You're feeling stuck. There's a certain memory (or more) that keeps playing in your mind on repeat, and you just want it to stop! Or maybe there's a circumstance that happened in your life that brought up a whole lot of emotions, and every time you think about it now, that same intensity comes back.
If this is you, then Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) may be for you.
EMDR is a therapy that was created as a treatment for painful and enduring traumatic memories that won't go away and cause you to feel like you are living with emotional and physical pain.
EMDR processing is based on the fact that you have two areas in your brain that process incoming information in very different ways. When you experience a traumatic event, you most likely react by flight, fight or freeze which can result in the that event becoming "stuck" in your memory. It then continues to cause emotional and physiological stress in many areas of your life. EMDR is a comprehensive and integrative approach to therapy as it includes several different approaches to therapy.
how would emdr help me?
EMDR can help you live a life without the recurring painful thoughts and memories. It can help you look back on an event in your life that shook your world and observe it as opposed to being overwhelmed by it. It can save you time and money! Research has found that people can experience the benefits of what once took psychotherapy years to make a difference in a much shorter time.
So what are some of the issues that others have found success with in EMDR?
- complicated grief such as death of a loved one that you may of witnessed
- dissociative disorder
- disturbing memories
- motor vehicle accidents
- panic attacks
- post traumatic stress disorder
- sexual assault
- sexual abuse and/or physical abuse
What does an emdr session look like?
EMDR asks you to focus on old memories, with particular attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. You focus your attention on the specific issue that you are wanting to resolve. You have the choice of guided eye movements, alternating taps on hands or knees, and/or alternating auditory stimulation.
A typical EMDR session lasts between 50 and 90 minutes to allow for some time after the therapy to relax and de-brief. You may feel like you've been to the gym and worked out for that amount of time. I will provide you with some relaxation tools that will help you to leave with a feeling of being in control and empowered.
How long does emdr take?
That answer depends on you! The length of treatment depends on how much previous trauma you have experienced; what your current life circumstances are; what your support system is like; and how strong you feel internally. One or more sessions are necessary to compile a clinical history and an understanding of what brings you to therapy, and then we can start digging in! There are times when we may decide that EMDR is not the best fit for you, and then talk about what approach works best to help you reach your goals for therapy.