EMDR Therapy

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy and it is a research-based, trauma-informed method for treating trauma and other mental health concerns.

EMDR is one of the treatment methods I use, but it is not what most people have in mind when they reach out for therapy. For this reason, I will share some information below.

EMDR is a gentle, effective, and efficient trauma treatment

EMDR differs from traditional talk therapy as we spend more time feeling through the experience (in a safe and grounded way) rather than talking through the experience. This shift activates a different part of the brain than talk therapy, one that activates deeper and longer-lasting healing.

I use EMDR when working with clients on trauma or for any clients who need or want deeper healing beyond what is possible with talk therapy. This includes PTSD, trauma, eating disorders, body image, self-esteem, anxiety, grief, and depression.

What does EMDR Therapy involve?

We spend some time preparing for reprocessing.

We don't jump into deep healing on session 1. We take some time to gather your story and experience, your treatment goals. understanding the trauma experience and response, addressing any concerns, and developing coping tools and resources to support your healing work.

When you are ready, we will begin the reprocessing.

Eye Movements and other Bilateral Stimulation (EMDR)

Bilateral Stimulation is a rhythmic sensation presented to both sides of the body in a left-to-right pattern, activating both hemispheres of the brain. EMDR started by using eye movements as bilateral stimulation (hence the name Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) but has expanded to using auditory and tactile bilateral stimulation as well.

Desensitizing distressing memories, thoughts, and experiences (EMDR)

Desensitizing (the D in EMDR)  involves removing the intensity associated with traumatic memories. A trauma response often includes a reliving experience, where all the emotions come back with the memory; your body believes the traumatic event is happening all over again. Desensitization means we remove the reliving experience and emotional punch associated with distressing memories, thoughts, and experiences.

Reprocessing how you view yourself and the experience (EMDR)

Reprocessing (the R in EMDR) refers to changing the meaning associated with an event or distressing memory, thought, or experience. Oftentimes, trauma will have a negative impact on how we view ourselves or how we view the world. In processing, we work to replace the negative belief about yourself with a more compassionate, gentle, or positive belief about yourself.

EMDR involves Dual Processing

Dual processing in EMDR therapy means we have one foot in the present and one foot in the past/challenging memory/thought/feeling. This means we can go into the distressing memory with reduced intensity in the past while noticing the safety of the present moment. This allows your brain to process through the memory without becoming overflooded with emotion.

Work on the Past, Present, and Future

EMDR involves a three-pronged approach to healing where we address the past events, the present issues, and the future-oriented worries and concerns.

Heal from the convenience, comfort, and safety of your own home

EMDR is just as effective when done virtually compared to in-person therapy. Many clients prefer to do this work virtually due to the convenience, comfort, and safety of home.

Home needs to hold safety and privacy to do virtual EMDR, therefore, it is not suitable for everyone. If we determine that virtual EMDR is not right for you, I can make referrals for in-person EMDR therapists in your area.

EMDR Works!

As weird as this approach might sound at first, it works! We have a lot of research that supports EMDR as an effective therapy.

Learn more about me and my approach to therapy

EMDR is not the only modality I use in my therapy practice. Learn about other approaches and how I work here

Want to learn more about EMDR Therapy

I know EMDR is not what most people have in mind when they reach out for therapy. If you want to learn more and explore if EMDR is right for you, here are two brief videos to watch made by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA)

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EMDR is a quantum leap in the human ability to heal trauma and maladaptive beliefs

-Laurel Parnell

Is EMDR right for you?

Schedule a free phone consultation or first appointment today!