Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
Have you experienced a traumatic event?
Are you suffering from lingering fear and anxiety?
Do you feel like you no longer have any control over how you think, feel, and behave?
Do you experience distressing emotions that appear to you, and perhaps to others, to be excessive given the current situation?
Do you tend to be highly reactive to certain triggers?
Is there one or more dysfunctional beliefs that you believe about yourself that, on an intellectual level, you know is not true?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – also known as PTSD – is a mental health challenge that may occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a terrorist act, an act of war, a serious accident, rape, or any other violent personal assault.
It is believed that PTSD affects nearly four percent of the U.S. adult population. While it is usually linked with veterans who’ve experienced combat, PTSD occurs in all people regardless of age, race, nationality, or culture. In fact, women are twice as likely to experience PTSD than men.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
People with PTSD often experience intense thoughts and feelings related to their traumatic experiences. These can last for a long time after the initial event. Many people with PTSD also relive the event through flashbacks and nightmares.
People with PTSD often feel intense emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and detachment from friends, family, and community members. They often avoid people and situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Ordinary sounds or incidents such as a door banging or accidental touch in a crowd may cause a strong and uncontrollable reaction.
How can treatment help?
There are a variety of treatments to treat PTSD. However, three specific techniques are consistently gaining research-based evidence of their effectiveness in successfully treating PTSD.
Cognitive Processing Therapy – This modality focuses on how a person perceives a traumatic event and processes it. A therapist can help their client work through stuck points, which are certain thoughts related to the trauma that prevents the person from recovering.
EMDR – EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This technique uses bilateral sensory input such as side-to-side eye movements to stimulate the brain to process difficult thoughts, memories, and emotions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a form of talk therapy that focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are related to one another. The goal of a CBT therapist is to help a client with PTSD return to a place of hope with a greater sense of being in control of their thoughts and behaviors.
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 treating trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from different treatment approaches.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR therapy is integrative psychotherapy and uses bilateral stimulation to activate opposite sides of the brain repeatedly. Therapists often use eye movements to facilitate bilateral stimulation. These eye movements mimic the period of sleep referred to as rapid eye movement or REM sleep, and this portion of sleep is frequently considered when the mind processes the recent events in the person’s life.
EMDR seems to help the brain reprocess the trapped memories so that normal information processing is resumed. Therapists often use EMDR to help clients uncover and process beliefs developed due to relational traumas of childhood abuse and/or neglect. For a more detailed explanation, please visit EMDR Institute, Inc.
What does EMDR help?
EMDR had been originally established as helpful for PTSD, although it’s been proven useful for treatment in the following conditions:
- Panic Attacks
- Complicated Grief
- Dissociative Orders
- Disturbing Memories
- Pain Disorders
- Performance Anxiety
- Stress Reduction
- Sexual and/or Physical Abuse
- Body Dysmorphic Disorders
- Personality Disorders
If you or a loved one have PTSD and would like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me. I have personally seen amazing transformation through therapy and want to offer the help you need to enjoy life again.
If so, you may still be a good candidate for EMDR therapy. Contact me today for a free phone consultation to see if EMDR might help you release what no longer serves you.
Shapiro, F. (2007). EMDR, adaptive information processing, and case conceptualization. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 1, 68–87.
Shapiro, F. (2013). Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books.
Shapiro F. (2014). The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. The Permanente journal, 18(1), 71–77. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/13-098
Shapiro, F. (2017). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: Basic principles, protocols, and procedures. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. New York, NY: Viking.