Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy extensively researched and found effective in the treatment of trauma and many other mental health issues. EMDR is based on a model known as Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) which explains presenting symptoms as the result of maladaptive encoding and/or the incomplete processing of traumatic or adverse life experiences. EMDR works to identify these processing blocks and complete the information coding and processing. The result is often relief of presenting symptoms, reduced distress from a memory or event, an improved view of self, and felt improvement of physiological responses.
When we experience situations that overwhelm our systems (e.g., trauma), or if certain developmental needs were not met growing up, our brains may struggle to process some information in a healthy way. This can lead us to relive parts of the experience and/or cause us to develop maladaptive thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and situations resulting in a variety of symptoms.
We may have automatic physiological responses that are out of our control (e.g., anxiety) and it can be difficult to integrate the helpful beliefs we do hold. EMDR works with the nervous system to identify "blocks" in our processing system, desensitizes and re-processes this information, and integrates the experiences with the rest of our memories and experiences in an adaptive way.
It is different than talk therapy in that it works with the nervous system and body to identify root issues. Once identified, bilateral stimulation such as eye movements are used to “unblock” the processing system and integrate material in an adaptive way. Many find it less invasive and more efficient as it does not require us to open every file and "talk" about it.
Contact Katherine to learn more about EMDR and book a free consultation.