Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidenced-based practice, one of two approved by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to treat PTSD and trauma. EMDR utilizes our brains adaptive ability to process information, known as Adaptive Information Processing (AIP). Essentially, memories are stored everyday but when we experience trauma memories can be stored maladaptively causing us to struggle with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, replaying of events, etc. When we experience something new, traumatic events included, neurons in our brain are formed "fire" and then "wire" together, hence the phrase "neurons that fire together wire together." Thus, creating neural networks (pathways) that inform our patterns of thinking based on what we learned implicitly or explicitly from our experiences. Our nervous systems are also impacted by our experiences, the neural networks and thinking patterns formed. When our brain perceives a threat, real or imagined, our nervous system is engaged, making it difficult to think clearly and regulate our emotions. We often then experience somatic symptoms: gastrointestinal issues, chest heaviness, shallow breathing, holding of the breath, rapid heart rate, and restlessness, to name a few common physiological responses. EMDR allows access to those memories that have been maladaptively stored so the brain can reprocess and store them in a healthy manner without the need of re-living the experience or talking about it in detail. Additionally EMDR allows formation of new neural pathways to be formed.
Clients will participate in assessments to determine readiness and suitability for EMDR. The client and clinician will develop coping and grounding skills in preparation of EMDR to ensure the client feels safe, in control, and has the tools to regulate their emotions and nervous systems as we revisit aspects that surface about the traumatic experience. Note: although the client is asked to "revisit" the traumatic experience, this is not the same as reliving it, the client also does not have to share what comes up in the EMDR session with the clinician if they do not wish to. The disturbing aspects of the experience are resolved and new, healthy thought processes are gained.
EMDR is NOT hypnosis, the client is fully aware and in control throughout the session and can stop the session if they choose at any time for any reason.
EMDR is utilized to treat: Abuses, Anxiety, Assault, Depression, Domestic Violence, Excessive Anger, Low Self Esteem/Confidence, Grief, Panic Attacks, PTSD, and Trauma.
To learn more please visit: EMDRIA (EMDR International Association)
EMDR in the News:
EMDR, PTSD & VETS
Resources for EMDR Clients:
EMDR & Expressive Arts Therapy