What is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)?
EMDR was born in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro. It is an entire therapy and approach to clinical work, and not just a therapeutic tool, so EMDR therapists are required to go through rigorous training via an EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) approved program. EMDR is one of the most researched evidence based clinical therapies. Studies support the efficacy of EMDR as a treatment for trauma, anxiety, depression, panic, addiction, among many other clinical presentations.
Things get stuck when they overwhelm our nervous system. When things get stuck, our nervous system needs some targeted help with getting it unstuck. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (BLS) and a structured 8-phase approach to help you reprocess certain memories so that they no longer activate your nervous system in the same way. EMDR seems to stimulate the information and allows the brain to reprocess the experience. This is hypothesized to be similar to what happens during REM sleep, which is known to promote integration of memory.
How is EMDR therapy different from other therapies?
The use of EMDR is based on the understanding that all of our psychological discomfort is rooted in trauma. Trauma is the result of having painful, frightening or overwhelming experiences that are not fully processed, leaving them stuck in our brain and body. EMDR therapy is focused on helping the brain to resume its natural healing process. The therapy uses eye movements to guide the brain in completing the processing of distressing memories, which results in a marked decrease in psychological and emotional symptoms. Many people find it a relief to discover that EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. For many people, EMDR therapy can also be completed in fewer sessions than other therapy modalities.
EMDR and the brain
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). Many times, we don’t have the understanding, safety or support we need to complete this processing
Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.”
Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?
EMDR therapy helps children and adults of all ages. Therapists use EMDR therapy to address a wide range of challenges:
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
- Chronic Illness and medical issues
- Depression and bipolar disorders
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Performance anxiety
- Personality disorders
- PTSD and other trauma and stress-related issues
- Sexual assault
- Sleep disturbance
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Violence and abuse
Hi, I’m Amanda. I’m a fellow traveler, healer in recovery, and honored to support others on their journey to discover and experience peace. The mind is ready to “move on” much faster than the body, and I want to support the integration of both so you can stop going to war with yourself. Recovery is greater than pathology.
Hi, I’m Victoria
I am an imperfect mama, wife, friend, and therapist, and it feels so freeing to embrace the imperfection! I support adult individuals and couples within the context of family systems. Addiction, codependency, anxiety, depression, trauma, and veteran concerns are some of my specialties. My passion is to guide others on the journey of recovery towards healthy and fulfilled lives. I help guide clients down the path to healing and recovery by providing a non-judgmental and caring presence.