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EMDR: What is it?

You may have heard about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and you are curious about what it really is and how it can help you. It is an evidence based approach to psychotherapy that is useful to overcome all kinds of negative, stressful experiences.

Basically, we know that stressful and traumatic experiences are often encoded in your memory in an incomplete way. The result is that even though the traumatic event or situation is over, you may continue to hold on to the visual images, sounds, feelings, thoughts, body sensations or any combination of these. You may feel as if the trauma is alive now, as it can be triggered by many events and people that you encounter in your daily life. You may feel "stuck" in distressing memories, negative thoughts and beliefs.

The eight- phase, three-pronged process of EMDR treatment helps your brain to resume healthy, adaptive information processing. EMDR begins with a preparation phase and moves to the processing phase where we target past experiences, current triggers and future potential challenges. We use simple eye movements and/or alternating tones/sensations to help you reprocess these memory fragments.

How does EMDR work?

We are not exactly certain how EMDR works. However research is ongoing and the adaptive information processing (AIP) model (Shapiro, 2001) proposes that incomplete memory processing that results from trauma can result in symptoms such as depression, phobias, fears, anxiety, performance issues, and relationship problems. The EMDR protocol helps our brain to resume normal information processing so you can get "unstuck" and feel more calm. To date, there are 15 controlled studies that support the idea that EMDR works well in the treatment of post-traumatic trauma (PTSD).

How will EMDR help me?

As EMDR targets fragments of disturbing memories resulting in fewer symptoms and a decrease in your level of distress. The shifts that occur in negative beliefs about yourself, painful emotions, and disturbing body sensations associated with the memories help you to gain more positive beliefs about yourself and others and to resolve present and future anticipated triggers (EMDRIA, 2011). Following EMDR many people say, "I feel safe's over now, it's in the past".

EMDR can be effective with single incident traumas and in the treatment of many symptoms of anxiety, phobias, depression as well as complex developmental trauma -the experience of repeated and /or prolonged trauma over time, such as adverse childhood experiences of abuse or neglect.

The positive resources and strengths that you can develop through EMDR will enhance your life in so many ways and allow you to live a healthier and happier life.

As a certified EMDR clinician with extensive advanced training in using EMDR I look forward to supporting you!

If you would like to read more about EMDR please call me or visit the EMDRIA website