What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that helps people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. Even though we often assume that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal,  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma in much the same way the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body's immune system works to heal the wound.  But if a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it won't fully heal and  causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  A similar sequence of events occurs with mental and emotional processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using EMDR therapy I help clients activate their natural healing processes.

What does EMDR look like in a session?

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After we have determined which memory to target first, I ask my client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use their eyes to track the therapist’s hand (or light and handheld tappers).  As this happens internal associations arise and the memory and disturbing feelings begin to be processed. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  

For more information on EMDR

Click here to go the EMDR Institute