What is EMDR?
It stands for Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing. Big words to basically say a cool way for trauma processing. I’ll spare you the science details (if you want to talk and learn more about it, please let me know). EMDR (for short) is an evidence-based technique to process trauma with a licensed and trained professional. It may seem a little hooky, but the process is to help your brain realign with your body. Because of trauma, your body responds to stimuli or day to day life with some sensitivity that sometimes doesn’t actually relate to the immediate stimuli. *Trigger warning* ever been told “you are over-reacting”? Well, that’s potentially a trauma response. When we have experienced something traumatic, it leaves a fingerprint that can show up at any time. It’s almost like watching a scene in a movie over and over trying to figure out how to move on to the rest of the movie, just a seemingly never ending loop.
How it works? Through eye movement, tapping or tactile pulsers you can replicate what REM sleep does to converting short term memories into long term memories. Some pretty interesting brain stuff happens when trauma recovery is involved (more science stuff). These trauma memories are stuck on the same “loop” while your body is remembering it as it was happening RIGHT NOW! That can be incredibly stressful and draining. We revisit the trauma memory loop hoping to find a way out without really any luck. However, with EMDR, when we (you and me) revisit the looped trauma memory AND check in with your body, magic happens! EMDR allows your brain to resume its natural healing process.
To set this up, we do a session or two creating mental safety and empowerment (building and reinforcing your strengths) to be able to tackle the trauma memory. Then comes the hooky part, while using this technique I set up the therapeutic mental space, I only watch for micromovements, or body language shifts while you sit in a meditative process state working through the “loop”. You “check in” with me verbally every so often so I can see where I can help “reprocess” that piece to hopefully create the “ah ha” light bulb moment, if necessary, but for the most part you are doing all of the work. EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. I LOVE working with EMDR because talking to a stranger about a traumatic memory can be the HARDEST thing to do, and I actually don’t need to know much of the memory to help you process it!
Together we will pursue a reduction in your symptoms by creating an EMDR therapy treatment plan based upon what is important to you. Some conditions for which EMDR may be effective include: Distressing memories, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Perfectionism, Vicarious trauma related to career experiences, Grief, Insomnia, Anxiety and Addiction issues.