EMDREMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a psychotherapeutic method developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. and is extremely successful helping people who struggle with a wide variety of emotional problems. EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, (either right/left eye movements, tactile stimulation, or right/left audio) which activates the opposite sides of the brain, helping to release "trapped” emotional experiences in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the foundation of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and heal itself. As disturbing images and feelings are processed through bilateral stimulation, resolution of the issue and a more peaceful state are achieved.
When a person is involved or witnesses a traumatic or disturbing event, the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings are stored in the brain and body and are stored as memories. Research has shown that a memory is initially formed using bilateral stimulation and occurs naturally and automatically, but then becomes "trapped". When the person either recalls a disturbing memory or encounters associated environmental cues (similar smells, tastes, noises, etc. associated with the trauma), they re-experience the traumatic event through a repetitive form of feeling (both emotional and physical), thinking and often behaving. Through EMDR, the person is encouraged to think of the disturbing memory or event and with bilateral stimulation, the memory which is "trapped” is able to be unlocked. EMDR then uses the same process of bilateral stimulation to pair new feelings and thoughts to the original event thereby leaving the person far less emotionally distressed and freed from the disturbing associations of the memory.
EMDR can be used to help you work through a variety of situations ranging from poor self esteem to depression to molest or rape. EMDR can be applied to almost every arena and subject encountered in talk therapy, and almost always facilitates and enhances the process. EMDR takes place during normal session time and consists of the client either holding two small vibrating "tappers" or visually tracking something back and forth, or listening to alternating tones, all which initiate bilateral stimulation. I then ask them to recall certain events and memories and the process evolves as a combination of me guiding my client and them informing me of what thoughts, feelings, beliefs and physical sensations arise. Most of my clients enjoy using EMDR and ask for repeated sessions. It can be emotionally intense, but the outcome is relieving and comforting.
If you would like more information on EMDR, please visit my resources page or contact me and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
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