What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a therapeutic protocol used in the treatment of mental and emotional trauma. It has been widely praised in the United States and is currently used by agencies such as the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Those suffering from PTSD caused by major traumas such as sexual or physical assault, combat experiences, accidents, childhood traumas, or the sudden death of a loved, can benefit from EMDR therapy. Recent research has pointed to the fact that PTSD can also result from other life events, such as hurtful experiences during childhood.
Work Related Stress and EMDR
EMDR is also effective in improving stress response and alleviating symptoms such as sleep disturbance, high anxiety, and depressive symptoms. These symptoms are often present for individuals working in a high stress work environments due to ongoing exposure to distressing and traumatic situations, crisis management, and maintaining high-accountability, leadership and decision-making roles. Such environments may include:
Human Services Agencies
Child Welfare Services
Emergency Response Services
Sessions work to alleviate symptoms including flashbacks and nightmares, angry outbursts, difficulties sleeping and concentrating, anxious tendencies, and feelings of depression or isolation.
In either case, once trauma has been experienced, there is a disruption in how the brain processes information. In a “normal” brain that has not experienced a shocking event, processing systems digest information about what has been experienced and make appropriate connections. Those reactions to the event that are no longer useful, any emotions or physical sensations, are released.
However, when an individual experiences a traumatic event, this processing system is disrupted and the negative memories and emotions, as well as physical sensations and beliefs, are stored in the brain. These stored traumatic interpretations mingle with current events to color them negatively. In short, the past becomes the present.
The Benefit of EMDR Therapy
EMDR is an effective protocol to treat these unprocessed past memories that are poisoning the present. EMDR is able to remove the anxiety, fear and sadness that cause individuals to avoid or overreact to situations.
EMDR techniques allow individuals to identify early memories that are the root of their problems and change their emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations surrounding them. These same techniques can also help people achieve desired goals by understanding why they do what they do and how they can manage life and their own behaviors better.
EMDR is used to treat a variety of issues including:
- Sexual and/or Physical Abuse
- Anxiety Attacks
- Performance Anxiety
- Stress Reduction
- Complicated Grief
- Disturbing Memories
- Pain Disorders
If you or a loved one suffer from any of the above and believe you may benefit from EMDR, please contact us. Review our services for Adults and Children and Teens page for more information on how we can help.