Eye Movement Desentiziation & Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from emotional distress and trauma wounding that stem from disturbing life experiences. EMDR is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing Model (Shapiro 2007).
EMDR is effective for any traumatic event where an individual was victimized, or felt victimized. Any situation in which someone felt helpless, trapped or powerless and any situation in which someone felt their life was threatened or in jeopardy.
EMDR is highly effective for most trauma. The event itself is secondary to the perception of the event. Everyone processes fear and trauma differently. What is important is how someone felt during the event, how they processed the event, and how the event affected their life negatively.
EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. and uses eye movements for bilateral processing stimulation (BLS). Tapping and music are effective as well, and are often used in conjunction with eye movements.
Other trauma-based modalities focus directly on altering one’s emotions, thoughts and responses as a result of traumatic experiences. EMDR therapy focuses directly on the actual memory, or core belief, to change the way they are processed and stored in the brain. In a sense EMDR rewires the brain by reducing adverse neural pathways and activating new neural pathways, thus reducing and or eliminating problematic memories.
When past traumatic memories, thoughts or events arise, they often feel just as bad as when they where originally experienced. The fear of being triggered in the future can become so debilitating and distressing that we alter our lifestyle to prevent being triggered.
Unresolved psychic wounds, memories or thoughts can disrupt all aspects of our life, including how we feel about our self, and how we view our self in relation to the world.
From a somatic perspective psyche and soul already know how holistically heal embodied trauma. However, a primary purpose of the conscious ‘ego’ is to protect us from harm by any means possible such as projection, denial, repression, suppression, and rationalization.
When we get stuck in past stories held in the conscious realm, we often disconnect from soma (the body) and thus get cut off from our intuition and instincts, which is our truth and psyches vehicle to guide us. We no longer have access to traumatic memory(s) or event(s) for processing and integration.
EMDR replicates this process in an awake state to transform negative belief patterns and painful memories. EMDR assists psyche in the process of rewiring the brain form a neurological perspective.
EMDR is a multi- stage, evidence-based treatment approach for healing psychic wounds and post-traumatic stress (PTS). Extensive research has found EMDR to be highly effective in re-framing a wide range of trauma experiences and is a front line treatment for civilian and combat-related stress, PTS, family of origin, childhood and sexual trauma as well as natural disaster crisis.
During each EMDR phase, bilateral stimulation (BLS) is used to reinforce positive elements and process negative ones. BLS refers to a stimulus that is sensed on one side of the body at a time. Bilateral stimulation can be facilitated through hand movements, a light-bar, hand-held tappers or headphones.
Music, played through headphones into one ear at a time, may be used in conjunction with the above. tappers. Tapping on alternating knees or shoulders is another approach often utilized.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed psychologist or medical doctor. My services do not replace the care of psychologists, doctors, or other licensed medical professionals. Somatic, depth psychological, shamanic healing practices and entheogen facilitation &integration services should not be construed as substitutes for psychological counseling, psychotherapy, mental health counseling, or any other type of psychotherapy or medical advice.
EMDR Consists of 3 Primary Phases:
Consists of history gathering, core belief assessment, treatment planning, target planning, and actual resourcing through creation of a safe space and a safe container.
Consists of the actuial EMDR process to discover and disempower traumatic memories and dysfunctional core belief patterns through desensitization and reprocessing so someone can remember the event(s) from an emotional and/or reactive perspective.
Consists of installation of these positive core belief patterns and memories, so they are embodied. This process allows for a rediscovery of one’s strengths and skills. Lastly, therapist inquiry and observational scan of the body to complete the closure process.
- Dissociative disorders
- Emotional Abuse
- Panic Attacks
- Peak performance issues
- Performance Anxiety
- Phantom limb pain
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual abuse
How Does EDMR Work?
We experience traumatic events cognitively, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Traumatic experiences and events often are what make us feel stuck.
The severity of trauma wounding can prevent us from feeling safe in our body again. Trauma can get stuck in the unconscious body and central nervous system if the experience or event was too overwhelming to be processed at that time.
Traditional cognitive-based behavioral talk therapies often do not penetrate deep enough to dislodge embodied trauma held deep within the unconscious realm.
Unconscious trauma wounding cannot be healed through the conscious realm. Bilateral stimulation bypasses the conscious realm and allows access to traumatic experiences held deep within the unconscious psyche so they can be processed, integrated and dissipated.
For example, in combat-related post traumatic stress events experienced in the theater of war are not necessarily the primary issue.
Often it is the unresolved trauma wounding experienced in early childhood and youth that is the instigator. It is the unresolved trauma from childhood brought into the theater of war that exasperates trauma, and activates dormant unresolved trauma, which then manifests into post-traumatic stress symptomatology.
EMDR assists us in moving through and past repressed or denied wounding so it can be processed, integrated and dissipated. Bilateral processing mimics the way the brain processes issues during REM sleep, which is why it is considered a holistic somatic treatment approach.