Recovery Maintenance Workshop
EMDR – Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a therapeutic technique used for treating a wide range of disorders (see list), including post-traumatic stress, generalized anxiety and depression
How does EMDR work?
Because the full scope of memory storage includes the environmental aspects (auditory, kinesthetic, visual, olfactory) present at the time of the original event, when a new event takes place, it is often experientially linked to past events and results in an accumulated emotional level of distress that feels automatic and hard to make sense of. The corresponding negative thoughts and feelings become part of one's mode for interpreting new events and results in inaccurate conclusions.
EMDR allows the original event to be processed fully on a sensory level-making the event truly stored as past; with a beginning, middle, and end, as opposed to the event staying open like a link in a chain of blended events.
What can I expect during an EMDR session?
The beginning of the session will be mostly information gathering to target key events. As the thoughts and feelings are identified, your therapist will guide you to redirect eye movement with the accompaniment of your shared thoughts and feelings.
Disorders That Can Be Treated with EMDR:
- Childhood trauma
- Anger mgmt. – Intermittent Explosive
- Anxiety due to Recent trauma/vicarious trauma
- Atypical grief
Sometimes, with trauma, the brain cannot process certain emotions and the experience and/or its accompanying feelings are often suppressed from consciousness. However, the distress lives on in the nervous system where it causes disturbances in the emotional functioning of the person.
The EMDR Technique does two very important things. First, it "unlocks" the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain to successfully process the experience.
The therapist works gently with the client, guiding him or her to revisit the traumatic incident. When the memory is brought to mind, the feelings are re-experienced in a new way. EMDR makes it possible to gain the self-knowledge and perspective that will enable the client to choose their actions, rather than feeling powerless over their re-actions. This process can be complex if there are many experiences connected to the negative feelings. The EMDR therapy sessions continue until the traumatic memories and emotions are relieved.
What are the advantages of EMDR Therapy?
Research studies show that EMDR is very effective in helping people process emotionally painful and traumatic experiences. When used in conjunction with other therapy modalities, EMDR helps move the client quickly from emotional stress to peaceful resolution of the issues or events involved.
EMDR sessions work amazingly fast. Processing even the most difficult memories can be achieved in a fraction of the time it would have taken with traditional therapy.
Traditional therapies often focus on memories from the unconscious mind, and then analyze their meaning to gain insight into the problem. EMDR clients also acquire valuable insights during therapy, but EMDR can short-cut the process and go right to the releasing stage.
The positive, long-term results of EMDR therapy affect all levels of the client´s well-being ‐ mental, emotional and physical, so that their responses return to normalcy and health.
Studies consistently show that treatment with EMDR result in elimination of the targeted emotion. The memory remains, but the negative response is neutralized.
What problems are helped by EMDR?
The studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following conditions:
- loss of loved one
- injury of a loved one
- car accident
- work accident
- natural disaster
- witness to violence
- childhood abuse
- victims of violent crimes
- performance anxiety
- stage fright
- anxiety or panic
- childhood trauma
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- post -traumatic stress
- bad temper
- overwhelming fears
- panic attacks
- low self-esteem
- relationship problems
- brooding or worrying
- trouble sleeping
The EMDR technique is most effective when used in conjunction with other traditional methods of therapy in treating these and many other emotional disorders.
EMDR therapy can help clients replace their anxiety and fear with positive images, emotions and thoughts.