EMDR is a new psychotherapy used to treat troubling symptoms, such as anxiety, guilt, anger, depression, panic, sleep disturbance, addiction, and flashbacks that are the result of traumatic experiences. Traditional therapies have met with limited success in treating victims of trauma. Not only has EMDR therapy been proven effective in reducing the chronic symptoms which follow trauma - the therapy benefits appear to be permanent.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a non-drug, non-hypnosis psychotherapy procedure. The therapist guides the client in concentrating on a troubling memory or emotion while moving the eyes rapidly back and forth (by following the therapist's fingers, a light bar, or by using TheraTappers). This rapid eye movement, which occurs naturally during dreaming, seems to
speed the client's movement through the healing process. EMDRIA, the governing international association of EMDR lists several national, and international organization that recognize EMDR as an effective treatment. These include:
The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization among many others. Adapted from emdria.org.
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help.
Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.”
EMDR is different for everyone, because the healing process is guided from within. Sometimes past issues or memories come up, which are related to the current concern. Sometimes a painful memory brings up unpleasant emotions or body sensations. This is normal and generally passes within a few minutes, as long as the EMDR is not stopped. The upsetting emotion or memory often seems to fade into the past and lose its power.
During each EMDR therapy session—depending on what phase of the treatment you are in—your therapist will guide you through a series of questions or ask you to focus on a memory or emotional sensation while bilateral stimulation occurs via TheraTapper, lightbar, or hand movements. As the movement simulates the Rapid Eye Movement we experience during sleep, painful memories are triggered, processed, and eventually reprogrammed without the painful, negative sensations blocking the mind’s ability to self-heal the emotional turmoil. Although these sensations can be powerful and intense, they are not uncomfortable and require only minimal verbal communication between counselor and client.
It is important to note that you are the one in control in an EMDR session as it is your own brain that will be doing the processing. During EMDR treatment, you will remain in control, fully alert and wideawake. This is not a form of hypnosis and you can stop the process at any time. Throughout the session, the therapist will support and facilitate your own self-healing and intervene as little as possible. Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, and new connections and insights are felt to arise quite naturally from within. As a result, most people experience EMDR as being a natural and very empowering therapy
You may continue to process the material for days or even weeks after the session, perhaps having new insights, vivid dreams, strong feelings, or memory recall. This may feel confusing, but it is just a continuation of the healing process, and should simply be reported to the therapist at the next session. As the distressing symptoms fade, you
can work with the therapist on developing new skills and ways of coping.
EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. There are now nineteen controlled studies into EMDR making it the most thoroughly researched method used in the treatment of trauma, (Details on www.emdrcanada.org and www.emdria.org) and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD. Adapted from www.thetraumacentre.com.
No. EMDR therapy is a mental health intervention. As such, it should only be offered by properly trained and licensed mental health clinicians. Our therapists have completed EMDRIA's approved, intensive training program and have sought rigorous clinical consultation post-training.
Your clinical team at Terradyne will review your individual needs prior to, and upon arrival to assess whether or not you could benefit from EMDR as a primary source of your treatment here at Terradyne. If you are interested in specifically seeking EMDR treatment while in our care at our facility, please indicate this during your intake. We are happy to accommodate anyone specifically seeking this form of therapy from our therapists.
Learn about how EMDR therapy works, what it is like, and how widely it is recognized.
A powerful short documentary on client experiences with EMDR therapy