Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), is an evidenced-based treatment applied to a broad range of issues including trauma, anxieties, depression, body dysmorphia, grief, phobias, and OCD.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.
EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
EMDR is a research based therapy with over 20 years of scientific validation and currently a top rated treatment for trauma.
Brain research shows that trauma significantly alters not only brain chemistry but also brain structure. PET brain scans have shown that EMDR facilitates neurobiological repair.
Neurobiology of Trauma
Most of the time your body routinely manages new information and experiences without your awareness. However, when something out of the ordinary occurs and you are traumatized by an overwhelming event (a car accident) or by being repeatedly subjected to distress (childhood neglect), your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded. This overloading can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain or being "unprocessed.” Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings, negative thoughts, uncomfortable body sensations and disturbing images are continually triggered in the present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited.
Traumatic incidents are stored differently in the brain than non-traumatic experiences. The emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions, which were appropriate at the time of the trauma, can be triggered throughout the person’s life at times when trauma is not present. This results in symptoms such as anxiety, chronic pain, stickiness and difficulty sleeping.
EMDR assists clients in reprocessing (revisiting and relearning) earlier life incidents that have contributed to their present day symptoms. Doing so allows those older memories to be stored correctly in the brain so that emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions are no longer triggered. EMDR also assists clients in uncovering the beliefs that developed as a result of earlier life experiences, and helps them to remove these negative beliefs. EMDR assists the client in replacing the negative beliefs with positive, adaptive beliefs about themselves. The traumatic memory tends to lose its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past.
How Long Does EMDR Therapy Take?
Double sessions of 60 or 90 minutes are recommended for EMDR therapy, but the type of problem, life circumstance, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR therapy may be used within our standard "talking therapy" or as a treatment all by itself. In limited cases, it can also be used as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist.