What is EMDR?
EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that is used to treat individuals who have experienced traumatic or disturbing life events. These experiences can leave one feeling anxious, overwhelmed, hyper-vigilant or withdrawn, numb and shameful. In EMDR therapy, specific memories are targeted in an effort to desensitize uncomfortable sensations and feelings. As the memory becomes reprocessed, new positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself emerge. Using EMDR allows one to remain grounded, open and able to emotionally self-regulate while processing feelings and sensations.
Who can benefit from EMDR?
EMDR is beneficial for all ages. EMDR is most commonly used for treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and individuals wishing to seek relief from anxiety, panic and flashbacks. There are also specific EMDR protocols that can be used for eliminating performance anxiety, such as fear of public speaking, and anxiety related to performing artists and athletes. Individuals with substance use disorders can also benefit from EMDR therapy, through targeting triggers leading to relapse.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation (BLS) to help you overcome trauma and psychological distress. BLS can be in the form of eye movements, hand tappers or sound. BLS is used to activate the whole brain to improve communication between the two hemispheres. This helps the brain to restore those distressing memories with less intensity.
While EMDR is known to be a fast and effective form of therapy, the number of sessions needed varies based on the client and their history. However, current research has found that individuals experience a significant decrease in a wide range of symptoms after 3-4 sessions.
How many sessions do I need?
"I have been in and out of therapy since my early 20's, and I am now 47 years old. I have been through childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I have lost friends because of my struggles. I have had miscarriages and fetal demise. With every issue I have grown to value therapy. I had still been struggling with life and moving on. I started medication, yet still struggling to do regular things like want to get out of bed, or go hang out with friends or family. I was feeling weighted down with simple tasks. My mother had just finished EMDR in Florida with her new husband, and was raving about how different her outlook on life was. For me, I have blocked out a lot of what had happened in my life, therefore regular talk therapy could only do so much. So, I began my search to find a therapist near me that I could connect with and that also provided EMDR. I have found that EMDR allows my body to do the talking for me, without me having to relive the pain. Nina is kind and easy to talk to. She never judged me or my life. The location is private, clean and welcoming. EMDR really works. It helps me not to forget but to remember without reliving the pain."
- Lori F.
To learn more about EMDR therapy, visit emdria.org