EMDR is a scientifically proven effective therapeutic approach that requires specialized training. It was developed for treating emotional difficulities & disorders that are caused by traumatic events such as:
Crime & Violence
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, or their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time", and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells and feeling haven't changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. May types of therapy have similar goals. However EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be through of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
HOW WAS EMDR DEVELOPED?
In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the worlds. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches.
WHAT IS AN EMDR SESSION ACTUALLY LIKE?
During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc, and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention stimulation of the brain, while the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content. Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experience and values. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one's self; for example, "I did the best I could." During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.
LIVE EMDR VERSES VIRTUAL EMDR?
Live EMDR is the original and best EMDR approach. We recommend live whenever possible as it has the best outcomes. However, there are times when a person is not able to be present live in our office. The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a prime example of the need for virtual options.
Virtual EMDR requires a desktop computer with a large screen for the full extension of eye movements. If you do not use eye movements and prefer or can adjust to the audio blips, a laptop can be used. Earphones are essential as is having an updated Safari or Chrome operating system. Virtual EMDR will not work with ipads, tablets or phones. You may use your phone or ipad/tablet to connect using our telehealth link so we can see each other and communicated while you have the Virtual EMDR on your computer. Only Caroline McCloud is using virtual EMDR at this time.
HOW LONG DOES THE EMDR TREATMENT PROCESS TAKE?
One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The therapist will also discuss EMDR more fully and provide the opportunity to answer questions about the method. Once a therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.
Your therapist when then work to establish a foundation of resources and safety to begin the EMDR process. The typical EMDR session at our practice lasts from 50-55 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstance and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR may be used within standard "talking" therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
DOES EMDR REALLY WORK?
Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD).
EMDR was also found effective by the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health and many other international agencies. The national registry (NREPP) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA), an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), cites EMDR as evidenced based practice for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms. Research has also shown that EMDR can be an effecient and rapid treatment