What Is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a protocol-based therapy based on the Adaptive Information Processing model (“AIP”). The AIP model proposes that improperly stored memories cause mental health disorders. Using EMDR, these memories can be reprocessed into adaptive areas of the brain, desensitizing the original memory and reducing its associated symptoms. In addition to trauma, anxiety, and depression, EMDR counseling can provide relief from chronic pain, addiction, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other distressing life experiences.
In 1989, Francine Shapiro began developing EMDR after she experienced relief from troubling memories by moving her eyes while walking in a park. Since then, eye movement therapy has been perfected and its protocols and standards are governed by the EMDR International Association, EMDRIA, an independent organization. 
What EMDR Therapy Sessions Look Like
Throughout our everyday lives, our brains store memories normally as events unfold. However, during stressful or traumatic events, the brain may go “offline,” causing these memories to get stuck in parts of the brain where they don’t belong. EMDR therapy helps the brain process these improperly stored memories into an adaptive part of the brain.
In sessions, you will be asked to briefly focus on a target memory while at the same time engaging in bilateral stimulation—a physical movement that stimulates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, such as tapping or eye movements. The use of bilateral stimulation while focusing on the memory diminishes the vividness and highly charged emotion associated with the experience.
Throughout EMDR treatment, you will be asked questions to help with reprocessing as well as track progress. EMDR therapy allows the memories to become “unstuck” from the non-adaptive part of the brain where they trigger unwanted symptoms. Once these memories are moved, it’s as if a brain “reboot” has taken place that eases the mind.
Other Things To Know About EMDR Counseling
You may be screened for dissociation and, if appropriate, taught ways to remain present throughout the EMDR process to achieve maximum benefit. Through psychoeducation, we might talk about the parts of self so you can recognize and prepare for which part may come forward during EMDR therapy.
Our brains are sensitive to traumatic pain, just like our body is sensitive to physical pain. Trauma can occur when events are remembered or memories are suppressed. Our earliest trauma memories can impact future traumatic experiences, reinforcing and amplifying their negative outcome. EMDR can reprocess these experiences and promote relief from the symptoms being experienced.
Who Can Benefit From EMDR Therapy?
I utilize EMDR therapy to treat anyone who has experienced trauma, from children through adults. That may be “Big T” trauma— like a car accident, childhood abuse, or active military combat—or subtler “little t” trauma that causes underlying anxiety. As a neuro-counselor, I usually incorporate IASIS Microcurrent Neurofeedback with EMDR treatment to provide a holistic approach that fully optimizes brain function. And because the body also holds trauma, introducing mindfulness into sessions helps integrate both body and mind to maximize healing.
EMDR can be used to treat veterans, first responders, and survivors of childhood abuse, as well as those who suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In addition to PTSD, research has been conducted with EMDR to treat bipolar disorder. What’s more, EMDR therapy can benefit elite athletes who may encounter roadblocks to peak performance. Addressing underlying trauma can help remove those roadblocks and improve performance.
EMDR is extensively researched and widely recognized as effective trauma therapy. It is evidenced-based and promoted as part of the trauma and/or PTSD guidelines for the World Health Organization (WHO) and other national and international organizations.  In recent decades, EMDR therapy has gained worldwide popularity. In fact, since 2016, more than 7 million people have been treated successfully with EMDR by 110,000 therapists in 130 countries.  I offer EMDR therapy via telehealth online and in person—the research supports the effectiveness of both. 
Why I Incorporate EMDR Therapy Into Neurocounseling
I have been treating individuals since 2018 as a certified EMDR therapist. In addition to the extensive advanced training required, a certified EMDR therapist must engage in additional continuing education to maintain their certification, ensuring they keep up to date on ongoing EMDR research and protocols.
In my experience as a therapist, I have observed that clients can achieve relief with EMDR approximately four times faster than with traditional talk therapy. However, because everyone is different, results may vary. Some clients feel relief within one or two sessions, while others may need more time before experiencing relief. Generally speaking, EMDR compresses the time commitment of traditional therapy.
EMDR therapy engages the brain, allowing it to heal itself. By focusing on the memory itself—not just the symptoms that result from the memory—EMDR addresses the root of the problem. What’s more, EMDR treatment was developed to engage both the body and brain through bilateral stimulation, resulting in faster and more effective relief from trauma than traditional talk therapy. Many clients state that EMDR is a more gentle, gradual approach to processing trauma.
The modalities offered at Authentic Brain Solutions are modern, evidenced-based, and thorough. My practical, clinical experience provides a gentler and more efficient way to process troubling experiences and find the relief you are looking for.
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