What is EMDR therapy?
Have you ever experienced an incident, encounter, accident, sensation, or other difficulty memory, recently or in the past, which you've just felt "stuck" on, returning to it over and over again in your mind? Do you find yourself wondering "Why can't I just get over that?"
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a unique therapy technique which has helped thousands of people since it was first developed in 1989. Primarily used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it has also been shown to be very effective in the treatment of a wide range of other issues, including anxiety and low self-esteem.
EMDR helps people get "unstuck", often alleviating negative reactions and beliefs associated with emotionally-charged memories. Some of the memories and issues EMDR can help heal from include : encountering violence or abuse, car accidents, loss or injury of a loved one, natural disasters, injury, illness and/or chronic pain, performance and test anxiety, trauma, depression, anxiety or panic, low self-esteem, relationship problems, painful childhood incidents, and a variety of other concerns.
EMDR is different from traditional talk therapy: it is a more structured approach which involves discussing negative memories and the accompanying emotions while the therapist uses eye-movements, alternating sounds, or physical sensations (ex. handheld “buzzers”) or tapping to induce “bi-lateral stimulation”. What is bi-lateral stimulation? It is engaging both sides of the brain alternately and rapidly, much like Rapid Eye Movement (or REM) phase of sleep. It may sound unusual, but study after study (and story after story) has shown that EMDR really does work! Most clients report a change after only a few sessions of EMDR therapy.
Here’s a clip from ABC’s “20/20” which does a good job of introducing EMDR:
My use of EMDR:
While traditional counseling is very helpful for most clients, I like to employ EMDR with clients who have a specific incident, event, or memory which they feel "stuck" on. We can do this in combination with traditional counseling, or for some folks (ex. someone who has experienced an accident or a particularly emotionally-triggering incident) just doing a few sessions of EMDR may be enough for them to feel whole. Sometimes getting through the challenging memory allows clients to then learn and grow in their regular counseling sessions without the encumbrance of the intrusive memory or trigger.
Want to learn more? Contact me at (828) 215-8971 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
For a more detailed description of EMDR, you can also go to the following link: http://www.emdr.com/