Firmly established by research to be the treatment of choice for PTSD and trauma.
EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing - is a psychological method for treating experientially based disorders and emotional difficulties that are caused by disturbing life experiences ranging from traumatic events such as combat stress, assaults and natural disaster, to upsetting childhood events. EMDR is a complex method that brings together elements from well-established clinical theoretical orientations including psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and client centered. (Shapiro, 2001)
EMDR, integrated into a good, solid therapy experience, facilitates the mobilization of a client's own inherent healing mechanism and leads to a resolution of trauma while strengthening and enhancing the client's stability and resources.
For more details about research on EMDR, go to www.emdria.org
WHAT IS EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new psychotherapy appproach developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD. EMDR has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. Although not a "quick fix", EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.
EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies. (for more information about research on EMDR, go to www.emdria.org.)
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself.
As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain via the bi-lateral stimulation used with EMDR, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state are achieved.
How Does It Work?
During an EMDR session the therapist works gently with the client and asks him/her to revisit the traumatic moment or incident, recalling feelings surrounding the experience, as well as any negative thoughts,
and memories. The therapist then holds her fingers eighteen inches or more from the clients face and begins to move her fingers back and forth like a windshield wiper. The client tracks the movements as if watching ping pong. The more intensely the client focuses on the memory and the physical sensations accompanying the memory, the easier it becomes for the memory to emerge and process. Images and somatic memories may arise during the therapy session and are processed resulting in painful feelings being released and the emergence of more peaceful, loving and resolved feelings. For clients who prefer other methods of bilateral stimulation, bilateral sounds, music or hand buzzers are available.
What problems are helped by EMDR?
The studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following:
Loss of a loved one, injury of a loved one, car accident,
fire, work accident, assault, robbery, rape,
natural disaster, injury, illness, witness to violence,
childhood abuse, victims of violent crimes, performance and test anxiety,
trauma, depression, anxiety or panic, phobias, fears,
childhood trauma, physical abuse, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress,
bad temper, overwhelming fears, panic attacks, low self-esteem,
relationship problems, brooding or worrying, trouble sleeping
The EMDR technique is most effective when used in conjunction with other traditional methods of therapy in treating these and many other emotional disorders. EMDR therapy can help clients replace their anxiety and fear with positive images, emotions and thoughts.
What are the Symptoms that can be helped by EMDR?
*High anxiety and lack of motivation
*Memories of a traumatic experience
*Fear of being alone
*Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame
*Difficulty in trusting others
How do we know EMDR works?
The initial medical study in 1989 as well as other research since then, have shown positive therapeutic results with EMDR with the following populations:
*People who have witnessed or been a victim to a disaster (rape, accidents, earth quakes, fires, murder, gang related violence)
*Clients suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
*Sufferers of panic disorders and anxiety attacks
*Sufferers of phobias
*Chemically dependent clients
*Persons exposed to excess loss ( loss by death, divorce, loss of a house by fire)
*Crime victims and police officers who were once overcome with violent memories
*Accident or burn victims
EMDR is meeting with much success all across the country and the world. EMDR is a natural process in which the client and the therapist become partners on a journey to help move traumatic and blocked energy. Together they work to transcend and free up the energy, so the client can return to their natural grounded state of being. The goal of this work is to help the client heal, so they can return to their life in peace. EMDR is also used in the strengthening of resources and enhancing performance or skills.
How do I know if EMDR is right for me?
There are a number factors to consider when evaluating the appropriateness of EMDR
therapy for a client's particular situation and history. During your initial consultation with a trained EMDR therapist, all the relevant factors will be discussed in full to help you both come to a decision to move forward with EMDR.