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EMDR & Trauma

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a psychotherapy approach primarily used to treat individuals who have experienced traumatic events or distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy is based on the idea that traumatic memories can become "stuck" in the brain, leading to a range of psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and distressing thoughts. The goal of EMDR is to help individuals process these traumatic memories and reduce their emotional charge so that they no longer produce intense distress.










Here's how EMDR therapy typically works:

  1. History and Assessment: The therapist begins by conducting a thorough assessment of the client's history and identifying the specific traumatic memories or distressing experiences that need to be addressed.

  2. Preparation: The therapist helps the client develop coping strategies and emotional regulation skills to prepare them for the processing of traumatic memories.

  3. Desensitization and Reprocessing: During this phase, the therapist asks the client to recall the traumatic memory while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus. The most common stimulus is bilateral (side-to-side) eye movements, but other stimuli such as hand-tapping or auditory tones can also be used. This helps to rewire neural pathways in the brain and calm sensations often heightened with intrusive memories.

  4. Assessment and Reevaluation: After each set of bilateral stimulation, the therapist checks in with the client to see what thoughts, feelings, or sensations have emerged. The process continues until the distress associated with the memory significantly decreases.

  5. Installation: The therapist helps the client replace negative beliefs or emotions associated with the traumatic memory with more adaptive and positive beliefs.

  6. Body Scan: The therapist helps the client process any remaining physical tension or sensations associated with the memory.

  7. Closure: The session concludes with relaxation techniques, and the client is encouraged to practice self-soothing between sessions.

  8. Reevaluation: Subsequent sessions may involve reevaluating progress and addressing any remaining distressing memories or related issues.

EMDR is considered an evidence-based therapy with many years of research for the treatment of trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse/addiction, intrusive and unresolved memories, and any mental health concerns. Many individuals have reported significant improvements in their symptoms following this type of therapy. If you are curious about learning more about EMDR or seeing if you may be a candidate for this type of therapy, reach out to schedule a consultation.

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