EMDR Therapy

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a specialized psychotherapy approach used to treat trauma and its associated symptoms. Developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR has gained widespread recognition as an effective treatment for individuals who have experienced various forms of trauma.

EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model. Traumatic experiences and distressing memories can become “stuck” in the brain’s memory networks. This unprocessed information can lead to emotional dysregulation and distressing symptoms associated with trauma. The goal of EMDR is to help the individual reprocess these memories so they are integrated into healthier, adaptive memory networks.

Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) involves the controlled activation of both sides of the brain through back-and-forth movement or sensory input. Originally eye movements were the most common form of BLS, but more often now, specialized tappers that vibrate in the client’s hands are preferred. The form of BLS used is based on client preference and comfort. EMDR mimics the brain’s natural processing that occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, facilitating the reorganization and integration of traumatic memories into more adaptive and resolved states. In EMDR however, the client is fully awake, aware, and in control at all times. The individual is able to gain new insights, develop coping skills, and move towards adaptive resolution, reducing the intensity of trauma-related symptoms.

Throughout the EMDR therapy process, the therapist periodically reassesses the individual's progress and adjusts the treatment plan as needed.

EMDR should only be administered by an EMDRIA trained and licensed mental health professional. EMDR can be emotionally intense, but offers significant relief from the distress caused by trauma and leads to improved overall psychological well-being. The American Psychological Association (APA), World Health Organization (WHO), and Veterans Affairs/ Department of Defense (Va/DOD) recognize EMDR as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD and endorse it as one of the recommended therapies for individuals affected by trauma.

EMDR Early Intervention (EEI)

As a condensed protocol of traditional EMDR therapy, EMDR Early Intervention (EEI) focuses on early intervention to prevent the development of long-term trauma-related symptoms. The primary goal of EMDR Early Intervention is to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of traumatic experiences and promote psychological resilience.

EMDR Early Intervention is time-limited and typically conducted within a short period after the traumatic event, often within days or weeks. We utilize EEI with first responders after critical incidents, and when processing a specific call or situation.

EMDR Phases as provided by EMDRIA

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