EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a therapeutic approach aimed at reducing the intensity of traumatic events, and the thoughts and feelings associated with them. “Trauma” can include many different types of situations, such as a car accident, any type of abuse, school or work problems, peer difficulties, or any disturbing or frightening life experience. The memories of such difficult or disturbing events can get stuck, resulting in lingering images, feelings, behaviors, sounds, smells, body sensations, unhelpful patterns, etc. These can interfere with how well a person functions, and can ultimately affect relationships, work, social interactions, and even one’s sense of self.
EMDR seems to work by assisting the way the brain processes information, with the ultimate goal of integrating emotional and cognitive processing. During EMDR, past experiences are targeted and one is asked about any thoughts and feelings, beliefs, and sensations associated with the issue. Positive future experiences are also discussed. Sessions involve bilateral stimulation of the brain, either by using earphones to listen to tones in one’s ears, by feeling massaging vibrations in one’s hands, or by using eye movements from side to side. It is this bilateral simulation that assists the brain with shifting the way traumatic experiences are stored in one’s memory. The beauty of using EMDR is that the unconscious mind processes memories and their associations about 1,000 times as fast as the conscious mind, so the therapeutic work can be quicker and sometimes less intense as other techniques. As a result of EMDR sessions, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, feelings, etc. associated with a traumatic event. It may be that someone still remembers the event, but it feels less upsetting. New insights, associations, and thoughts also can occur. The emotional and cognitive changes can also result in behavioral, personal, and relational changes.
People who are good candidates for EMDR therapy are those who are able to handle emotional distress, who have good coping skills, are in generally good physical health, and who are relatively stable. The advantage of this technique is that it is client-directed, meaning it is sensitive to the pace and needs of each particular person. It has also been highly researched and validated as a useful method to experience relief.
For more information, you are welcome to call me and we can discuss your particular situation. Only certain practitioners are permitted to conduct EMDR sessions. I have the training (previously called level I training and level II training) and experience to conduct EMDR sessions based on the specified protocol. For more information about EMDR, you can access the EMDR International Association website: http://www.emdria.org.
EMDR can be helpful with a variety of clinical issues, including (but not limited to) the following:
Anxiety about fertility or pregnancy, general worry
Birth complications or trauma
Abuse—physical, sexual, emotional, mental
Grief or loss
Family of origin issues
It can also be useful with:
Jennifer Moné, Ph.D., PLLC ● 1776 South Jackson Street, Suite 204 ● Denver, CO 80210 ● 720-532-5600
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