EMDR- Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

EMDR is a relatively new clinical treatment that has been scientifically evaluated primarily with trauma survivors.

When we are overwhelmed by an event, no matter how big or small, our brains and our bodies get to work to help us just survive it.  Humans are pretty good at surviving and adapting so most of the time we are able to process a painful trauma and carry on.  However, there are times when the process gets blocked.  This can happen for many reasons such as age, experience and understanding, lack of support, an accumulation of stressful experiences, our level of resiliency and coping, or the nature of the trauma itself.  Sometimes there are no words.  When our process is blocked we are vulnerable to becoming “triggered”, feeling as though we are reliving painful moments.  These are the times we feel stuck or defective and may wonder if we can ever be free from our past.   

EMDR offers such hope.  The letters stand for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  Through the body’s own adaptive processing system and the use of rapid eye movements, tapping or sounds, EMDR is able to move through the many layers of defenses and faulty beliefs we build to protect ourselves from pain.  Reprocessing trauma can create distance from the negative reactions the memories bring up and a allows a shift to a more appropriate response.

  • Feeling less troubled by trauma memories and reminders while awake and in their dreams (PTSD intrusive re-experiencing symptoms)
  • Feeling able to cope with trauma memories and reminders without simply trying to avoid troubling thoughts, conversations, people, activities or places (PTSD avoidance symptoms)
  • Feeling more able to enjoy pleasurable activities and to be emotionally involved in relationships, as well as feeling that there is a future to look forward to (PTSD numbing and detachment symptoms)
  • Feeling less tense, stressed, irritable or angry, easily startled, and on-guard, and more able to sleep restfully, concentrate on activities, and deal with pressure and conflict (PTSD hyperarousal/hypervigilance symptoms)
  • Feeling less anxious, worried, fearful or phobic, and prone to panic attacks
  • Feeling less depressed (down and blue, hopeless, worthless, emotionally drained or suicidal)
  • Feeling an increased sense of self-esteem and self-confidence