What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR follows an eight-phase protocol to enable a natural healing process. Through the use of bilateral stimulation, the brain’s information-processing system becomes activated and assists in the desensitization of targeted disturbing material so that one can learn to integrate it into a more adaptive way of living.
In other words, EMDR positively impacts our brain functioning, allowing for upsetting events to be remembered without the associated distress and disturbing symptoms. A fully processed targeted memory in EMDR will no longer produce nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, negative self-concept or emotional distress when recalled.
What do EMDR sessions look like?
Even though EMDR protocol is a collaborative process, you get to choose the pace of treatment. We work together to establish your level of stability and ability to tolerate stress. Once you feel confident with your skills, we explore what current or past experiences and behaviors that are distressing to you. You then get to decide which targets you would like to process and in what order. Some common examples of targets are panic attacks, anxiety, negative beliefs about yourself, relationship issues, relapses and past experiences. You are given the option to choose which type of bilateral stimulation (eye movement, tapping or tones) is optimal for you.
What if I don’t have PTSD or a history of trauma? Can EMDR still help?
While EMDR is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Defenses as an effective, evidence-based practice for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) it has also proven to treat the following:
Sexual and/or physical abuse
Body dysmorphic disorders