What is EMDR?


EMDR origins

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) unlocks the individual's innate power to heal and to set themselves free from distressing and traumatic events. While the effects of EMDR may feel magical, EMDR is firmly rooted in psychology, neuroscience, somatic psychology, attachment, information processing, and the power of the human spirit.

EMDR was accidentally discovered by Dr. Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s, as she was taking a walk to relieve stress. She noticed herself moving her eyes side-to-side, just taking in the scenery around her. At the end of her walk she felt more relaxed and no longer disturbed by the problems she was grappling over. She became curious.

After decades of exploration and research, EMDR has become the gold standard in the treatment of trauma resolution (PTSD, C-PTSD, Acute Stress), as well as being shown to be highly effective at treating phobias, anxiety, addiction, and issues related to chronic pain and illness. It is highly effective modality to quickly clear the residue and vicarious trauma therapists, healers and activists pick up along the way. EMDR therapy can also be utilized to maximize confidence, wholeness, rootedness and effectiveness as a healer by removing blocks, limiting beliefs and integrating parts of self.

How EMDR works

EMDR invites us to become curious about the underlying traumas driving our present-day stressors, undesired behaviors and emotional pain and relationship struggles. Many of us may know the exact moments that our trauma was locked in our minds, bodies and spirits. Others may not have a clear image of what it is that impacts us so deeply.

Through its eight stages and its intentional focus on past, present and future material, EMDR facilitates awareness, mindfulness, compassion, learning and transformation.

EMDR Essentials

  • The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model is the foundation upon which EMDR operates. The AIP model describes how the brain categorizes, processes and integrates information in an associative and generalizing fashion. We know that traumatic information is stored much differently in the brain than apparently benign information. Traumatic material is improperly stored and not fully digested by the brain. What this means is that traumatic memory networks form, which are unable to integrate with adaptive memory networks. These trauma networks are stored in a state-specific form - a state of high arousal marked by fear and overwhelm. The AIP model also helps us understand that the brain is innately adaptive and capable of generalizing new learnings across many domains. Our brains are resilient and self-healing when given the safe and supportive environment. EMDR simply catalyzes our brain's fantastic capabilities!

  • Utilizing and balancing dual-attention to memories and sensory stimuli (bi-lateral stimulation) in brief sets helps the individual access and appropriately process distressing, traumatic material locked in the brain's neural networks.

  • Trust and honesty in the therapeutic relationship are essential to the safety and effectiveness of EMDR.

  • Preparation, preparation, preparation! No matter the therapy, comprehensive client preparation is vital to their well-being. Preparation involves proper education about EMDR and what to expect through each state and phase. It is also crucial that clients learn and demonstrate adequate use of emotional regulation, grounding and resourcing skills before moving forward through to the reprocessing of disturbing material.

What I love about EMDR therapy

  • It works!

  • There are so many opportunities to use EMDR therapy creatively and in conjunction with other therapy models.

  • EMDR provides greater client and clinican protection against re-traumatization or secondary trauma.

  • I am a lover of science and EMDR is backed by decades of sound science and real life case studies.

  • EMDR therapy is body, mind and spirit oriented.

  • There is a rich emphasis on connection, relationships and attachment.

  • Practicing mindfulness and tapping into one's intuition is essential to the EMDR therapeutic process.

  • EMDR has structured yet flexible protocols that help guide the process.

  • EMDR is relatively easy to decolonize and adapt to the needs of BIOPC who view healing and engaging in healing relationships very differently than the dominant culture.

Curious if EMDR therapy is right for you?

I invite you to contact me to learn more about EMDR therapy and how it might help you attain the healing and freedom you desire! Let's connect: 720-608-8721.