Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
The Effects of Trauma
When you experience something disturbing and traumatic, part of your brain shuts down in order to protect you. The traumatic event includes particular thoughts, feelings, and body sensations – think five senses. The experience becomes unprocessed material that lives in your body and essentially “locked” in the nervous system. This unprocessed material is what activates some of the uncomfortable emotions you feel, such as fear, anxiety, anger, and sadness. You may also have other symptoms associated to the trauma, such as flashbacks, nightmares, racing heart, or difficulty breathing.
Let's take a car accident, for example. About one decade ago, I was in a car accident which resulted in a broken bone. I can clearly visualize the street I was on and hear the honking of the car horn before the collision. To this day, I still feel a "twinge" in my body each time I cross that intersection where the accident occurred. Though it was many years ago and my mind tells me I am safe now, it is as though my body remembers the trauma.
There are also different forms of trauma, some of which a person may not even identify as traumatic. Additionally, what one person experiences as trauma may be different than the next person.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a type of therapy that helps people heal from traumatic and distressing life experiences, and it is has been one of the most effective forms of treatments for trauma. It is recognized by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR replicates what your body already does naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep while focusing on a specific event. This particular form of processing an event appears to “unlock” the nervous system and allows your brain to process the traumatic experience.
Is EMDR the same as hypnosis?
Good question. No, EMDR is not hypnosis. With hypnosis, you are typically guided into a relaxed, trance-like state. With EMDR, you are not asleep or in a trance. Rather, you are awake and alert. Your brain will be doing the healing. You are in charge and in control of the EMDR process.
How many EMDR sessions will I need?
It can be difficult to predict exactly how many EMDR sessions you will need, as it depends on the specific traumatic event(s) and how the EMDR processing goes for you. For new clients, I conduct an intake session and EMDR prep session which typically takes 1-2 50-minute sessions, or one 100-minute session. The following session(s), we will begin processing the disturbing and traumatic memories using EMDR. For existing clients, EMDR sessions can be incorporated into our work together. Similar as new clients, I would conduct an EMDR prep session followed by EMDR therapy.
How much do you charge for EMDR therapy?
My rate is $175 per 50-minute EMDR therapy session. When longer sessions are needed, my rate is prorated.
Considering what research has found regarding the effectiveness of EMDR therapy, it is recommended worldwide. In providing EMDR therapy and receiving it as a client myself, I have witnessed and experienced the amazing power of this effective form of therapy.
If you are interested in learning more, please feel welcome to contact me.
Resources: EMDR Institute