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What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a type of therapy used to help people who have been through disturbing and/or traumatic events. Traumatic events that are still causing disturbance today are improperly or not fully processed in the brain.

“Disturbing events can be stored in the brain in an isolated memory network. This prevents learning from it to take place. The old material keeps getting triggered, over and over again. In another part of the brain, in a separate network, is most of the information you need to resolve it. It’s just prevented from linking up to old stuff. Once we start processing with EMDR, the two networks can link up. New information can come to mind and resolve the old problems.” (Shapiro, 2018)

When we use the word trauma, we are referring to the way you processed an event or situation, not the event itself. Trauma happens when someone experiences something shocking, frightening, or harmful, which overwhelms their ability to cope. This could be a single event like a car accident or ongoing situations in the form of abuse.

Trauma impacts us in many different ways.

  • Emotional – Feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, etc.
  • Physical – Headaches, stomaches, fatigue
  • Behavioral – Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, withdrawal from others
  • Cognitive – Difficulty concentrating, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts

How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR is an eight-phase, structured approach that supports clients in feeling regulated and safe as they bring forward traumatic memories. Using bilateral stimulation, clients are grounded in the current moment in my office, while their brains are reprocessing (healing) the targeted memories. When clients go through the reprocessing, they experience less activation and upset when thinking of the memory or situation.

Bilateral stimulation (tapping, eye movement, or sound) facilitates the reprocessing of the traumatic memory.

Together we will:

  • Practice regulation tools to help you if your body gets overwhelmed or stressed
  • Discuss memories that are still disturbing or impacting you today
  • Desensitize the targeted memories
  • Install new positive thoughts or feelings
  • Double-check that the stuck trauma has been processed
  • Be sure you feel good before you leave the session
  • Check back to be sure the work has been completed

If you're ready to invest in yourself, let's connect for a free 15 minute phone call.

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