Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a treatment that helps relieve emotional distress by helping process past trauma. This therapy was initially developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in 1987 and has been used world-wide for treatment of PTSD and other psychological trauma.

Distressing feelings and behaviors are often the result of earlier, unresolved traumas. During a disturbing incident, our brains may become “blocked” — unable to process information normally. It is often held in the memory network with the same emotions and physical sensations experienced during the trauma. If the event is never processed, every time we recall the event, it can feel as disturbing as the first time we experienced it. Associated events can also hold a similar emotional charge even though a great deal of time has passed.

When I work with you, you will decide which specific disturbing memories we target in EMDR treatment. In addition to helping you identify negative feelings related to the traumatic event (i.e. shame or helplessness), I will also encourage you to use your internal resources to allow the emergence of a positive self-cognitions or beliefs such as seeing yourself as a strong survivor. We will utilize an external stimulus such as directing you in specific eye movements, or use bilateral audio tones, which enable your brain to re-process the traumatic events. According to EMDIRIA and the EMDR Institute, “…the technique of EMDR is believed to stimulate an intrinsic capacity of the human brain to resolve emotional disturbance and gain adaptive and more helpful insights, not unlike what occurs spontaneously during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It incorporates elements of several effective psychotherapies as structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies.” EMDR assists the brain’s natural adaptive resolution processing system.

Following EMDR sessions, you will still remember what happened, but not experience the intense, overwhelming emotions related to it. Your memories of the distressing event usually become less upsetting.

Research has shown that EMDR therapy can be effective for treating past childhood trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. EMDR may also be useful for treating panic attacks, disturbing memories, pain disorders, past sexual and/or physical abuse, performance anxiety, phobias and other disorders.

Your first step is to call us at 715-832-4060 and schedule an appointment.