Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

1. What is EMDR and How Does It Work?

EMDR, or Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a powerful therapeutic approach designed to help individuals heal from the effects of trauma. It works by assisting your brain in reprocessing distressing memories, allowing them to become integrated in a healthier and less distressing way. During an EMDR session, you'll recall a specific traumatic memory while engaging in bilateral stimulation, often through eye movements (focusing on a ball that moves back and forth across the screen in rapid succession), tapping (using your hands to tap on your knees or shoulders), or audio (hearing a beeping noise in one ear at a time with rapid succession) bilateral stimulation. This process helps your brain process the memory, reducing its emotional intensity and promoting emotional healing.

2. How Does EMDR Help with Trauma?

EMDR targets the way traumatic memories are stored in your brain. When a traumatic event occurs, the memory can become "stuck" and continue to trigger distressing emotions and reactions. EMDR facilitates the adaptive processing of these memories, allowing them to be reorganized and integrated into your memory network. This leads to a decrease in the emotional charge associated with the memory, ultimately bringing relief and healing.

3. What Can I Expect from EMDR in Therapy?

In an EMDR therapy session, you'll work collaboratively with your therapist to identify specific traumatic memories or experiences that are causing distress. The therapist will then have you do a "float back" to identify even earlier memories that are connected with negative cognitions about the traumatic event, such as "I am not good enough" or "I am not safe". You'll then be guided through a structured process that involves recalling these memories while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation, such as following the therapist's moving finger with your eyes. This helps your brain process the memory in a way that fosters emotional healing.

4. Is EMDR Suitable for Me?

EMDR is often recommended for individuals who have experienced various forms of trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), childhood abuse, accidents, or other distressing events. It can also be effective for those dealing with anxiety, phobias, and other emotional challenges. It's important to discuss your individual circumstances with a trained EMDR therapist to determine if it's the right approach for you. If you are a prospective client, you are welcome to schedule a free 20 minute consultation with Chris to determine if EMDR is right for you. 

5. How Many EMDR Sessions Will I Need?

The number of EMDR sessions needed varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the nature of the trauma and your individual progress. Some individuals may experience significant relief in a relatively short period, while others might require more sessions to achieve their desired outcomes. Your therapist will work closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan that aligns with your goals.

6. What Results Can I Expect from EMDR?

Many individuals report a reduction in the emotional distress associated with traumatic memories after undergoing EMDR therapy. You may find that your triggers become less intense, and you're better equipped to cope with distressing emotions. EMDR aims to promote emotional healing, increase resilience, and provide you with tools to better navigate challenging situations. The success rate of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can vary depending on factors such as the type and severity of the trauma, the individual's responsiveness to therapy, the skill of the therapist, and the specific outcomes being measured. However, EMDR has been shown to be effective for a significant number of individuals dealing with trauma-related issues. Numerous research studies and clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of EMDR in treating trauma and related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), EMDR is recommended as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD.

7. How Does EMDR Compare to Other Therapies?

EMDR is distinct in its approach, focusing specifically on reprocessing traumatic memories and their associated emotions. Unlike traditional talk therapy, EMDR delves into the neurological processing of these memories, aiming to alleviate their emotional impact. It can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, and your therapist will help you determine the best course of action for your needs.