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(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

What is EMDR

(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

EMDR is an 8-phase therapeutic process discovered by an American Psychologist, Francine Shapiro, in 1987  The eight phases include: History and Treatment Planning, Preparation, Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, Body Scan, and Closure.  While true EMDR utilizes all 8 phases, when people talk about EMDR, they are generally referring to the Desensitization stage.  This is the stage which involves Bilateral Stimulation, which can be done through various types of alternating bilateral stimulations including eye movement, tapping on the knees or hands, using hand-held buzzers, or listening to auditory stimuli.

How Does EMDR Work?

Bilateral Stimulation

EMDR can be very fast acting. Because of the bilateral stimulation, people are able to process through their issues much more quickly and effectively than traditional talk therapy.  Essentially, the Bilateral Stimulation works with both hemispheres of the brain to help desensitize the neural pathways the brain currently uses when thinking about a traumatic event (Desensitization Stage).  The Bilateral Stimulation is then able to create new neural pathways in the brain to install a stronger, more positive belief (Installation Stage).
One of the aspects of EMDR I most appreciate is that clients can experience it in many different ways.  For some, it involves thoughts, memories, or feelings.  For others, the process may involve more physical sensations such as pressure in the chest.  Regardless of how people process through their target issue, the goal is to reduce the distress associated with the target issue.

Treatment Areas

EMDR was originally developed to treat the effects of trauma. It is also commonly reported to be helpful with:

  • Achieving Peak Performance in Sports, Public Speaking, and Academics.

  • Improving Self-Esteem and Reducing Stress.

  • Decreasing Performance Anxiety.

  • Reducing Panic.

  • Letting go of Negative Beliefs about Yourself, the World, and Others.

  • Reducing or Resolving Emotional Issues Related to Painful Memories. Stress, Mood, or Anxiety.

  • Pain Management

  • Grief

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