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. EMDR is most often provided in standard treatment sessions. You may have engaged in therapy before and experienced a lot of growth but felt like there was something 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 manualized process that incorporates bi-lateral (back and forth) eye movements that trigger the coding in your brain where traumatic experiences are stored. I guide you through the movements while you focus on thoughts, beliefs, bodily sensations, sensory data (smell, sounds, images, etc.), and emotions. Because these pieces of information are stored throughout the brain, EMDR is formulated so that it reaches into all of the crevices to extract each piece. Through a sequence of questions, you are able to move through the traumatic experience so that healing can take place.
(View the videos below for more 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 trauma comparison thinking. We are all allowed to heal regardless of the experiences of those around us. Your healing is up to you.
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 are in control of 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?
While doing this work, I often hear clients express embarrassment, shame, and guilt connected to their experiences. They also may think, “I can’t believe this happened to me, how could I possibly share this with someone else?” They are 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 you and myself.
If you think this is the right step for you. Please reach out for more information.