Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

 What is Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing? (EMDR)

Have you tried other therapies without success? Jenna has specialized training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a simple way of processing and lessening the intensity of traumatic memories and experiences.  

Over the years I’ve learned that the mind and body have the natural ability to heal themselves. By developing a nurturing therapeutic relationship, my intention is to support that innate process by providing a safe space for people to explore and grow at their own pace. 

What happens when you are traumatized?

Most of the time your body routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. However, when something out of the ordinary occurs and you are traumatized by an overwhelming event (e.g. a car accident) or by being repeatedly subjected to distress (e.g. childhood neglect), your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded. 

This overloading can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain or being “unprocessed”.These unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the limbic system of your brain in a “raw” and emotional form, rather than in a verbal “story” mode. 

This limbic system maintains traumatic memories in an isolated memory network that is associated with emotions and physical sensations, and which are disconnected from the brain’s cortex where we use language to store memories. The limbic system’s traumatic memories can be continually triggered when you experience events similar to the difficult experiences you have been through. Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually triggered in the present. 

Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can, therefore, become inhibited. EMDR helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way.

What is an EMDR session like?

After Jenna completes a thorough assessment with you, you will be asked specific questions about a disturbing memory. Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to hold a small device in each hand that makes a vibrating sensation. The eye movements will last for a short while and then stop. You will then be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during each of these sets of eye movements. Experiences during a session may include changes in thoughts, images and feelings.

With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life

What can EMDR be used for?

In addition to its use for the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, EMDR has been successfully used to treat: 

• anxiety and panic attacks 
• depression 
• stress 
• phobias 
• sleep problems 
• complicated grief 
• addictions 
• pain relief, phantom limb pain 
• self-esteem and performance anxiety 

Can anyone benefit from EMDR?

EMDR can accelerate therapy by resolving the impact of your past traumas and allowing you to live more fully in the present. It is not, however, appropriate for everyone. The process is rapid, and any disturbing experiences, if they occur at all, last for a comparatively short period of time. You need to be aware and willing to experience, the strong feelings and disturbing thoughts, which sometimes occur during sessions.

How long does treatment take?

EMDR can be brief focused treatment or part of a longer psychotherapy program. EMDR sessions can be for 60 to 90 minutes.

What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?

EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. There are now nineteen controlled studies into EMDR making it the most thoroughly researched method used in the treatment of trauma, 

(Details on www.emdr-europe.org
and www.emdr.org) and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD.

Adapted from here


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