Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy) is a comprehensive method of psychotherapy that enables people to recover from the emotional pain and symptoms that are caused by disturbing life experiences. It has been extensively researched and is recognized worldwide by such organizations as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, Veterans Health Administration, and the Department of Defense as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other upsetting life events. Since its development in 1987, millions of people have been successfully treated with EMDR Therapy for many types of psychological stress.
EMDR Therapy combines dual attention to a disturbing memory with a bilateral stimulus (e.g., back and forth eye movements, alternating vibrations) in conjunction with a set of standardized protocols. This unique combination of methods in EMDR therapy appears to stimulate an intrinsic capacity of the human brain to heal itself (like the body heals physical wounds) by "reprocessing" disturbing memories, resolving emotional disturbance, and facilitating adaptive insights in a manner similar to what occurs spontaneously during rapid eye movement sleep (dreaming) .
In short, you identify the upsetting memory you want to focus on, including any negative thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations related to the memory. You hold the memory in your mind while also paying attention to a back-and-forth stimulus. This process is conducted in short sets until the memory is reprocessed by the brain, the way you experience the memory shifts, and distress resolves. In most cases, you will not be asked to talk about your trauma in detail, although you will be asked to call your trauma to mind in session.
For more information on this wonderful and exciting therapy please see the videos below.
EMDR therapy has been researched extensively and is recognized as an effective, evidence-based psychotherapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with lasting effects. In fact, EMDR is considered one of the 'gold standard' treatments for PTSD.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Additional research on EMDR Therapy provides emerging evidence that EMDR is able to reduce or eliminate of many other conditions. For instance, EMDR has been successfully used to help clients with:
Please watch the video above to better understand how EMDR Therapy has helped people heal from the effects of difficult life experiences.
The therapist works with the client to identify treatment goals, complete relevant assessments, obtain history information, and make a treatment plan for EMDR Therapy.
The therapist explains the theory behind EMDR therapy, how it is done, and what to expect. A safe therapeutic alliance is established, and client resources/skills are developed to help the client manage distress that arises during treatment.
The client is prompted to access the target to be processed and to identify different parts of the (emotions, thoughts, feelings, level of disturbance, body sensations).
The client's target memory is reprocessed with the outcome being resolution of disturbing emotions and sensations tied to the memory and shifting in beliefs about the target and self.
The goal is to concentrate on increasing the strength of the positive belief the client has identified to replace his or her original negative belief about self.
After the positive belief has been installed in Phase 5, the client is asked to bring the target event to mind and see if any residual tension is noticed in the body. If yes, those physical sensations are targeted for reprocessing.
Closure ensures the client leaves the session feeling calm and contained. Self-regulation techniques, which were previously taught, are used when reprocessing is not complete. The client is also briefed on 'what to expect.'
At the start of each session, the client is asked to connect again to the target event in order to determine where things stand and if additional processing is needed. Additional targets may also be identified.
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