don’t keep it bandaged it will become infected and continue to cause pain. The same thing happens with psychological pain, our brains can stay in a wounded state.
How is EMDR Different from Other Therapies?
How can EMDR Therapy Help with the Healing Process?
EMDR Therapy for Children and Youth
“Courtesy of EMDR International Association” https://www.emdria.org
Does this stuff really work?
EMDR is a research-based therapy with over 25+ years of scientific validation. There are more scientific studies showing that EMDR is effective for the treatment of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) than any other treatment method out there.
EMDR has been proven effective in the treatment of:
- Addictive behaviors
- Creativity – “Flow” Development
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Emotional eating
- Experiences/Memories that are painful to recall
- Loss and Grief
- Pain reduction – more information can be found at Dr. Mark Grant’s website: www.overcomingpain.com
- Performance enhancement: Athletic/academic/musical/professional/general
- Procrastination/avoidance behaviors/ indecision
- Relationship enrichment/healing
- Self-esteem improvement
- Stress management
- Trauma: violence/abuse, car accidents, natural disasters
EMDR works for both a single incident trauma (like a car accident or natural disaster) and for complex trauma (chronic childhood deprivation and/or abuse).
What’s it like to have an EMDR Therapy session?
EMDR is a structured therapy, there are 8 phases that your clinician will guide you through. Basically, the point of the treatment is to reduce your distressing emotional reactions associated with your trauma history. Your clinician will ask you to briefly focus on one of your traumatic memories while you simultaneously experience bilateral stimulation. In our offices we use a tool called a tapper, you hold one in each hand and it vibrates back and forth. If you’re doing EMDR virtually there is a software program that you would install that guides you to follow a dot back and forth and the bilateral stimulation is accomplished visually.
You hold onto the tapper, or follow the dot back and forth with your eyes, and just notice whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control the direction or content of your thoughts. Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values. Sets of eye movements, or bilateral stimulation with tappers, are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self; for example, “I did the best I could.” During EMDR, you may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance they feel.
EMDR works best when a client is able to process their trauma memory(s) from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately, our insurance system does not reimburse clinicians for longer than an hour session. The clinicians at Seasons Psychotherapy Associates that are trained in EMDR will certainly work within the time constraints of an hour session when necessary. Please be aware that multiple sessions will most likely be required when we have to start and stop trauma processing. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. The clinicians at Seasons offer intensive sessions in which a client may come in for multiple hours at a time and receive 5-10 weeks worth of therapy in a weekend, this is a great way to feel better quickly. Intensive sessions are not covered by most insurance plans and are self-pay. Please see our blog post about intensives on this website. EMDR may be used in combination with standard “talking” therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
The following clinicians are trained in EMDR at Seasons Psychotherapy Associates: Carol Mirones, Karli Gallo, Crystal Worth, and T’shelle Taylor.