EMDR Treatment

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What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR Therapy has been researched extensively and has proven highly effective for the treatment of those suffering from the effects of a prior trauma. Beyond that, it has been found to alleviate symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and grief. EMDR therapy can even be beneficial in managing performance anxiety. The American Psychological Association recommends EMDR therapy for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model. This model suggests that past negative events, especially traumas, continue to cause distress in the present if the memory was not completely processed. The incomplete processing of the event prevents connections to new learning and adaptive information which might help resolve the trauma. These memories contain emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and often physical sensations that occurred at the time of the event. When the memory is triggered, the elements associated with the memory are experienced and cause a disturbance.

The goal is to allow the experiences that are causing problems to be processed, or digested, and stored appropriately in the brain. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations are released as the unresolved experiences are processed. EMDR treatment has been shown to effectively reprocess these past unresolved negative experiences.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR therapy is a treatment protocol that addresses past, present, and future triggers.  In its most basic sense, EMDR therapy involves eye movement (side to side) and other forms of left-to-right stimulation such as tones, taps, or vibrations. This left-to-right activity is called bilateral stimulation. EMDR therapy facilitates natural processing of unresolved memories causing them to lose painful intensity.  This eight-phased and three-pronged approach targets past memories, present disturbance, and future actions.  Our goal in EMDR therapy is to completely process the negative experiences that are the root cause of the complaint. At the same time, we bring in new insights and perspectives that encourage a more nourishing, healthy response.

What Can I Expect?

We start by talking about your history and identifying the issues you want to address. You and your EMDR therapist discuss how the process works and agree on the treatment protocol best suited for you. The EMDR therapist will guide you through the processing phase which includes desensitization using bilateral stimulation such as eye movement. The EMDR therapy protocol is repeated and adjusted as needed until the memory or disturbance is no longer causing distress. Also, part of the process is replacing the old memory or disturbance with a more realistic and adaptive belief.

Experiences in life, especially traumatic ones, inform our reality and block the natural healing process. EMDR therapists recognize the connection between trauma, the negative and self-limiting beliefs resulting from the negative event, and the ongoing emotional and physiological suffering. By reprocessing these negative events, we can begin to break through self-limiting beliefs.

What Special Qualifications do you Have for EMDR?

Jody Morgan, LCSW, CCTP is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and a Certified Therapist in EMDR by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA). Not all therapists who integrate EMDR into their practice are certified. Certification is a rigorous process that requires additional supervision, a minimum number of EMDR sessions with clients, adherence to EMDRIA’s Professional Code of Conduct, as well as ongoing continuing education requirements approved by EMDRIA. Further, a certified clinician must have been licensed or certified in their profession for independent practice and must have a minimum of two years of experience in their field. Certification is only granted if a therapist is recommended by one or more EMDRIA Approved Consultants in EMDR and two letters of recommendation regarding use of EMDR, ethics in practice, and professional character. If you are seeking an EMDR therapist, consider working with a certified therapist.

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How Many EMDR Therapy Sessions are Required?

The number of EMDR therapy sessions varies depending on the person, and the nature of the underlying issues. We treat each client as unique. However, we often receive feedback that clients gain significant relief after just 3 to 5 sessions. However, the goal with EMDR therapy is that we complete the reprocessing to achieve lasting relief

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