What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This research-based therapy technique is most beneficial to those seeking treatment for trauma, PTSD, and anxiety. When someone experiences an extreme negative reaction or feeling in response to a certain situation or memory, EMDR is used to help remove the overwhelming negative emotions and replace the memories with more neutral reactions. Ultimately, EMDR offers relief and the chance to have a more positive outlook when facing future challenges.
What to expect:
Instead of the conventional talk therapy to work through a problem, EMDR trauma therapy uses bilateral stimulation in the form of bilateral eye movements (alternatively, auditory tones, hand buzzers, and/or knee taps can be used as stimulation).
What does this mean? You will follow your therapist’s fingers, light bar, or buzzers moving back and forth while you think about the the event that is causing the extreme distress. This stimulation will be continued and repeated as you focus on and describe the feelings associated with the anxiety-producing memory. This is done in order to recreate the anxiety in a purposeful and controlled manner to help you become desensitized to the stressor.
It may seem daunting to continuously focus on the trauma, but after multiple sets of the bilateral stimulation paired with coaching from your EMDR therapist, the anxiety from the memory will reduce. Facing the memory and the fear or anxiety it elicits is the desensitization part of EMDR therapy.
Reprocessing is about changing your feelings about the traumatic memory, person, or topic. As you are doing the bilateral stimulation, you focus on how you would like to feel about the memory in order to replace the existing anger, anxiety, fear, etc. As a result, you are able to actually feel the way you have wanted about the memory, person, or situation. Eventually, you are able to leave therapy feeling positive about the very scenario that lead to so much anxiety before.
This technique is not a one time fix all, it will take multiple sessions. This gradual process can remove anxiety surrounding the stressor that is impeding your life and can also give you a sense of hope. Set up an appointment to get started!