Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an intervention with over 30 years of proven effectiveness for treating trauma and most other mental health challenges. It is the go-to treatment for short-term support during natural disasters and mass trauma events. EMDR therapists often convene in these spaces to provide immediate support, and by doing so, more severe mental health symptoms are often prevented.
But EMDR is not just for short-term work. You may have engaged in therapy before and experienced a lot of growth but felt like something was missing. You learned about your patterns of behavior and the historical creation of these patterns. Maybe you asked "What do I do with this information?" or "Now that I know all these things, how do I continue to heal further?" EMDR may be the answer for you.
What is EMDR?
Unlike other trauma interventions, EMDR does not require you to speak the details of your traumatic experience, although it is okay if you do as it can be helpful for many people.
EMDR is a treatment that incorporates Dual Attention Stimuli (DAS), which are back-and-forth eye movements. Tracking your eyes back and forth allows you to access the storage in your brain where traumatic experiences are kept. I guide you through the eye movements while you focus on images, thoughts, emotions, or bodily sensations connected to the experience. Because these pieces of information are stored throughout the brain, EMDR DAS allows you to attend to them so you can process them. Through a sequence of questions, you can move through the traumatic experience so that healing can take place.
(View the videos below for additional information.)
What is Trauma?
Trauma is often identified as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, but this is a limited view that can be minimizing of all the other ways in which we experience harmful events. Trauma can be different things for many people. Comparing your trauma to the traumas of others is a hurtful invalidating process that many of us have done. If there is an event that stands out to you in your life that you need healing around, that's all you need to know. We can work on that.
Do I have to have a Big T event?
Many of us have had Big T (Big Trauma) events and small t (Small Trauma) events. Sometimes the small t events, which can add up over time, amount to a greater impact than Big T events. This can make someone question if their experiences “qualify” as traumatic and sends them into comparing their trauma to others and discounting their experiences. We are all allowed to heal regardless of the experiences of those around us.
What if you don't think you can handle it?
There is a significant amount of preparation that comes before we process trauma. We will spend time together building our relationship throughout the intake process and while learning about EMDR. You will also learn many coping, grounding, and self-regulating skills to support you lifelong. You will decide when we begin. We will devise a way to identify levels of distress and ways to stop the process so you can re-ground and continue through the process towards healing.
What if you don't think I can handle it?
Sometimes people may think, “I can’t believe this happened to me, how could I possibly share this with someone else?” They might be communicating the fear of hurting me with their story. It’s important for me that you know I consciously choose to engage in this work with appropriate education, care, deep respect for your experience, and support for the benefit of our work in a sustainable way. I am prepared to support you.
What if I don't have trauma?
A trauma history is not required for EMDR. One of the greatest impacts of EMDR is the ability to go back and process an event that has been tucked away. Events like these can leave a trail throughout our life that may cause distress or challenges in specific areas of our life. EMDR allows us to go back to that moment and process it so that you can move on from that event.
If you think EMDR may be the right step for you. Please reach out for more information.