Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is an effective form of psychotherapy that is used to treat trauma and emotional distress resulting from disturbing life experiences. EMDR is founded on the basis that traumatic or distressing experiences from the past interfere with the way our brains process information in the present. Whether an individual undergoes “Big T” trauma or “little t” trauma, intense experiences are often maladaptively stored in our memory systems. When memories are stored in our systems in this way, they can change the way that we interpret, process, and respond to new experiences. EMDR therapy helps to transform the way traumatic memories are stored and ultimately improve our present-day dysfunction.

EMDR therapy follows three prongs: (1) past events affect dysfunction in the present; (2) current triggers activate memories from the past; (3) imagining desired responses in the future help clients to function more adaptively. EMDR therapy consists of eight phases. The beginning phases are focused on history-taking, treatment planning, and preparation. The middle phases involve reprocessing and desensitizing target memories through bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or tapping. Bilateral stimulation in an integral component in transforming the way memories are stored in our systems. The last phases of EMDR are reserved for closure, reevaluation, and integrating future changes.

There are many benefits to EMDR therapy. It is a healing and powerful process that helps clients to resolve traumatic or distressing memories. It does not require detailed discussion about past distressing events. EMDR can be used with individuals across the lifespan and can be used to treat a wide variety of challenges, including, but not limited to anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, chronic illness and medical difficulties, depression, eating disorders, grief and loss, pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbances, and addiction. It is important that both the clinician and client take time to determine whether EMDR aligns well with the client’s therapeutic journey. Clinicians who are trained or certified in EMDR at New View Psychology Group can help you to determine whether EMDR therapy is a good fit for you in achieving your goals.