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EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR?

EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapy practice that focuses on sensory, cognitive, emotional, and somatic memories associated with trauma. It is not a traditional talk therapy, and is the top recommended treatment for stress- and trauma-related mental health disorders by the WHO, APA, and VA. 

 

In sessions there is a focus on present situations, where the problem is experienced physically in the body, and how the client would like to deal with future challenges. 

Benefits of EMDR

Overtime EMDR therapy helps the brain heal  to achieve healthy emotional processing and mental health. EMDR has several benefits that includes:

  • Reduce stress related to trauma-induced memories 

  • Improve self esteem 

  • Alleviate and manage PTSD Symptoms 

  • Reduce anxiety and depression 

  • Decrease night terrors and flashbacks

Conditions that EMDR Treats

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Depression disorder 

  • Dissociative disorders 

  • Eating disorders

  • OCD

  • Personality disorder 

  • PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)

  • Trauma

EMDR Process 
What to Expect

The brain is a muscle that experiences both positive and negative linking between consciousness and information storage. EMDR follows the Adaptive Information Processing model (AIP) to support your brain's ability to transform troubling information/experiences into healthy, adaptive, and positive memory networks.

 

The AIP model provides a framework for understanding how traumatic experiences affect you, helping your brain re-process traumatic experiences to make new brain connections, deconstructing negative core beliefs, and developing coping skills to deal with negative emotions. 

A summary of the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy process is below. 

1.

History Taking

Focus on gathering information through a non-judgemental and supportive therapeutic alliance between therapist and client.

3.

Assessment

Client accesses target memories while therapist assesses memories to sensory components and reactions.

5

Installation

Once desensitization is complete the client affirms positive connections with the target event until it becomes completely authentic.

7

Closure

Therapist supports client in returning to a calm state for complete and incomplete reprocessing sessions.

2.

Preparation

The therapist prepares the client for a thorough understanding of EMDR treatment and mechanics to determine client readiness for memory processing.

4.

Desensitization

Side to side eye movements, sounds, or taps are incorporated while focusing on the traumatic event. 

6

Body Scan

A body scan is performed from head to toe as the client is asked to think of the target event and positive belief, lingering feels during this phase is reprocessed.

8

Reevaluation

For each new session, client and therapist talk about emerging processed memories to ensure that positive memory connections are still present.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are ready to make change and would like to speak with Megan DuBose about EMDR therapy, please schedule a free 15-minute consult.

What is Happening in your Brain

Effects of trauma and EMDR treatment on the brain

Brain Scan | Before and After EMDR 

Here are two brain scans of a female patient with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) . The red areas indicate over-activity (referring to constant activity, easily distracted, impulsiveness, lack of focus and other related behaviors) in the brain - likely resulting from the trauma she endured and continued to live life with. The left photo scan is her brain prior to EMDR therapy. The right photo scan is her brain after four 90-minute EMDR therapy sessions. The reduction in over-activity in the brain signifies a brain experiencing relief from PTSD symptoms thanks to EMDR therapy.

The Healing Process: The Brain Making New Connections

Scientists and psychologists used to think that neuroplasticity only occurred during childhood. The implication of this thinking was that childhood trauma and adverse experiences were believed to permanently affect personality in adulthood.

 

The discovery that neuroplasticity occurs throughout our lives was important because it provides a reason for us to keep trying to heal and grow throughout the lifespan. So when someone says to you "Trauma rewires your brain." it is important to remember that healing does too. Meaning, although we cannot erase difficult and traumatic memories, we can certainly lessen the impact that they have on our current functioning and way of experiencing the world. E

 

Here are some neurons under a microscope sensing and connecting. Our brains neurons are continuously growing and actively searching between different cells to find a spot to connect. This is what happens during the EMDR sessions your neurons are finding new spots to connect as they are growing new positive connects.

Who is Best Suited for EMDR?

Suffering from trauma and PTSD

EMDR therapy is best for clients that have experienced traumatic experiences that have left them unable to cope or process heavy emotions in a healthy way. Although all people are welcome to try EMDR, due to the complexity and severity of certain individual experiences EMDR is best suitable for clients that have experienced: 

  • Physical or Sexual assault

  • Traumatic childhood events

  • Neglect or abandonment

  • War

  • Natural disasters

  • Sudden, traumatic loss of a loved one

Additional Information about EMDR

EMDR

An overview of the multiple research studies hat support the effectiveness of EMDR therapy.

EMDR

Healing Trauma with EMDR

The EMDR International Association explains the phases and process of EMDR therapy and how it can be a force in healing trauma.

EMDR

Does EMDR remove shame?

Actress Jameel Jamil, discusses how she healed her trauma through EMDR therapy, on the Under the Skin Podcast. 

EMDR

Neuroplasticity Explained

Perth Brain Centre explains the activation of neuroplasticity that allows people to train and control their brainwaves.

Effects of trauma and EMDR treatment on the brain
EMDR

The BBC interviews scientist who through new technology reveal how our brains continue to change and rewire itself as we age.

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