Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a structured therapy with bi-lateral stimulation to desensitize reactions to distressing events.
Within each of us is a natural adaptive ability that helps us to move through most of the upsetting things that happen in life. However, despite our best efforts, sometimes very upsetting events continue to impact us causing anxiety and other strong reactions.
Very disturbing experiences can interfere with brain processing and block the brain's ability to integrate what has happened. After EMDR the disruptive event is remembered as part of the past, rather than consuming attention and impacting behavior, thoughts, and feelings in the present. EMDR is unique in that it is designed to integrate all parts of the memory such as feelings, thoughts, and sensations using bi-lateral stimulation through eye movements, tones, or tapping.
Recent events or situations from long ago can be re-processed. For many people counseling with EMDR therapy has been a means to move beyond experiences that held them back in some way. They often report having a greater depth of self understanding, emotional healing, and behavior change after EMDR therapy.
I combine EMDR therapy with mindfulness techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy, skill building, and educational information in counseling sessions. I am an EMDR Certified Therapist with many EMDR advanced trainings, since 2014. EMDR is not appropriate for every person. In my practice it is available for individual counseling, and not typically part of couples counseling.
Video courtesy of EMDR International Association:
Video about EMDR : https://youtu.be/Pkfln-ZtWeY
Signs of trauma can overlap with depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Sometimes people don't consider their experience a "trauma". Instead it might feel more like something upsetting that doesn't feel resolved or continues to be upsetting in some way. To manage the upset people might turn to unhealthy behaviors. They might become critical of themselves for not "getting over" it, and that doesn't help either.
Trauma can include physical or emotional re-experiencing of the situation, fears, sadness, guilt, shame, isolation, avoidance, increased irritation, on-edge feelings, negative beliefs about the self, difficulty functioning, or other reactions that continue long after a disturbing event has passed.
More common life events such as, job stress, relationship changes, divorce, illness, or accidents can cause disruptive or traumatic reactions. Some people experience post-traumatic stress from experiencing or witnessing frightening, dangerous, or violent events such as exposure to death, injury, abuse, or sexual violence. The experience each person has to a situation varies, therefore, it is what you have experienced and what you struggle with that matters most to seeking help for that difficulty.
EMDR is a well-established, widely researched, evidence based therapy successful at reducing disturbing thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions and is recognized as an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by The World Health Organization, American Psychiatric Association, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and SAMHSA.
For more information visit https://www.emdria.org
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