What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is widely recognized as the treatment of choice for post-traumatic stress disorders. Studies have also shown that EMDR is effective in addressing:

– childhood abuse
– anxiety and panic attacks
– depression
– stress
– phobias

– behavioral and chemical addictions
– eating disorders
– complicated grief
– chronic pain
– performance anxiety

When a person experiences a traumatic event, their physiological system gets flooded in a way that prevents their brain from processing the information in a healthy manner. The traumatic moment becomes “frozen in time,” complete with the intense emotions and physical sensations. The images, sounds, smells, feelings and body sensations associated with the trauma have been so deeply embedded in the brain’s neural networks, recalling even one single aspect brings up all the connected elements. The person then becomes flooded emotionally, and gets into fight/flight/freeze mode, which hinders their ability to function in the present moment.

What Happens During an EMDR Session?

In an EMDR session, you will be asked to recall a specific moment in the memory while visually tracking a light or the therapist’s finger as it moves rapidly from left to right. This movement is known as bilateral stimulation. Just as our memory is consolidated during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, this bilateral stimulation helps restructure and reintegrate the memory into your long-term memory. As a result, the memory become less distressing.

With successful EMDR treatment, you can still recall the details of the event, but you may no longer feel activated emotionally. Over time, you may feel less triggered by events in life, manage your feelings better and enjoy healthier relationships.

Is EMDR Right for Me?

Most people find EMDR beneficial. However, you may wish to put EMDR treatment on hold if you are currently going through a major transition in life. I will also need to get medical clearance if you are currently pregnant, have a history of seizures or have other neurological conditions.

Before we begin EMDR, I will do a thorough assessment of your suitability for EMDR. To prepare you for potentially intense emotions you may experience during EMDR, I will also teach you calming skills to help your regulate your emotions.

If you are sensitive to repeated eye movements, I will use sounds and/or tappers to create the bilateral stimulation.