Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy
EMDR is a physiological technique that utilizes the brain's natural healing process to target and relieve stress that is being stored from past events.
When a distressing event occurs, it is natural for our stress responses of fight, flight or freeze to kick in. Most often we can process these events and file away the memories.
Sometimes the distressing memory gets stuck and requires some assistance to be processed and filed away. When the disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, or being back in that moment, or of being "frozen in time."* It may also connect with other distressing memories and create an overactive stress response.
EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the stress response from the original event is resolved.* (*emdria.org)
How does EMDR work?
A small device with headphones and hand pulsars is used to stimulate bilateral stimulation of the brain. Bilateral stimulation is the alternating stimulation of the right and left hemisphere. This is done with sounds through the headphones and vibrations through the hand pulsars. Sometimes the usage of lights or hand motions to stimulate Rapid Eye Movement is used.
Does it hurt?
No. The only sensations are sounds and vibrations.
How is it natural?
EMDR utilizes the same process that REM (Rapid Eye Movement) dream sleep stimulates in the brain.
What will I be doing?
We will identify a distressing memory and the negative belief associated with that memory. The bilateral stimulation will allow the brain to navigate through the network of memories connected to the negative belief. The brain will re-process the memories to allow them to be filed away and the distressing component to be resolved.
What if there are memories that I don't remember?
Sometimes there are memories that are blocked that will surface during EMDR therapy. These are handled carefully and safely so that more complete healing can be experienced. It is more common for happy and positive memories to resurface when the distressing memories subside.
Is EMDR effective?
Approximately 20 controlled studies with patients experiencing PTSD have consistently found the effective decrease/elimination of symptoms for the majority of patients. For more info visit, emdria.org