EMDR Therapy (or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) is a breakthrough, evidence-based approach to help people heal from disturbing life experiences. It is a non-invasive, client-therapist collaboration that quickly offers clients the same benefits that once took years of traditional talk therapy to achieve. EMDR is backed by extensive research and is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization as a leading treatment for mild to severe traumatic stress.
There are the "big T" traumas such as car accidents and sexual assault as well as developmental and attachment traumas like childhood experiences of maltreatment, neglect, and abuse. An individual's untreated trauma history is shown to have ongoing present-day impact and can manifest as health issues, eating disorders, addictions, anger, relationship struggles, and the like. EMDR Therapy allows clients to safely identify and reprocess the root-cause traumatic information until it is no longer disruptive to their everyday lives.
Clinicians and clients have reported success using EMDR Therapy for a variety of conditions including:
• High anxiety and panic attacks
• Complicated grief
• Intrusive thoughts (flashbacks) and fragmented memories
• Chronic illness
• Performance and social anxiety
• Stress reduction and workplace burnout
• Sexual and/or physical assault
• Eating disorders and weight issues
• Dissociative disorders
What makes attachment and developmental PTSD so distressing is that while there is the sincere desire for connection and community, past relationship ruptures cause an individual to vacillate between avoidance/isolation and high emotional reactivity in their relationships today. EMDR treats the symptoms and struggles of complex PTSD such as:
Poor emotional regulation
Impulsive risk-taking; Self-destructive behaviors
Guilt and shame
Distorted sense of responsibility and failure
Feelings of being permanently damaged
Sense of alienation and profound loneliness
Constant inner criticism and judgment
Loss of purpose and self-defeating spiritual beliefs
What is a trauma memory?
When there is a real or perceived threat to our well-being the brain says "Hold on to this experience, keep it on the forefront of your mind, so if anything similar to it happens again you’ll be ready next time”. This creates anxiety, stress, and hyper-vigilance because you are now constantly living ‘on the ready’ for the same next bad thing to happen. Miserable, right? This root memory also implants a negative, limiting belief about yourself, life, God, and others because we over-identify with the experience. The distorted belief is, if something this bad happened to me there must be something wrong with me.
What’s wonderful about EMDR is that you don’t have to work hard to find these core trauma memories. You are naturally designed to heal and with the right activation and the support of a qualified, compassionate therapist your brain knows where to find the distressing memory. You stay in the driver's seat and your innate wisdom leads the way to healing and freedom.
You become far less reactive to the past which empowers you to choose behaviors and beliefs that contribute to your health, confidence, and sense of purpose.
What the experts are saying about EMDR:
“EMDR quickly opens new windows on reality, allowing people to see solutions within themselves that they never knew were there. And it’s a therapy where the client is very much in charge, which can be particularly meaningful when people are recovering from having their power taken away by abuse and violation.”
- Laura S. Brown, Ph.D., Award Recipient for Public Health Service, American Psychological Association
“EMDR is one of the most powerful tools I’ve encountered for treating post-traumatic stress. In the hands of a competent and compassionate therapist, it gives people the means to heal themselves.”
- Steven Silver, Ph.D., Former director of the PTSD Unit, Veterans Administration Medical Center
“Because EMDR doesn’t require people to speak about the intolerable or explain to a therapist why they feel so upset, it allows them to stay fully focused on their internal experiences, with extraordinary results.”
- Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., Psychiatrist, Trauma Expert, and Author of The Body Keeps the Score