What is EMDR therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a trauma therapy that has been extensively researched as a method to help those recovering from trauma.
Our brains have a natural way of healing from traumatic incidents through processes involving your hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. Sometimes this healing process can become halted and traumatic memories may not be fully processed, or they may be processed in ways that lead to symptoms or unhealthy patterns in the present day.
EMDR helps to engage your brain's healing process by identifying neural networks associated with a traumatic memory and using bilateral stimulation (e.g., eye movements or tapping) to reduce the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma. As a result, EMDR helps to consolidate memory networks and to build healthy beliefs about yourself while working towards letting go of memories and beliefs that are no longer helpful.
How is EMDR different from other types of trauma therapy?
EMDR is unique in comparison to other forms of trauma therapy in that it does not require the client to discuss traumatic memories in detail. Instead, EMDR can help to resolve traumatic, unprocessed memories by allowing the brain to engage in its natural process of healing.
What can I expect from EMDR?
An EMDR session typically lasts between 50- 75 minutes. I will guide you through the eight phases of EMDR over time. Once you are ready, I will help you to focus your attention on a negative core belief about the traumatic experience, your emotions surrounding the event, and body sensations.
As I help you to reduce your distress associated with traumatic memories and the associated negative core belief(s), you will work towards increasing the strength of a more positive core belief about yourself.
As a trauma therapy, EMDR may be used in conjunction with other types of therapy (e.g., CBT, DBT skills, mindful self-compassion) or as a treatment on its own, depending on your needs.
Is EMDR right for me?
Ultimately, this is for us to decide together, depending on your unique needs. However, EMDR can address a variety of concerns related to trauma therapy, including:
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Symptoms from childhood trauma
Grief and loss