Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that is evidence-based for the treatment of trauma and other life stressors. Trauma can be defined as big "T" traumas (abuse, assault, car accidents, combat, etc) or little "t" traumas (conflicts, confrontations, teasing, work stress, and performance blocks in athletes, etc). EMDR is also very effective with anxiety.
EMDR involves a process called bilateral stimulation (BLS). Bilateral stimulation is a process of alternately engaging both sides of your brain through a series of visual or tactile movements. Through my practice, there are several ways we can utilize the BLS
Eye Movements: this is a process where you follow my fingers as I move them back and forth in front of your eyes.
Tactile (pulsars): you will hold small disks that pulse back and forth in your hands.
Tapping: I alternately tap your knees or chest
Drums beat through ears
There is a specific process used during EMDR therapy that involves bringing up the worst picture or image of the traumatic incident along with a negative thought the picture represents to you. During our session, we will go into more depth about what that would be for you. We also look at what positive thoughts we'd like to have with this memory or image.
We will then begin the bilateral stimulation, either through eye movements, tapping, drum beats, or tactile pulsars, and work to fully process the memory or image.
What if I’ve never experienced trauma?
Anything that has happened to you that has not been fully "digested" is held in the body as trauma. EMDR works on many emotionally disturbing events to reduce the emotional charge of the event. You won’t forget it happened, but it will feel less disturbing and overwhelming to you.
This is true of major traumatic events such as abuse, rape, car accidents, combat, etc, and also true of minor traumatic events such as your mother yelling at you or a difficult interaction with a boss/co-worker or for performers or athletes who can get into a slump. EMDR also works well with anxiety disorders, complicated grief, performance/athlete Yips, and many other issues.
Does EMDR work?
More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR therapy would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.
Why does EMDR work?
(Quoted from www.emdria.org):
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
See if EMDR is right for you.
If you would like more information check out these sites BE FREE