EMDR: training the mind with positive therapy

When words aren’t enough, EMDR therapy

Have you been through years of therapy but still feel as though you are suffering?  Do you have a lot of insight into your issues but feel that talking about it isn’t helping?  If so, EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) might be the right approach for you. EMDR is a mind-body system therapy. Traditional talk therapy can be helpful for many issues but talking alone doesn’t access all of the elements of what is disturbing you or keeping you unhappy.   Consider that our brain has two hemispheres; the left is more logical and the right, more emotional. EMDR connects what we logically already know with what we feel, both emotionally and physically through body sensations.

EMDR combines elements of several different therapies with alternate right and left (bilateral) eye movements, tones, or tactile stimuli. In essence, the bilateral stimulation encourages the left and right sides of the brain to communicate effectively. The brain releases the fight or flight response. As a result, clients find that they feel more in the present and less controlled by what lies underneath.  EMDR helps to identify, process, integrate and release negative emotions and memories, and it is used worldwide to help victims of trauma to heal and move on with their lives. EMDR is used to address everything from resolving the effects of life trauma to enhancing personal performance, rebuilding the Self and healing anxiety and depression.  For more information about the process of EMDR and what happens in the session visit the following web site:  http://www.emdria.org/

In New Orleans, contact our Metairie therapy office here.

In Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington & Hammond, La, contact our Mandeville counseling office here.

Dana Duet-Champagne, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

What is (EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment that can resolve long-standing and recent trauma.

During EMDR, the client is asked to hold in mind an image of the trauma, a negative self-cognition, negative emotions, and related physical sensations about the trauma. While doing so, the client is instructed to move his or her eyes quickly and laterally back and forth, following the therapists’ fingers or scanner, which desensitizes the troubling material and allows positive cognitions to replace the negative cognitions. Theoretically, EMDR evokes a mind-brain state that enables traumatic memories to be effectively processed and become integrated with more adaptive information. While there is no well-supported account of how eye-movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation alter clients’ experience of traumatic memories, this bilateral stimulation can reduce the vividness, emotionality, and completeness of unpleasant or traumatic memories, therefore driving improvements in how individuals experience these events. One theory is that this dual-task component of EMDR disrupts a memory image in the working memory, which then leads to the client feeling a greater distance from the associated traumatic experience. As traumatic memory is desensitized, the general functioning of the client is improved, resulting in less anxiety and depression, fewer somatic symptoms, and improved self-esteem.

While we do not yet understand in detail how any form of psychotherapy works, EMDR appears to be a viable treatment option for trauma and other disturbing events.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Practice Guidelines highly recommend EMDR for the treatment of trauma, and is also highly endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association as well as the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dr. Kristen UnKauf, LPC

In New Orleans, contact our Metairie therapy office here.

In Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington & Hammond, La, contact our Mandeville counseling office here.