So, lots of people ask me for some specifics on what EMDR Therapy actually is. Some know a little about it—maybe ‘just enough to be dangerous,’ as they say. And others have been misinformed about EMDR. Most don’t know anything about it. So, let me provide you with some basics which I hope will give you a better understanding of how EMDR might help you.
What EMDR IS
EMDR, which is the acronym for the term Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a highly effective form of psychotherapy that helps persons who are currently “stuck” on an issue or problem, to be able to finally and completely move-on. EMDR was first used in the field of trauma therapy, and proved to be effective in reducing or even eliminating some key symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. People who were treated with EMDR consistently reported that after their therapy, they no longer felt distressed when recalling prior traumatic experiences or when coming across things that were formerly very triggering (more on this word in future posts) for them. Because it was shown to be so remarkably effective with these clients, more and more research was done on EMDR, and now—some 25 years after its birth—we know that EMDR is effective in treating many different mental/emotional problems, symptoms, and disorders as well as some physical health issues such as chronic pain, phantom-limb pain, and fibromyalgia. There are now more than 100,000 EMDR-trained clinicians, worldwide, and over 2 million people have been helped and healed by this therapy. Finally, EMDR has repeatedly shown to be a faster way to achieve improved mood, functioning, self-esteem and quality of life as well as decreased symptoms compared to other forms of therapy. Clients frequently remark that they feel as if they do more healing in one or two sessions of EMDR than they did after months (and even years, in some cases) of talk therapy. Finally, in terms of trauma-based therapies, EMDR is gentler on the client than other popular therapies such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE), which have high drop-out rates due to the intense level of negative emotion experienced during those processes.
What EMDR IS NOT
EMDR is not “just using your eyes to follow a light, wand, or set of fingers that wag in your face.” To avoid giving you more detail than you want or need just now, suffice it to say that the light, wand, or fingers referred to here are a part of EMDR’s basics, but they are JUST a part. In reality, there is a whole lot of other things going on than “just following something that is moving.” Along these same lines, providing EMDR Therapy is not simple task. A great deal of clinical skill and experience is required to effectively provide this therapy, which also includes a LOT of training and supervision (both of which are often expensive to obtain). EMDR is not a skill that your therapist learned during his or her graduate program; he or she had to pursue this extra training and just to be able to do it, he or she had at least 40 hours of training and 10 hours of supervision. I myself, had have hundreds of hours of training on EMDR.
Furthermore, EMDR is NOT magic, hocus-pocus, a “fad therapy,” OR hypnosis. There is 30 years of solid research backing up EMDR’s efficacy and it is now recognized by several major health organizations (i.e., World Health Organization, Veterans Affairs Administration, etc.) as an effective therapy for trauma (and more). EMDR differs from hypnosis in several basic and important ways, including that hypnosis requires a person to enter an altered state of consciousness. With EMDR, the client always maintains his or her connection to the present moment, or the here-and-now.
Finally, just because it is often faster than many other therapies, that does not mean that EMDR is always easy. Experiencing emotional pain or discomfort is often a part of psychotherapy, regardless of what orientation your therapist practices, and EMDR is no different. It can be difficult to work through issues that have had such a negative impact on you, and pain is generally something most of us are motivated to avoid. However, if you are reading my blog and checking out my site, then you are savvy enough to know that you are already experiencing some level of pain or impaired functioning. So why not just come in, do the work, and then be done with it? Because that IS what will happen. EMDR therapy is the only form of therapy I’ve ever seen that doesn’t “just help you cope” with the problem. It HEALS you from the problem. I know this not just from my clients; I’ve been through EMDR myself.
So I hope this helps you understand a bit more about what I do, and how EMDR might help you. If you are ready to get started, click the “Schedule Now” link below. If you want more information on EMDR first, feel free to continue researching on your own from reputable sites on EMDR. The International Association for EMDR is a great starting point. Either way, please comment below with your thoughts, opinions, and questions!
Until next time…