What is EMDR:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a specialized treatment created by Francine Shapiro. This is a unique, efficient, and highly effective therapy technique for deeper mental, emotional, and physical healing. It was designed for trauma, but extensive research has shown that it is effective for a variety of issues, as well as improving confidence and performance.
EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation (stimulating both sides of the brain) in the therapy process to help make more significant shifts in your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions, as well as physical sensations. This was originally done with eye movements, hence the name. Eyes would be directed to look side to side, similar to what they do during REM sleep when you are processing information in your sleep and dreams. However, now there are a variety of ways to use bilateral stimulation, such as tones in the ears, tapping on the hands, etc. Commonly people will choose to hold onto small handles in their hands that give a light vibration alternating between the two hands.
EMDR can be very effective for:
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Panic Attacks
- Flashbacks, disturbing memories, nightmares
- Stuck feelings or patterns you haven't been able to shift with talk therapy
- Anger or rage
- and more...
How is EMDR different from talk therapy:
Talk therapy helps you identify your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and processes them verbally with a therapist. The therapist is trained to help guide you through this process and help you verbalize your experience into a new understanding. This is very effective for many people, and is beneficial in a variety of ways.
EMDR requires much less talking. It allows the brain to do more of the work on its own, as it already knows how to do. The methods in EMDR, along with the trained skill of the therapist as your guide, help the brain reprocess information that talk therapy perhaps has not been able to reach, or has simply been ineffective for.
Not all processing and healing can be verbalized into words. In addition, some people fear or avoid therapy because they don't want to "talk about their problems" or go over every detail of what has happened to them. Therefore, EMDR can be a great addition to talk therapy, or an alternative option.
EMDR might be a good option for you if:
- You dread having to talk a lot about your problems
- You have tried traditional talk therapy and it was not helpful
- You have memories or images you can't get out of your mind
- You get intense physical reactions you don't understand, or feel you can't control
- You seem to be triggered by memories or incidents, and react quickly emotionally or physically
- You are numb, and need to escape often (alcohol, drugs, internet, etc.)
- You are avoiding people, places, relationships etc.