The purpose of EMDR treatment is to help liberate the client from the past into a healthy and productive present.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. Please visit EMDRIA for a more detailed explanation. According to EMDRIA, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy “is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches”
In 1987 psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Initially, Dr. Shapiro called her model Eye movement desensitization (EMD). Dr. Shapiro studied the effects scientifically and 1989, she reported success using EMDR to treat survivors of trauma in the journal of traumatic stress.
Through the years, the focus of treatment changed from desensitization to include the multi faceted impact of reprocessing all aspects of negative maladaptive information to adaptive healthy useful resolution.
HOW IT WORKS
When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This material can combine factual material with fantasy and with images that stand for the actual event or feelings about it. EMDR seems to stimulate the information and allows the brain to process the experience. That may be what is happening in REM or dream sleep – eye movements (tones or tactical) may help to process the unconscious material. It is your own brain that will be doing the healing, you are the one in control.
EMDR method of trauma healing is endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Our office has three therapists who have been trained in using the EMDR protocol. All three were trained through the EMDR training center. This EMDRIA approved training provided these clinicians with the foundation and skills to integrate EMDR into their counseling practice. Upon completing the training, these clinicians are considered “EMDR Trained.” Please visit the EMDR International Association for studies validating the efficacy of this modality.
- Katherine Kruse, LPC
- Adolescents & Adults
- Anna Kisting, PLPC
- Adolescents & Adults
- Jennie Wilson LPC
- Children & Adolescents
Great you tube videos discussing how EMDR works
Frequently Asked Questions
What does EMDR stand for?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
What kind of problems can EMDR treat?
Research indicates that EMDR is effective in treatment traumas, and PTSD. However, many clinicians (and clients) have reported success in also working with:
- Stress reduction
- Pain disorders
- Anxiety (Phobias, Performance anxiety)
- Disturbing memories
- Personality disorders
How is EMDR different from talk therapy
EMDR therapy is much more structured than typical talk therapy. The therapist will follow a protocol by asking you to visualize certain experiences, identify specific beliefs and emotions, and rate those beliefs and emotions on a scale. You will experience something called bilateral stimulation, which could include following the therapist’s fingers as they move back and forth, watching a light move back and forth, or having the therapist tap gently on your knees. You and your therapist will discuss all of this in detail before beginning EMDR.
What happens if unexpectedly painful or scary memories come up during EMDR?
One of the first things you will do in EMDR Therapy includes coming up with ways to manage painful memories or emotions that might pop up inside and outside of the therapy session. Some people visualize a personal safe place, imagine using a container to hold their painful emotions, or identify a protective or supportive figure to help them with painful or scary memories and emotions.
How will I know EMDR is working?
In many cases, clients will experience less anxiety, fewer flashbacks or nightmares, better mood, as well as the ability to think about a traumatic event without feeling tension in his or her body. Your therapist will check in with you each session to see how you are feeling.
What can I expect to feel after each session of EMDR?
You might feel much less tension in your body, increased mood, and less anxiety after your EMDR session. Occasionally, painful memories or emotions might pop up between your therapy sessions, but your therapist will work with you closely to help you know what to expect and to develop ways to cope with those feelings.
Is EMDR safe during pregnancy?
It is up to the client and the therapist. We always recommend that our clients check in with their healthcare provider to determine if they are able to handle or tolerate the potential stress of processing. This is extremely important in clients who are in a high risk pregnancy to have that conversation with their physician to discuss the possibility of intense feelings.
Is EMDR similar to hypnosis?