Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR is an evidence-based treatment that has demonstrated effectiveness in treating trauma and other distressful experiences. The therapy consists of using rapid eye movements as well as other forms of bilateral stimulation to reprocess distressing life experiences.
The process is similar to the patterns already occurring during REM sleep patterns. During sleep, our bodies go through periods of REM or rapid eye movements. The REM stage of sleep is alternated with regular sleep. This allows for processing of information we have experienced. In EMDR, we will alternate rapid eye movements with periods of recall (brief reports of what you are experiencing). This allows your brain to reprocess the information and integrate healthier present perspectives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this like being hypnotized?
No. During EMDR, you are present and in control. We also work together prior to any utilization of eye movements to ensure we are working on areas you are comfortable with reprocessing. We can stop, take breaks, and choose what experiences to work on.
Do I have to talk about the trauma that occurred?
Yes and no. You do not have to recount all the details. EMDR is an internal processing method. We alternate between what you are noticing and rapid eye movements to reprocess the experience. That may include elements you want to share, but these moments are brief. There is time after treatment to verbally process events further, but this is completely at your discretion and pace.
How many sessions of EMDR do I need?
This depends on the complexity of the trauma. EMDR combined with other treatment approaches may be helpful in reaching your goals.
What can I expect?
There are several phases of EMDR treatment. Generally and only speaking to EMDR treatment, the initial sessions will encompass your expressed concerns and a collaborative plan for treatment. Following the plan for treatment, we will walk through some questions that will focus on the event, negative thoughts, beliefs, and feelings associated with the event, as well as positive beliefs that we want to incorporate. We will then begin a series of rapid eye movements and brief moments to reflect on what you may be noticing about the event. We continue this phase until the event becomes less distressing. At any time, you can stop or take a break. We go at your pace.
A typical EMDR session is between 60-90 minutes.