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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

“The purpose of EMDR therapy is to help liberate the client from the past into a healthy and productive present.” Francine Shapiro

EMDR therapy, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a process that can include eye movements, bilateral sounds, or tapping, which helps to stimulate a disturbing event, allowing the brain to reprocess the experience so that it is no longer upsetting. EMDR treats various issues from trauma, depression, addictions, phobias, OCD, poor self-image, grief/loss, singular traumatic event, panic attacks, relationship issues, and anxiety.

The process starts by developing ways to self-soothe so you can end each session feeling calm and safe. You will always be in control of the process and notice feelings, thoughts, or body sensations as if observing passing scenery while riding a train.

EMDR works with a given neural network or negative cognition (NC), consisting of the following internal components: thoughts, emotions, memories, sensations, situations, places, and people.

To shift a neural network / NC, you need to activate it. EMDR does just that. It starts the neural network / NC to a particular concept by tapping into one or more of the internal components -like sensations or places and allowing the brain to reprocess the event so that it ceases to be disturbing. Throughout the process, the image associated with the event will lose emotional intensity, while the NC is replaced with a positive cognition related to self..

EMDR helps to:

  • Manage distressing effect

  • Facilitated the development of positive capacities

  • It Alleviates performance anxiety and enhances people’s functioning at work, sports, and in the performing arts.

  • It treats a wide range of pathologies.

  • Can reduce minority stress and increase positive self-esteem for marginalized communities through connection to their innate resilience

You may wonder what makes EMDR distinct from traditional “talk therapies.”

  • Focuses on memory

  • A different model of healing, ‘the brain does the healing.’

  • The trauma-based perspective of psychopathology

  • During a strong emotional response, the Bilateral stimulation continues until you, the client has reached a solution

  • The client does not need to disclose the details of the issue being worked on

  • Work is contained within the sessions

EMDR is not Hypnosis. Instead, EMDR clients are:

  • Not in a state of Hypnosis

  • Are more alert and conscious

  • Are less susceptible to inappropriate suggestions

  • Jump from one key element of the memory to another

  • Is less intrusive

  • It does not take away any true belief

EMDR does work on shifting an NC to a positive cognition.

For example, an NC statement may look like, “I am not lovable.” Through an 8-step process, EMDR allows the brain to repossess that neural network, or NC, to a positive cognition that the client has chosen and seems the truest to you. A positive cognition statement may look like: “I am lovable., or “I am good enough,” or “I did the best I could..” The client is always in control!

EMDR is a fun, creative, powerful experience that can assist clients in gaining relief, peace, and empowerment to live a healthy, functioning life!

“Almost anything can work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…

Including you.” `Anne Lamont


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