EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement  Desensitization and Reprocessing.  EMDR Therapy is a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma and other distressing life experiences.  During EMDR Therapy you are asked to focus on a traumatic or disturbing memory while the Therapist facilitates sets of side to side eye movements, sounds, or taps (which is referred to as bilateral stimulation sets).  EMDR helps the brain to process traumatic memories and to no longer be stuck in a fight, flight, or freeze response.  EMDR Therapy consists of 8 phases which include monitoring anxiety and instilling healing thoughts.  The efficacy of EMDR Therapy to provide relief and healing is widely researched.  EMDR Therapy is a first line treatment that is used effectively to treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) all over the world.  EMDR Therapy is also used to treat a wide range of challenges (see a list in Services section of website).  EMDR Therapy  typically takes fewer sessions to complete than other psychotherapies.  Distressing symptoms usually decrease dramatically after EMDR sessions and people report things such as:  feeling much better, no longer feeling preoccupied by traumatic or disturbing memories, feeling in control, peaceful sleep, no longer feeling triggered,  feeling as if they can breathe again, and no longer feeling on guard or in a constant state of anxiety.  

What Happens at the First Sessions of EMDR Therapy?

The first sessions of EMDR Therapy will involve history taking, preparation, and assessment.  The EMDR trained Therapist will take a history and have you identify dysfunctional symptoms, beliefs, and behaviors that you want to address.  The Therapist will work with you to establish target images, emotions, body sensations, and beliefs associated with memories that you want to desensitize.    Anxiety levels as well as negative thoughts associated with the traumatic material will be explored.   Positive beliefs that would indicate that the issue was resolved will be identified for utilization in upcoming sessions.  Mindfulness techniques will be taught to assist you in reducing anxiety and coping with stress.

What Happens at Subsequent Sessions of EMDR Therapy?

Once adequate history, assessment, and preparation has occurred the desensitization phase of EMDR will begin.  During this phase sets of bilateral stimulation will be completed utilizing the target images, emotions, body sensations, and negative thoughts associated with the traumatic or distressing memories that are being worked on.  This is the stage of therapy where the traumatic memory is processed by the brain allowing normal healing to resume.  The fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event resolves.  After the desensitization phase time will be spent on strengthening positive beliefs, addressing any residual body tension, closure, and monitoring symptoms and triggers between sessions.  Past disturbing events, present disturbing triggers to the events, and future scenarios where similar stress may occur will be addressed.  

How Many Sessions Does EMDR Therapy Take?

EMDR Therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other therapy approaches and often significant relief can be felt after just a few sessions. I believe that people can heal and should not have to be in therapy for extended periods of time.    Each individual's needs are different.  If we are working on a single traumatic incident and there are no other memories related to it the therapy may take as few as  5 sessions to complete.  I usually work with clients for 12 to 15 sessions; however, your situation could take much shorter or longer.  I will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that fits your needs in order to achieve maximum healing and relief.

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Office location in Visalia, CA