Sometimes, you know exactly which past event is still haunting you today…
These memories can cause you to worry that things may never return to how they used to be. But frequently, our memories aren’t so clear. Even if you can’t recall the memory that upset you initially, you notice yourself falling into the same negative patterns in your relationships. You might also struggle with intense feelings like anxiety, panic, anger, or sadness that that doesn’t always make sense in the present moment. At times, you might start believing things about yourself that aren’t true—thinking you’re at fault, not good enough, powerless, or unsafe.
Most of the time, your mind and body naturally handle new information and experiences, often without you even realizing it. However, if you face an overwhelming event (like a serious accident, an assault, the loss of a loved one, or a natural disaster,) or have dealt with ongoing distress (such as bullying, family conflicts, childhood trauma, financial worries, or emotional abuse), your body’s natural ways of coping can become overwhelmed. This overwhelming experience can prevent proper processing of these events, leaving the memories in a raw state, instead of processing them through thoughts and language. These unprocessed traumatic experiences can deeply affect how you feel, think, perceive yourself, and interact with others in the present.
What Does EMDR Do?
EMDR therapy uses your body’s natural healing power. During EMDR, you focus on a memory that’s bothering you. At the same time, you experience bilateral movement. This movement can be following a dot on a screen, tracking a light moving side to side, or tapping your hands on your legs.
This back-and-forth movement helps remove emotional barriers. It takes old unhelpful thoughts and feelings and blends them into better, healthier beliefs. This process helps you look at painful past memories in a new, less upsetting way. It also changes how you feel emotions and how you see yourself and the world around you right now.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed to help people heal from the symptoms and emotional distress caused by disturbing life experiences and trauma. EMDR Therapy is an effective evidence-based treatment developed to address various mental health and life challenges. EMDR treats concerns such as anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), poor job performance, sexual dysfunction, and low self-esteem.
Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980s, EMDR has been well-researched and is considered an effective treatment for PTSD. EMDR is endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
EMDR Therapy Is An Adaptable Therapeutic Tool, Addressing A Variety Of Conditions and Experiences
The way trauma imprints onto us can impact both body and mind. The effects of unresolved trauma can be long-lasting. Between the disturbing memories we can’t seem to shake and the unpleasant physical responses we may experience. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to address trauma on your own without seeking outside help.Schedule an appointment.
EMDR treatment can be beneficial for those who have experienced a traumatic event, such as an accident, catastrophe, physical violence, or sexual assault. Research has shown that EMDR therapy is effective for those who have lived through trauma or have PTSD.
EMDR helps treat other mental health issues such as phobias, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, performance anxiety, and complicated grief. Even painful emotions like guilt and shame that often linger can be targeted and neutralized with EMDR therapy.
Several scientific studies have demonstrated the efficacy of EMDR. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology published research by Wilson, Becker, and Tinker in December 1995. This study of 80 subjects with PTSD demonstrated that clients improved significantly with EMDR treatment. The findings from this and other studies indicate that EMDR is highly effective and that results are long-lasting.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
Before getting started, you and your therapist will identify a specific issue to be the focus of the EMDR treatment. Using alternate bilateral stimulation such as hand-tapping, EMDR therapy simulates the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.At the same time, your brain focuses on the disturbing thought or memory. You are instructed to notice whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control the direction or content.
EMDR treatment continues until the memory becomes less distressing and can be gradually associated with neutral thoughts and beliefs.
Preparation for EMDR
I will often incorporate mindfulness into sessions to help you remain grounded in the present moment and ensure a sense of emotional safety.
Although you may initially experience intense emotions while processing your trauma. When EMDR therapy is completed, you should be able to recall or discuss the traumatic event without experiencing a debilitating reaction. After EMDR therapy, most people report a significant reduction in their level of emotional disturbance with no relapses in symptoms months after treatment has ended. Further, results have demonstrated significant relief from PTSD symptoms after six 50-minute sessions.
EMDR helps relieve symptoms by helping you see things from a different perspective. Utilizing EMDR counseling, you can heal yourself by tapping into your emotional and intellectual processes without the therapist needing to interpret your trauma. The insight EMDR therapy offers allows you to transform painful emotions into self-empowerment.
Why I Utilize EMDR Therapy
EMDR is much more than trauma treatment. It helps reshape your inner thoughts to bring you from a place of reaction to one of awareness and understanding. Once you complete EMDR therapy, you will be able to let go of the pattern of intrusive thoughts and anxious worry that often accompany traumatic memories. EMDR helps you foster new internal belief systems that apply to a broad spectrum of experiences in life. Once the traumatic memory dislodges from your nervous system, it provides you space to foster a new way of thinking and feeling. Attaining these new belief systems can benefit all aspects of your life.
I have utilized EMDR therapy in my practice since 2014 after receiving training at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The reason I love utilizing EMDR therapy is that it offers my clients relief in fewer sessions. What might take years using a different type of therapy may only take a month with EMDR. And EMDR is unlike other therapies where you have to relive your trauma over and over. You will skim over your memory and not have to go in-depth reexperiencing it.
With EMDR, not only can you resolve your traumatic memories, but you can also shift the perspective you have about yourself. Letting go of negative beliefs and replacing them with more positive ones allows you to feel lighter and free to enjoy life more deeply.
EMDR Therapy is a Kinder, Gentler Way of Processing and Treating Trauma
EMDR is an effective treatment whether attended in-person or via telehealth. To find out more about how EMDR therapy can help you, please visit my contact page or call/ text (315) 291-0025 to schedule an appointment with me. I offer telehealth sessions in New York, NY (financial district) and FL, CT, VT, and NY.