What is EMDR?
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing is a psychotherapy approach that has been extensively studied and proven effective in the treatment of trauma. More recently, studies have shown that EMDR is also effective in treating:
Generally, EMDR therapy can bring quick relief to clients and gives long lasting effects to treatment, therefore reducing the number of sessions as compared to general talk therapy.
How does it work?
Trauma counseling with EMDR uses eye movements similar to those that we experience in dream sleep (REM) to reduce the intensity of upsetting memories and/or emotions. EMDR therapy helps reduce the intensity of the feelings, images, and sounds that go along with the memories of the trauma. When we have a traumatic experience and are upset, our brain is unable to store the memory in the way it normally would. When this happens it can feel like the trauma continues to be very vivid even years after the experience. During EMDR, the rapid eye movements engage both hemispheres of the brain, allowing it to process the traumatic event both cognitively and emotionally. People tend to get results fast with EMDR.
In a typical session, you are asked you to recall specific parts of the memory and then begin eye movements. This makes EMDR an ideal for individuals who have trouble talking about the specific event. You are able to have better insight into your experience, shifting from negative beliefs about yourself to more positive. This allows you to gain control over emotions. After participating in effective EMDR trauma counseling, the memory is less intense, allowing for it to be recalled without intense emotions. Importantly, it also helps you not respond to future events with anxiety or a trauma response.
Who can EMDR help?
EMDR is useful with both children and adults. There are times when experiences may not seem traumatic or be considered a trauma, but are still registered in the brain in an unhelpful way. Some examples of events EMDR can help with include:
History of learning struggles
History of social rejection
Childhood abuse of any kind
Witnessing an accident or violence
Going through a major emotional event such as a divorce or the loss of a friend or relative
Going through a natural disaster
Having a profession such as a police officer or firefighter
EMDR is also known to help people with specific phobias and fears or individuals with emotional blocks among many other issues.
If you want to learn more about how EMDR can help you, give us a call at 720-583-9332. Our therapists are EMDR counselors. We are happy to help you learn more about it so you can decide if it is a good fit to help you reach your goals!
Written by Tanja Gorenc, MA, LMFTC