EMDR Treatment for Trauma
EMDR Relieves PTSD from Sexual & Physical Trauma, Medical Procedures such as Birth & Surgical Trauma and Crime
EMDR has twenty years of research to support its efficacy. The US Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration cites EMDR as an evidence-based treatment, many US VA hospitals use EMDR as treatment for combat veterans, and the both the Israeli and Irish governments have approved EMDR as an efficacious treatment for trauma. Research studies can be found on the EMDR website.
Working through the mind and body, EMDR therapy integrates images, thoughts, feelings and body signals to integrate disparate memories of traumatic events. EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD, over 20 years ago. The letters EMDR stand for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which can be a confusing name, as not everyone, including myself, uses eye movement as part of the EMDR treatment. Auditory or tactile stimulation can be used as well. You will hold 2 inch long, non-invasive plastic paddles in your hands that produce a mild buzzing as we process your traumatic memories and feelings.
EMDR therapy allows the bodymind to re-process traumatic memories in a safe, therapeutic manner, working much like the process of REM sleep.
EMDR helps relieve the dissociation, emotional distress and numbing that often haunts adult survivors of sexual abuse. EMDR helps integrate the traumatic experiences into the concept of the self, helps recreate a more in-depth personal narrative and thus helps people feel whole again.
The EMDR technique was first solely used as a way to treat and reprocess major trauma and PTSD. EMDR helps reprocess and integrate long-standing traumatic memories, feelings and thoughts about events such as childhood sexual and physical abuse, childhood neglect, trauma from necessary medical procedures, care accidents, interpersonal domestic violence and crime.
Because of the high emotional and physical charge of a traumatic event, the imagistic image of a traumatic memory can be stored in a fragmented manner in the right brain and additionally, is not linked to a left-brain narrative memory.
Fragmented traumatic memories have a sense of timelessness and are highly charged with emotion and physicality. If a traumatic memory is triggered, a flashback memory occurs, with accompanying emotion and body sensations.
Because of the fragmented way traumatic memories are stored in the brain, the entirety of the experience (emotional and physical) is not moved or processed through the brain and nervous system and consolidated in a natural manner during sleep. During REM sleep, we process the experiences of the day into memory and consolidate emotional learning.
Through EMDR, reprocessing and integration of traumatic imagery, feelings, thoughts and memories is possible in a safe, respectful manner that does not re-traumatize the client.
I integrate EMDR into my regular psychotherapy practice, along with other techniques such as guided imagery and expressive art. Somatic therapies complement verbal therapies to provide access and integration of right and left brain memory fragments.