What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful and effective therapy for the treatment of trauma. It is an integrative therapeutic approach that has been researched extensively as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and its repeated demonstration of effectiveness has made it an evidence-based therapy. It helps people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of traumatic life experiences, including childhood abuse, sexual assault, car accidents, and other traumatic events. 

In addition to the treatment of PTSD, EMDR can also be used to treat the psychological effects of “small traumas”, which are events that exceed our capacity to cope and cause a disruption in emotional functioning. These distressing events are not inherently life-threatening, but manifest in distressing symptoms including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, nightmares phobias, and more.

How Does It Work?

The mind can heal from psychological trauma in much the same way as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body naturally begins to heal the wound. However if bacteria or a foreign object gets into it, the natural healing process is interfered with. Once it is cleaned out, the healing can resume again. The same is true for mental health. Your brain has a natural information processing system that moves towards wellness and health. If this system is blocked or thrown off balance by the impact of a disturbing event, it can lead to emotional distress. Using specific protocols and procedures, EMDR can help remove these blocks and activate the natural healing processes once more.

 EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to reduce the intensity of traumatic images and memories, thereby reducing the emotional response associated with them.  Bilateral stimulation involves the use of eye movements, sounds, or tapping to stimulate the left and right sides of the brain. This helps facilitate the brain’s adaptive information processing mechanism, similar to the effects of rapid eye movements during the REM stage of sleep, and helps memories become fully processed.

To learn more about EMDR, please visit the EMDR International Association website: www.EMDRIA.org

Attachment-Focused EMDR

I am trained in Attachment-Focused EMDR, which integrates attachment theory into the traditional practice of healing within an EMDR framework to heal clients with developmental trauma and attachment deficits. This make it especially helpful for people who have experienced childhood abuse or neglect, or who are adult children of alcoholics or dysfunctional families.

Attachment is the emotional bond that typically forms between a child and their caregiver.  Early attachment experiences stimulate the growth of neural pathways that will shape an individual’s behaviors as well as their beliefs about themselves, others, and the world throughout their lifespan.  For example, do I believe that the world is a safe place, or that others are likely to respond to my needs? In many ways, our earliest relationships determine all others. Attachment-Focused EMDR is a powerful method for helping treat disruptions in the thoughts, feelings, and relationships of individuals who have experienced non-secure attachment and relational trauma.

To learn more about Attachment-Focused EMDR, please visit the Parnell Institute website: www.ParnellEMDR.com

If you are interested in EMDR and you live in Claremont, Upland, Pomona, La Verne, or one of the other surrounding cities in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire, please contact me to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how I can help.