Frequently Asked QuestionsStraight Forward Responses to Common Questions. Call If You Have Any More.
What is EMDR?
Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) is a clinically-researched protocol in use since the late 1980s. EMDR is a treatment of choice for those working through traumatic, emotionally challenging, or disturbing events. Using this protocol, millions of people have found relief from symptoms associated with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Whether from exposure to combat, rape or sexual assault, physical battery, auto or sporting accidents, EMDR is a tool that can aid the relief of distressing symptoms and support a person’s journey and return to feeling whole.
Controlled studies continue to demonstrate that recipients of EMDR treatment consistently reduce or eliminate symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress. EMDR has been demonstrated as an effective treatment for both single and complex traumas as well as for other life-disturbing events. Additionally, clients often find relief from associated symptoms such as anxieties, nightmares, and flashbacks.
Over the past 25+ years EMDR has been used to support the processing of various life disturbing events such as sudden losses, grief, divorce, phobias, and accidents.
EMDR is Internationally Recognized as Effective Treatment
The American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies current treatment guidelines designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress. Numerous additional organizations support the use of EMDR in various treatment settings.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD)
- The United Kingdom Department of Health
- The Israeli National Council for Mental Health
- American Psychiatric Association (APA)
- The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
Why and how does EMDR work?
EMDR’s Integrative Approach
Neurobiology research has discovered that during overwhelming emotional experiences, such as an accident, the brain cannot process information as effectively as it does normally. This results in the sensation that one moment in time is frozen in the perceptions of the brain. The brain then, in an attempt to understand and sort this event, may link it with dissimilar associations. Now in the present, when a person brain perceives any linked memory, often times very dissimilar in content to initial event, such as smells, sounds, images, or emotions, it can feel as though the initial event is happening again.
EMDR supports your brain’s natural ability to unpack frozen emotional memories. This treatment helps a person identify and process stuck disturbing events. The EMDR process seems to access the brain’s natural information process and support the reordering of an emotional memory. This treatment does not remove memories. EMDR supports the reprocessing of stuck historical emotional information and allows for integration of experience into a narrative that happened in the past. During EMDR treatment clients are awake, not hypnotized, and in control of the pace of the treatment process.
Is there something wrong with me if I need therapy?
No. Actually, it is refreshing to know that your brain was doing what it needed to do. Symptoms of psychological traumas let us know that your internal desire to live is working well. Unfortunately, it also means that the brains necessary and natural survival mechanisms are still (overly) activated and/or stuck, possibly inferring with full enjoyment and pleasures in life.
How long will it take?
What can be said is that: when compared to other researched approaches to trauma/PTSD treatment EMDR is found to as effective and faster than others.
What does a typical appointment look like?
Sessions will be 80 minute appointments. We could do any of the following in any one session.
- Take time to get to know one another so that you feel emotionally safe-enough to revisit the blocked/frozen emotions from trauma.
- We will work on building mental/emotional resilience and adaptability skills.
- Practice with bi-lateral stimulation (e.g. hand-buzzers, headset, or eye-movement).
- Create a goals or target list of incidents we want to address with bi-lateral stimulation (part of EMDR process).
- Process specific targets and related emotional materials.
- Practice building emotional reserve and positive state resourcing.
- More depending on your unique needs and presentation of symptoms.
Do I have to retell what happened?
No. EMDR allows for Clients to build a specific approach and pacing with therapist. There is no expectation that any details of the trauma incident(s) need to be verbalized or spoken. To be clear, there is a need to be able to check-in and report on what you are feeling in the moment, so the Therapist can support the movement and ‘digesting’ of stuck emotions.