top of page

Using EMDR as part of treatment

After something traumatic happens, it’s common for the experience to get “locked” into the brain which continues to be triggered whenever a reminder comes up – images, sounds, thoughts, feelings, smells, and so on.  It can be the basis for a lot of discomfort and sometimes a lot of negative emotions, such as fear and helplessness, that we can’t seem to control.  These are really emotions connected to the old experience that is being triggered present day.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) methodology is a form of Adaptive Information Processing which may help the brain unlock maladaptive material.  The eye movements used in EMDR seem to unlock the system and allow your brain to process the experience.  Similar to what happens during REM (rapid eye movement in sleep – when the most intense dreaming tends to take place), the eye movements appear to be involved during the processing of unconscious material.  The locked material is in an isolated memory network in the brain which prevents learning from taking place and the old material just keeps getting triggered.  In another part of your brain, in a separate network, is most of the information you need to resolve it, it’s just prevented from linking up to the old material.  Once we start processing with EMDR, through bilateral stimulation the two networks can link up and new information can come to mind and resolve the old problems.

EMDR therapy may also allow clients to work through responses related to anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks, dissociative disorders, depression, phobias, identity crisis, and other traumatic experiences.  Repressed memories may surface with the use of EMDR therapy and it is not unusual for a target memory to be linked to other, unexpected material.  It is important to note that traumatic material retrieved in any psychotherapy may or may not be historically accurate and is subject to a variety of contamination, as are all memories.  EMDR therapy does not, in itself, guarantee the accuracy of retrieved material.  The only way to actually validate retrieved material as historically accurate is through independent verification.

The goal of EMDR is not to erase difficult memories, but to ease the reactions we experience in the present moment about what happened in the past. EMDR can help to unlocks the negative memories and emotions that are stored in the brain, kind of “de-tangling” memories.  Once the memory is de-tangled, it can be processed and, in a sense, reprogrammed. It enables you to process trauma and be able to deal with it effectively and move forward, instead of being "stuck" with it.

The important thing to remember is that it is your own brain that will be doing the healing and that you are the one in control.  I am here as a guide and support through this process.

To begin EMDR therapy services, we will start with an assessment process, and make sure that you have the tools you need to have a successful EMDR experience.

Contact me to discuss EMDR services further to see if this might be a helpful direction for your care.

Brain Sketch
bottom of page