Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
What is EMDR?
It is a type of therapy that uses 'bilateral stimulation' to engage both sides of the brain, help it desensitize certain maladaptively stored information, and allow this information to be reprocessed in a healthier way. Bilateral stimulation is primarily in the form of eye movements; however, other options can be explored based on each client's tolerance.
What does EMDR treat?
It was initially used to treat significant traumas ("big T" traumas), like PTSD symptoms resulting from war, rape, childhood sexual abuse, and the like. However, over the years it was learned that EMDR is also effective in treating "little t" traumas. This category includes such things as anxiety, phobias, low self-esteem, faulty internalized messages from the past, and sports enhancement, just to name a few emotionally charged issues that can possibly be treated effectively with EMDR.
How does EMDR work?
While the reason is not currently clearly understood, the brain seems to store some emotionally charged issues differently than many other life experiences. We call this 'maladaptive' rather than 'adaptive' storing. The trained therapist uses bilateral stimulation, primarily through eye movements, to 'unlock' the maladaptively stored neural pathway that houses the emotionally charged situation. This pathway then has the ability to connect with more adaptive neural pathways, allowing the individual to process the trauma more effectively. The previously stored intense emotions and body sensations are lessened and the individual is able to view the experience through a healthier lens - a more adaptive lens.
If you are interested in EMDR therapy, I strongly encourage you to do your own investigation. PLEASE view reputable websites, such as emdria.org, to ensure you are getting reliable information. Then, during your counseling sessions, we can fully discuss your interest in EMDR therapy to determine its possible application for you.