I am trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which is a research based treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Clients are reporting wonderful results, as this approach/ technique can really help move through and move past trauma, including abuse, complicated grief, bullying, and phobias. Both adolescents and adults have benefited from EMDR treatment in seeing faster, longer lasting therapeutic results. EMDR is great for adult as well as teen clients who have trauma or past memories that get in way of the day-to-day life.
What kind of symptoms or concerns can be addressed using EMDR?
- Abuse; physical, emotional, or sexual (whether experienced as an adult or a child)
- Anxiety, including performance anxiety or anticipatory anxiety
- Complicated or prolonged grief and loss
- Disturbing memories that you can’t get out of your mind
- Phobias/ fears (e.g., spiders, flying, heights)
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Single incident trauma (e.g., car accident, robbery, assault)
- Upsetting childhood events (e.g., problems at school, with peers, with family)
FAQs about EMDR
WHY DO PAINFUL MEMORIES GET STUCK?
You go through your day and your experiences get ‘saved’ into your memory in a manner similar to how data gets saved on a computer. When we have an experience that’s scary, traumatic, or painful, we go into a ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ mode – so that we can appropriately react and deal with the situation at hand – and those memories don’t save the same way on our brain’s ‘hard drive’ as our everyday memories do. When you recall certain painful memories, it can almost feel like it’s happening in the present time. That’s why it’s not uncommon to experience nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive memories long after a painful event has occurred.
HOW DOES EMDR WORK EXACTLY?
EMDR helps the memories that are ‘stuck’ be reprocessed in the way your brain saves much of the rest of everyday information, again going with the computer metaphor. When disturbing memories are reprocessed appropriately, you’ll still recall them, but no longer experience any or much of the images, sounds, or feelings that had been associated with that event or memory. EMDR helps drastically reduce the level of upset associated when recalling these memories.
Most experts agree that the best way to get unstuck is through exposure to the troubling memories. In EMDR, we work to have you bring up and face the memories of the troubling events, in the safety of the office and with the support of the therapist, until the memories are no longer disturbing.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO FEEL BETTER?
1 or 2 sessions will be spent on getting background information, developing therapeutic rapport, and talking about what to expect in EMDR. If it’s decided that EMDR is an appropriate form of treatment, the actual EMDR appointments can begin. Seeing me for EMDR, I generally use it in conjunction with standard talk therapy; generally meeting one appointment for EMDR, then the next time for talk therapy, and so on. However, if you or your teen currently have a therapist you’re attached to but who isn’t trained in EMDR, I can see folks for EMDR only treatment where your therapist and I would communicate together and work in conjunction, so you could come here to help you through the ‘stuck’ memories and continue seeing your other therapist.
A single incident could clear up in about 2 – 5 sessions (after the initial 2); more complicated things may take 10 sessions. It is hard to know for sure how many sessions will be needed, but this is a fairly good estimate.
WHAT IS AN EMDR APPOINTMENT LIKE?
In an EMDR session, much of the work is nonverbal. As the EMDR therapist, I help decide which memory to work on getting ‘unstuck’. Once we decide what memory to work on in a given therapy session, you process the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that come up as if you’re on a train passing by and the memories are the scenery flashing by as you look out. You won’t need to verbalize everything that happens in the memories. By not talking much, and letting your brain do the work, it seems to let processing happen more quickly and get the memories ‘saved to your hard drive’, therefore being less troubling in the future.
HOW IS EMDR DIFFERENT FROM REGULAR “TALK THERAPY”?
You may have gone to regular talk therapy before to talk about what happened to you. You
may have found that talking about it over and over did not seem to help much in terms of
changing what you think about what happened to you. You may have felt better by telling
your story or feeling validated and understood, but beyond that, it still feel as if you live with the problem every day. EMDR uses a different approach. Much of EMDR is non-verbal. Once you and your therapist decide which memory to work on, when you process the thoughts, emotions and feelings that come up, you are not required to describe everything that happened. By not talking and letting your brain do the work, it seems to allow processing to happen more quickly. Many clients who have done EMDR for “single event” problems such as car crashes or
muggings, have reported relief in 1-3 sessions. The number of sessions needed varies from
person to person and depending on the nature of the problem targeted. Long-standing past
problems tend to require more time spent processing.
For more information about EMDR, I encourage you to visit www.emdria.org.
If you would like to talk about your situation and whether EMDR therapy might be right for you or your loved one, Please call or email me.
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