EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desenzitation Reprocessing, and has
helped an estimated TWO MILLION people of all ages, including children,
relieve many types of psychological stress. EMDR is an intensive procedure
for working through upsetting material and is considered a major
advancement in the mental health field.
EMDR is a revolutionary method of psychotherapy extensively researched
and proven effective for the treatment of all levels of trauma, and helping
with a wide range of emotional and personal problems. Organizations
worldwide agree EMDR is effective in the treatment of traumatic events
and other disturbing memories. Here, you will find brief answers to the most
asked questions about EMDR, this breakthrough in mental health treatment.
On This Page . . .
EMDR is a powerful protocol which allows the frozen negative thoughts
and emotions related to a disturbing memory, which are stored in the brain
to be 'reactivated' and fully processed. This allows the memory to remain,
but without the negative emotional power. Your brain then stores the
emotions in a more effective way and is able to guide you to more healthy
and positive choices for your life.
EMDR is unique because it helps a person process the negative emotions
and information that has become 'stuck' in the central nervous system.
Brain scans have actually captured information transferring from one side
of a brain to another as a person goes through an EMDR session.
No. During the EMDR session, the client is awake and alert and in control
at all times. The healing that takes place with EMDR is much faster than
with hypnotherapy. EMDR seems to work with the unconscious mind,
bringing into consciousness the repressed thoughts and feelings that must be
experienced again in order to release their negative emotional hold on the
person. EMDR is an intensive procedure for working through upsetting
material and disturbing memories.
EMDR should only be provided by a mental health professional with formal,
supervised training in EMDR. It is safe, and does not involve hypnosis or
drugs. Research has shown that EMDR can help to make treatment both
fast and effective.
Let's first define trauma and briefly understand how trauma affects the
brain. Emotional trauma is defined as an extraordinary experience
accompanied with intense emotions such as danger, fear or terror.
With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the brain has failed to
successfully process the trauma and the intense emotions become
unprocessed ('stuck') in the central nervous system. The body fails to
recognize that the person is now safe. In PTSD, the brain reacts as though
danger is present and the experience is current. Environmental triggers or
cues can cause the reactivation of the traumatic memory and the intense
symptoms PTSD. Trauma can be physical, emotional, or verbal. A few
examples of trauma are:
- Auto accidents
- Family abuse
- Involved in a disaster
- Witnessing others (such as siblings) being abused
- Seeing your parents in abusive situations
The goal of EMDR therapy is to leave you with the emotions,
understanding, and new perspectives that will lead to healthy and more
When you go through a traumatic experience, your brain tells your body to
do one of two behaviors:
Let's say you grew up in an abusive home during your childhood. You most
likely were not able to 'fight' the situation. Children are usually powerless
to protect themselves either physically, verbally or emotionally. And you
probably were not able to 'flee' from your home. Where do children go?
Or perhaps as an adult, you were a victim of a crime, and you were unable
to flee from the scene or fight back. The traumatic event became stored in
your memory along with the intense emotions, often the emotion of terror.
After the traumatic event, what happens next determines down the line if
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may surface to disrupt your life.
After a traumatic experience, your brain gives instructions on what to do
with your emotions. It is not uncommon for an individual to 'shut down', turn
their emotions 'off', and not want to talk about what happened. But the
negative emotions don't go away. Kept 'frozen' in the brain, these
emotions can have powerful effects on your current emotions and behaviors.
Even though the traumatic event has ended for a child or a victim, the
fearful memory, anxiety, and intense emotions can still remain stored in the
brain. Left 'frozen', these emotions are often the basic foundation of
negative adult behaviors and thoughts. Instead of making important
decisions with confidence, security, and a healthy self esteem, one makes
decisions based on fear, anxiety and doubt.
Intense emotions remain in the brain until they are experienced or what
EMDR calls 'reprocessed.' No amount of rational thinking or
intellectualizing about the memory fully help, since the traumatic emotions
are not held in a part of the brain which deals with rational thought.
EMDR will help you reprocess the stored emotional content in the area of
your brain where emotions are held, so life is healthier and more positive.
Try This Simple Exercise
Here's a simple exercise you can do right now. Recall a past negative
experience and think of a distressful image of the memory. Close you eyes
and see the picture in your mind.
What feelings come up? Do you feel anxious, sad, fearful, upset? If so, you
may have not yet fully processed what happened. You may have 'frozen
emotions' related to the memory still stored in your brain. EMDR can help
you resolve and integrate these fragments which may be causing current
problems in your life.
During EMDR, many people are aware of only a shadow of the experience,
while others feel it to a greater degree. EMDR clients are not asked to
relive the trauma intensely or for prolonged periods of time. In EMDR,
when there is a high level of intensity, it only lasts for a few moments and
then decreases rapidly. If it does not decrease rapidly on its own, the
clinician has been trained in techniques to assist in dissipating it. The client
is also given techniques to learn how to immediately relieve the distress.
Two or more sessions are required for the therapist to gather history,
understand the nature of the problem, and to decide whether EMDR is an
appropriate treatment. The therapist will also discuss EMDR more fully and
provide an opportunity to answer questions about the method. Once the
therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific
problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.
A typical EMDR session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem,
life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how
many treatment sessions are necessary. For most clients, this may take only
1-4 sessions. For others with a more traumatized background, or with
certain diagnoses, a longer time may be necessary.
Yes. This revolutionary therapy has been adapted and modified for children.
Over the last decade, EMDR has been used worldwide to help children with
a variety of different problems and circumstances with positive results.
Excellent outcomes in the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Andrew, the
shootings in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and the tragedy of 9/11 are a few case
examples being successfully used with children.
Depending on a child's age, they may not have the skills to verbally discuss
their negative experiences. Even older children often feel helpless as to
how to tell anyone about a disturbing experience or discuss there painful
emotions. If your child has witnessed or been exposed to trauma or chronic
stress, abuse, neglect, humiliation, or bullying, you may want to have
him/her talk with an experienced trauma therapist. Children often respond
well to EMDR treatment, and often their treatment is faster than of adults.
EMDR helps resolve troubling thought and emotions related to the
distressing memory so the child can return to his/her normal developmental
tasks and prior level of coping. EMDR can also help strengthen feelings of
confidence, calmness and mastery.
EMDR is a powerful treatment, and it is crucial your therapist is trained
and/or certified by an EMDRIA approved training. This certification insures
your therapist has gone through the appropriate, high level training and
experience. EMDRIA has an extensive educational process, allowing only
licensed practitioners in the mental health and medical fields to be
credentialed by them.
Although EMDR is not a therapeutic technique which can be done over the
phone, Dr. Lynne is available for personal phone counseling sessions to
discuss a wide variety of areas pertaining to your life.
OFFICE Appointments Available in
Pittsburgh, Monroeville & Upper St. Clair
Toll Free: 877-CALL-197
Phone Counseling Available with Dr. Lynne
Phone Counseling Fees:
EMDR is the most researched treatment method for Post Traumatic Stress
Dissorder (PTSD). The following associations have given EMDR therapy
- American Psychiatric Association (2004). Practice Guideline for the
Treatment of Patients with Acute Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress
Disorder. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association Practice
- Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (2004).
EMDR was determined to be an effective treatment of trauma.
VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-
Traumatic Stress. Washington, DC. EMDR was placed in the "A"
category as “strongly recommended” for the treatment of trauma.
- American Psychological Association Division of Clinical Psychology’s
list, EMDR is listed as an empirically validated method.
- The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies has stated that
EMDR is an “effective treatment.”
- The United Kingdom Department of Health has listed EMDR as an
- EMDR is endorsed by:
- American Red Cross
- International Critical Incident Stress Mngmt. Foundation
- Major HMO’s such as Kaiser and Value Options.
- EMDR was used extensively to treat survivors of the aftermath of both
- New York, 9-11
- Oklahoma City Bombing
For More Information about EMDR, or to find a trained EMDR
specialist in your area, contact:
|You Are Either
of Your Life . . .
You Have the
Make the Choice.
|I Can Do
A lot of
My Life . . .
But I Can
|I'm Going to
As I Shed
EMDR . . .
EMDR . . .
|There is a Place
In the Heart
Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Phone Counseling Now--Toll Free
A Breakthrough in Mental Health Treatment
A Breakthrough in Mental Health Treatment
Who You Are
Cling to Hope.
|My Life Had
One Season . . .
Dead of Winter.