What is EMDR therapy and how does it work?

EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was created by Francine Shapiro in 1987 and is now recommended by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the American Psychiatric Association, and most recently World Health Organization as very effective and efficient at helping people process traumatic events.

    Here is a list of typical problems that people seek EMDR therapy for:

  • Childhood or Adult Abuse
  • Extreme Illness or Grief
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anger
  • Car Accidents
  • Sexual Traumas
  • Assault Trauma
  • Emotional Pain, Emotional Outbursts
  • Relationship problems
  • Phobias (including social ones)
  • Low Self-Confidence or Self Image
  • Sadness, Depression & Anxiety
  • Sleep Problems
  • Intrusive thoughts, flashbacks
  • Being “on guard” all the time
  • Being Jumpy or Irritable
  • Substance abuse
  • Numbed Emotions

Fortunately not everyone has experienced extreme neglect or trauma, however, we have all experienced being humiliated, feeling rejected, unimportant, having our emotions hurt one way or another and all of these incidences are what we call “little t-trauma” that “help” reinforce the negative beliefs we have created in our minds usually from childhood experiences. These negative beliefs (negative cognitions as we call them in EMDR) lead to automatic responses every time we get “triggered” and we react in ways that is not authentic to who we are now or how we WANT to respond.

When we do EMDR we use bilateral stimulation, which could be eye-movements from side to side, wearing headphones that produce a tone going from one ear to the other, or holding small paddles in your hands that vibrate slightly and produce bilateral stimulation kinetically. There is a specific 8 step protocol that the EMDR trained therapist guides you through which “untangles” the memory and finally allows your brain to store it properly so that it no longer creates those knee-jerk reactions from you that do not serve you well.

If you are feeling “stuck” and unable to move beyond the things that are holding you back, call me at 386-492-0778 and let us discuss how we can get you where you want to be.

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