... Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, flashbacks, trauma (symptoms of P.T.S.D), phobias, and problems with peak performance can all benefit from EMDR ...


What is E.M.D.R?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories (Shapiro, 1989a, 1989b). Shapiro’s (2001) Adaptive Information Processing model posits that EMDR facilitates the accessing and processing of traumatic memories to bring these to an adaptive resolution. After successful treatment with EMDR, affective distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, and physiological arousal is reduced. During EMDR the client attends to emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus. Therapist directed lateral eye movements are the most commonly used external stimulus but a variety of other stimuli including hand-tapping and audio stimulation are often used (Shapiro, 1991). Shapiro (1995) hypothesizes that EMDR facilitates the accessing of the traumatic memory network, so that information processing is enhanced, with new associations forged between the traumatic memory and more adaptive memories or information. These new associations are thought to result in complete information processing, new learning, elimination of emotional distress, and development of cognitive insights. EMDR uses a three pronged protocol: (1) the past events that have laid the groundwork for dysfunction are processed, forging new associative links with adaptive information; (2) the current circumstances that elicit distress are targeted, and internal and external triggers are desensitized; (3) imaginal templates of future events are incorporated, to assist the client in acquiring the skills needed for adaptive functioning.

Who would benefit from E.M.D.R.?

EMDR is effective for a variety of issues.  Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, flashbacks, trauma (symptoms of P.T.S.D), phobias, and problems with peak performance can all benefit from EMDR.  

How does E.M.D.R. work?

E.M.D.R. works by stimulating both parts of the brain, so that information can be processed (or reprocessed).  This is done with hand movements, taps, etc. The belief is that when we experience a trauma, our mind does not adequately process the events so it essentially gets “stuck” in its raw, unprocessed form.   

What is a typical session like?

A typical session begins like most therapy sessions do.  A history is taken for the client.  This typically takes one 50-minute session, but can take two sessions (depending upon the person’s history).  After the history is taken, therapist begins by gently guiding the client to pinpoint a problem emotion or event that will be the target of the treatment.  As the thoughts and feelings come to the surface, the therapist and client work together to re-direct the eye movements that accompany the briefly recalled experience. As the eye movements are re-directed, the negative emotions are released.

The patterns of eye movements continue until the unwanted emotions are neutralized and the troubling event is re-associated with positive thoughts and feelings about oneself, such as "I realize now that it wasn't my fault."

How long can I expect to be in treatment?

E.M.D.R. is not a one-session cure, and the number of sessions depends upon the client’s problem and their personal history.  “However, studies have shown that a single trauma can be processed within 3 sessions in 80-90% of the participants. While every disturbing event need not be processed, the amount of therapy will depend upon the complexity of the history. In a controlled study, 80% of multiple civilian trauma victims no longer had PTSD after approximately 6 hours of treatment. A study of combat veterans reported that after 12 sessions 77% no longer had post traumatic stress disorder” (EMDR Institute website).



E.M.D.R. Institute Website:  http://www.emdr.com/

E.M.D.R International Association http://www.emdrnetwork.org/