EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a treatment option for people whose experiences of trauma have chronically impacted their daily lives. Within the right context, EMDR can be a wonderful tool that can help alleviate chronic triggers, nightmares, negative beliefs about yourself, and can be effective for helping you shift out of protective (yet distressing) interpersonal patterns that may have resulted from a traumatic experience. If you have experienced a trauma like sexual assault, a physical accident, been a witness to a crime, or survived experiences that made you feel unsafe in the world, EMDR might be an effective part of your healing.
You may have heard of EMDR as a cure for PTSD symptoms; however, a lot goes into helping you find out if EMDR is the right tool for you. Like any form of therapy, EMDR won’t fix or erase your trauma, and it’s not always an effective treatment option for every person or even every trauma. EMDR affects a singular trauma much differently than complex trauma and can be much more noticeable and effective when working with a singular traumatic event. EMDR is not right for someone actively struggling with substance use, multiple personality disorder, seizures, or someone in a highly dissociative state. Because every person and experience is so different, it's helpful to try EMDR with curiosity and an open mind; it might be an option for you, though it isn’t the only treatment that can help you heal.
Working Together: What To Expect
Rather than using EMDR as a standalone treatment, I find that EMDR is most effective as a supportive tool in an ongoing talk therapy relationship. Because EMDR asks you to vividly recall and describe specific memories, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings that were present during one of the most painful experiences of your life, it is very important for you to feel safe and for us to establish a relationship of trust. To help ensure your safety, it’s also necessary for me to be familiar with your coping style and for us to have agreed upon strategies for calming and grounding if a memory becomes too overwhelming.
As with any therapeutic tool, EMDR requires a commitment from both of us to ensure that we are working in the direction of healing and change that is right for you. It takes around 8 weeks of weekly therapy visits to prepare for the trauma processing part of EMDR therapy. After 2-3 sessions of EMDR therapy, we should be able to assess whether it is working the way it's meant to and if it’s a good therapy option for your particular situation. I am committed to your healing and safety in any work we do together, and the use of EMDR therapy in our work is up to my discretion and my judgment on appropriateness of fit. While meeting for 8 sessions doesn’t guarantee that we will use EMDR as a tool for you, the care we take in identifying your coping skills and safety needs around your experiences of trauma will help us find the right approach to your long-term healing.
Let’s talk through any questions or concerns you have about EMDR therapy. Please set up an initial session to discuss EMDR therapy options as it may require a more in-depth conversation than the free, 15-minute meet and greet allows.
Please note that EMDR is an in-person therapy option only. This option is not available via teletherapy; however, we can start talk therapy via virtual sessions in preparation for in-person EMDR sessions.