According to EMDRIA (EMDR International Association), EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and has demonstrated effectiveness for trauma.
The truth is, we don't know for sure. In the same way that an anesthesiologist struggles to define exactly how an anesthetic works, so EMDR therapists do not fully understand the "whys" of EMDR therapy. However, many studies have been done to prove its efficacy and we can be confident in its ability to heal deep trauma wounds.
There is a natural process that we can follow when our brains "get stuck" in traumatic responses. EMDR therapy helps us to unlock the process in the brain that leads to healing and recovery. Often times when we are exposed to a traumatic event or series of events, the brain and body rely on instinctive responses — including fight, flight and freeze. Sometimes the trauma can be so overwhelming that we get stuck in these instinctive responses and they become states. EMDR therapy allows the brain and the body to continue with the processes that it was unable to initially complete at the time of the trauma.
EMDR therapy relies on a process called bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation involves addressing both sides of the brain using a series of eye movements. These eye movements mimic the movements in REM sleep, where the brain does much of its deep processing. Your therapist will ask you follow their hand back and forth with your eyes, while maintaining awareness of the trauma. While bilateral stimulation can be achieved in other ways, this dual awareness is the critical component in processing trauma. To be aware of the present moment, while you are holding mindfully the trauma is where to find wholeness.
EMDR therapy does not erase your memory. It only reduces the charge of particularly traumatic memories and allows you to minimize your distress so that you can resume normal functioning.
You can. There are times when it might be too overwhelming and we would have to take a moment to ground. That is okay. Once you gain the courage, we will rejoin the memory and continue the processing. We will work to "digest" the whole of the traumatic memory at your pace.
The way through is often cluttered and unpredictable. We are honored to join you in your healing journey and believe that wholeness is possible.Schedule An Appointment