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EMDR Therapy

Clearing the roots of anxiety


What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a powerful, cutting-edge therapy that is believed to rewire the brain. Rather than just try to manage symptoms, the goal of EMDR is to go after the cause so that stress and anxiety are no longer triggered in the same way. This way we can work toward lasting peace of mind. Research has shown EMDR to be highly effective in alleviating anxiety associated with PTSD or difficult events. EMDR can also help you reduce negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, or guilt caused by current stressors and help you increase your self-esteem, feelings of self-worth, and help you feel safe, calm, and empowered. EMDR is recognized as an effective therapy by the World Health OrganizationAmerican Psychiatric Association, and the Department of Defense for treatment of traumatic or upsetting events. 

How can EMDR help me toward peace of mind?

If we decide EMDR therapy may be helpful for you, we will identify current or past events that may be contributing to what is bothering you now. We will use EMDR to "reprocess" those events or stressors with the goal that they will no longer trigger anxiety or negative feelings for you. "Reprocessing" in this case does not mean talking about it. Instead, it means allowing your brain to make new connections to a memory or situation. The goal is for the memory or "trigger" to become integrated into both the cognitive and emotional parts of the brain. People will often say to me something like, “Intellectually, I know I’m not really in danger, but I still feel anxious,” or “I know it wasn’t my fault, but I still feel guilty,” or “I know I’m a worthwhile person, but I still have this nagging feeling that I’m not good enough.” EMDR helps bridge that gap so that you can actually feel deeply what you already intellectually know to be true. When you can really feel safe or really feel that you’re a good and worthwhile person, you can finally have peace of mind. In traditional talk therapy, the goal may be to close the door on things that used to bother you. In EMDR, the goal is to open the door and clean out everything behind it, so that there's a clear space that doesn't affect you anymore. Learn more about the path to peace of mind with mindfulness and EMDR.

How does EMDR work?

It is believed that EMDR uses your brain's memory processing system to rewire the brain's connections. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, your eyes move back and forth as you dream. Scientists believe this may be the time you process daily events from short-term memory into long-term memory. During EMDR therapy, these eye movements are recreated by simply watching the therapist's fingers move back and forth. During the session, we will start by focusing on a negative memory, event, or anxiety trigger and then do sets of eye movements for about a minute at a time. You'll be asked to report what thoughts, feelings, or connections you notice each time. It is thought that the eye movements may help access the brain's memory processing system. It is believed that upsetting memories are stored in the sensory part of the brain, which is why you can almost “relive” them. You can still “see” everything, “hear” everything. Memories that are "stuck" in the sensory part of you brain, even from many years ago, may contribute to current anxiety triggers, often outside our awareness. EMDR helps to integrate memories so they are stored and connected to other areas of the brain. They become “unstuck,” and part of a larger narrative. Current anxiety triggers are desensitized so that anxiety no longer arises in the same situations. The emotional part of your brain can finally agree with the cognitive part that knows you're not really in danger. You can finally really feel at peace or feel like a good person, and truly let go of the past. Read more about how EMDR works in the brain.

What kind of issues can EMDR help me with?

I use EMDR to help people alleviate anxiety and increase peace of mind with things like: 

What is your background in EMDR?

I have completed both the Level I and Level II training approved by EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) along with additional consultation hours with an EMDRIA-approved consultant. I have completed additional EMDRIA-approved advanced specialty trainings related to using EMDR with trauma, grief and loss, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the DeTUR model for compulsive behaviors, panic disorder and panic attacks, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety. I have conducted original EMDR research, designing the first study to systematically analyze the content of EMDR sessions with open coding to identify how EMDR works with grief. I have also personally benefited from being a client in both EMDR and IFS therapy. I truly understand the process from both sides of the therapy room, and have experienced deep peace, calm, and authenticity as a result.

Can EMDR be done online through telehealth?

Yes. We can modify the use of the eye-movements so they can be done from home during session. We can also use other forms of bilateral stimulation (BLS) or dual-attention stimulus (DAS), such as self-tapping or auditory tones. The eye-movements, tones or tapping are not hypnosis or magic. The purpose is to provide a grounding stimulus that continually reminds part of your brain you are safe, here in the present, regardless of what thoughts, images, or memories are going through your mind.

Where can I find more information?​

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