Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
What is EMDR?
EMDR is an approach to therapy that utilizes eye movement or other forms of dual stimulation to allow both halves of the brain to be accessed. It has been widely researched and has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Many clinicians use it for other purposes, but at this point I will be using it for traumatic experience work. The most important thing for clients to understand is that it is the “Reprocessing” of trauma is what we are doing.
How Does It Work?
First, lets talk about traumatic events. As a clinician I define trauma as lots of things outside of the scope most people consider as being traumatic. Really, everyone I know has had trauma (losses, moves, divorce, difficult childhoods, teasing etc.). Some people can move through this with ease, and for whatever reason some people get “stuck.” What happens in your body is that it releases adrenaline when something bad happens. It is almost like taking a snapshot in time and everything that we see, smell, hear, taste or feel during that event may trigger us in the future. Your brain cannot distinguish that the Coke you were drinking right before your car accident had nothing to do with the accident. One would think coke is not enough to make you nervous, but it sure can…So, allowing your brain its full working power allows you to move through traumatic material more completely, with more wisdom and more quickly than traditional therapy. EMDR has been compared to cleaning out wounds so that they completely heal and this is a good example of how I view it.
What is the Process Like?
A client does much the same work you would in more traditional therapy while I gather information about your history and the events you most want to focus on. Then we begin: first by helping you learn to relax, educating you on the process and then the actual process starts. A client would then work through memories and follow my fingers or light bar in a set of motions, take a deep breathe and tell me what they notice. I also have access to tactile or hand sensors and headphones for sound if people do not like the eye movement. It is just important that we engage both halves of the brain in reprocess. It can be emotional and upsetting at the time, but really what we’re doing in accessing what is already in your mind/memory. You are completely aware and awake at all times during EMDR.[/vc_column_text]
Why Do I Believe in EMDR?
I believe in EMDR because of all of the research that has been completed that shows it effectiveness, but more than that is what I have seen and experienced. I have experienced clients moving quickly through things that have bothered them for years, with clarity and finding relief. That is why I trained in EMDR and offer it to clients. As a part of our training we had to “practice” with our peers. I have experienced EMDR as a part of my training and know that it works.
Another aspect of EMDR that is so appealing to me is that it is your brain that does the healing. EMDR is not like suggestive therapy in anyway, your own brain goes where it needs to and you will do your own healing. I will just be there to help guide you in the process. I believe that most clients show up with the answers they seek already within them and it is only my job to help them find their own answers. EMDR is no different in that way.
Is EMDR Right For You?
This is a good question and one that is as individual and unique as is each person I work with. We would discuss this prior to beginning any treatment. EMDR information can be located on the internet and I encourage all my clients to do some of their own research. I really like emdria.org. I look forward to answering any questions and I am excited to be able to provide this as a service at Prevail Counseling Group, LLC.