Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing
WHAT IS EMDR?
EMDR is an effective method of psychotherapy that has been found to reduce and eliminate the impact of trauma and other distresses efficiently, with long-lasting results. Used worldwide with people of all ages, EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in 1990.
Most scientific research has focused on the benefits of EMDR for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Additionally, psychotherapists and other mental health clinicians have reported success using EMDR for a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, addictions, anger, grief, eating disorders, and to reduce stress.
HOW EMDR WORKS
When people experience a very upsetting situation, their brain cannot process information the way it usually does. The memory from the event can get “stuck” in the brain. If the memory arises at a later time, it may feel as if the event just happened, even if it occurred months or years ago.
EMDR uses a unique approach to help individuals reduce the impact of difficult memories and the feelings associated with them. A cornerstone of the work involves right-left brain processing, accomplished through a series of eye movements, hand or foot tapping, or listening to tones. This technique helps the brain re-process the memories, making them less upsetting or overwhelming and, in doing so, improves an individual’s daily functioning. After experiencing EMDR, people have reported a sense of freedom and peace, and typically speak of a positive ‘shift’ in their lives.
WHEN IS EMDR HELPFUL?
Therapists and clients work together to determine whether EMDR is an optimal approach to achieve established goals. In general, EMDR can be helpful for both single-event traumas, such as a car accident, assault or witnessing an upsetting event as well as for longer-term situations, including childhood trauma or extensive stress or abuse. The number of sessions depends on several factors: the length, duration, or severity of the upsetting events, the amount of previous trauma and the client’s current coping skills. Gaining skills to stay healthy emotionally, both in- and out- of the therapy session, is an important component of EMDR.
WHICH ORGANIZATIONS RECOGNIZE EMDR?
EMDR is listed as an effective treatment by national and international organizations including the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense. A broad base of published case reports and controlled research support it as a valid treatment of trauma. Since 1990 it has been gaining increasing international recognition as an effective psychotherapeutic tool.
CINDY DERN’S EMDR CREDENTIALS
Cindy completed her EMDR training through the EMDR Institute, Inc. She studied with Dr. Francine Shapiro, originator and leading expert on EMDR.
Cindy has utilized EMDR in her practice since 2004. Clients have had great success in reducing anxiety and stress, alleviating trauma, overcoming fears, relieving grief and enhancing self-confidence.
When I think about the trauma, I can see it, feel it, but it’s not as charged. I can see how charged it was, but I don’t feel that level of angst anymore.
I had a single EMDR session after my family pet died in a very traumatic way. Images of her really haunted me, and I felt guilty like I failed her. By the end of our session, I felt significant relief.
After doing EMDR, I see my father very differently, and we now get along well for the first time in my life.
I came to therapy because I had been in several car crashes and was really scared to drive. I was also having frequent nightmares. EMDR was really helpful. I am now able to drive without feeling afraid, and can sleep through the night. It’s like the car accidents never happened.
EMDR Institute, Inc. provides information for clients and clinicians including: the role of EMDR in psychotherapy, how to find a clinician, research on EMDR and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. The institute provides training for therapists.
EMDR International Association is a professional association; the website provides information for clinicians, researchers and the general public.
EMDR Network is a website dedicated to helping both the layperson and clinicians gain access to important information about EMDR.