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I am passionate about using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) techniques when working with a wide range of traumatic experiences such as grief and loss, PTSD, anxiety, and
self-esteem issues. EMDR is a powerful method of psychotherapy that has helped an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.

What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

How does EMDR work? 

EMDR utilizes Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) in a gentle way through either touch, eye movements, or sounds to open traumatic memories, remove those blocks, and allow your brain to process as if for a “normal” memory. BLS is also used prior to beginning the reprocessing phase of treatment to enhance a physical calm state, reinforce confidence and a sense of mastery already existing within you, and prepare you for the reprocessing of traumatic memories. This is Phase One of the protocol and the length of time this preparation is variable depending on your needs as a client. Feeling emotionally stable is very important to this process. 
This unique therapeutic approach is useful for what we might call “big T” traumas (experiences most people would find traumatizing: abuse, experiences of war, natural disasters, etc.) and “little t” traumas (those unique to each individual). The common thread between Big T and Little T traumatic memories is the existence of a negative self-belief derived from the experience (I’m unsafe, I’m unworthy, I’m bad, I’m not good enough, I don’t matter, etc.) That negative self-belief is the block referenced above that prevents healing. Once removed your mind proceeds to healing. 
EMDR protocol follows a three-pronged approach targeting past and present experiences followed by targeting related future potential scenarios.

Is EMDR therapy an evidence-based treatment for PTSD?

EMDR therapy has been listed as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the World Health Organization, the Substance Abuse and  Mental Health Services, and numerous other international agencies.
More than a dozen studies support the use of EMDR therapy for trauma resulting from natural disasters and the treatment of war and terrorism-related trauma.
EMDR therapy has a positive impact on intrusive imagery (such as nightmares and flashbacks), numbing, and hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD, as well as on associated grief and depression.
In several direct comparisons with cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR offers equivalent effects more quickly (fewer sessions and/or no homework), and process analyses indicate less distress for individuals undergoing treatment.


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