What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma, anxiety, OCD, depression, substance abuse, grief, and much more. EMDR is an 8 Phase process that uses a set of standardized protocols that integrates several different treatment approaches.
What happens when we have trauma?
When we experience trauma or traumatic events that resulted in traumatic stress, parts of our prefrontal cortex shut down, leaving our limbic system in charge. Our limbic system is comprised of our emotions, memories, and survival instincts (fight, flight, freeze, and sometimes, fawn). Often, individuals who have experienced trauma or traumatic events are aware of their emotions but struggle to articulate them. This is because part of our language is stored in the prefrontal cortex, specifically our dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which shut down during the traumatic event. When we live in survival mode (anxiety, fear, panic) or if we are continuously triggered by these same survival mode emotions, our brain cannot process our traumatic experience(s) as just a memory; instead we end up reliving our trauma over and over again each. Thus, we live in this vicious loop, even when we are asleep.
Our brain goes through several stages while we sleep, but it is in our REM sleep that our brain processes information and allows us to store memories as "normal" memories. However, with trauma, each time we enter REM sleep and our brain attempts to process, we experience the same fear, anxiety and panic (survival instincts) that we experienced during the time that the traumatic experience occurred. This is the basis for why we experience nightmares. These nightmares keep us in the same loop (we can't ever run away fast enough or stop ourselves from falling, etc.), and the emotions we experience in our nightmares wake us up, thus not allowing our brains to remain in REM long enough to heal.
How does EMDR help?
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to activate the opposite sides of our brain to allow our brain to process the trauma as a memory. Bilateral stimulation, whether eye-movements, tapping, audio, etc., helps to keep our prefrontal cortex awake while processing traumatic events, which allows for a lesser emotional charge behind the trauma. EMDR helps the brain process traumatic memories in such a way that normal functioning is resumed.
I utilize EMDR to help my clients discover and process negative beliefs that have resulted from relational, sexual, and physical trauma, narcissistic abuse, and other traumatic experiences, in order to help them file these traumatic events away like "normal" memories. My extensive training as a certified EMDR therapist allows me to provide this evidenced based intervention to clients in virtual and in-person settings.
EMDR Intensives: Half-Day (3 hours) and Full-Day (6-hours)
EMDR Sessions: 90-minutes
*EMDR can also be split up into 53-minute sessions for insurance coverage.
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