About EMDR

What Is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987. She observed that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts under certain conditions. She reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma.

Recent research indicates that EMDR assists with the development of new neural pathways in the brain which help traumatic and disturbing memories, and emotions be processed by the pre-frontal cortex (the rational part of the brain). Following EMDR sessions, some clients may report that images, sounds and feelings are no longer intrusive when the traumatic event is brought to mind. What happened is still remembered, but it is less upsetting.

Today, EMDR has been developed into a set of protocols that incorporate elements form many different approaches. Most notably, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new, and less disturbing way.

Would EMDR Work For Me?

Scientific research has established EMDR as an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress. However, clinicians have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following issues:

  • Panic attacks
  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Performance anxiety
  • Complicated grief
  • Chronic Pain

It is important to remember that everyong responds to various treatment modalities differently. A licensed mental health professional who has training in EMDR will be able to assess a client’s suitability for EMDR.

What Can I Expect During An EMDR Session?

After your therapist takes your history and any other related assessments, you will first learn grounding and stabilization techniques to help you cope with any upsetting emotions or circumstances. Afterwards the therapist will work with the client to identify a specific problem to be the focus of the treatment session. Once the client has the issue in mind, the therapist facilitated directional movement on the eyes, or other bilateral (side to side) stimulation while the client focuses on the upsetting image. The client notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control thought direction or content. Sets are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thought and beliefs about one’s self. During the EMDR treatment the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session most people report a reducction in the level of disturbance.

To book an appointment, call: (519) 336-1329.