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EMDR Licensed Practitioner







What is EMDR & how does it work?
EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) involves a series of rapid eye movements, like those of REM sleep, to reprocess disturbing memories, trauma or phobias and resolve and desensitize them emotionally. When we sleep we process our experiences from the day with REM sleep, where the eye movements connect right and left brain hemispheres. This brain activity whilst you sleep encourages resolution and understanding of situations. with the unconscious mind. However, sometimes when we experience trauma it does not get resolved, perhaps through a lack of sleep at that particular time. EMDR, used whilst the client is fully conscious and alert, naturally and effectively processes the memories, triggering desensitization and resolution within the emotional self.


What are the benefits?
EMDR is the most rapid and effective way to desensitize the images, sounds and feelings associated with trauma. Studies consistently show that treatment with EMDR result in elimination of the targeted emotion . The memory remains but the negative emotions are neutralized or “flattened”.

The use of EMDR therapy has shown that the positive, long-term results affect all aspects of a client's well-being - the physical, mental and emotional.

Because EMDR has the capacity to relieve any type of emotional block or fear, it is now used across a wide range of issues. With EMDR available to clients it is now possible to overcome severe emotional trauma in a very short time frame, perhaps even one or
two sessions.


EMDR Protocol:

Generally, EMDR uses an eight-phase protocol for each event that is processed.  This includes taking a history; preparing the client; target identification; processing the past, present, and future aspects of the event; and ongoing evaluation of progress or new material that may emerge.  The processing of a target involves sets of bilateral stimulation – usually eye movements – while focusing on aspects of the event.  The client reports what he/she is experiencing between each “set” of eye movements.  At the end of treatment, disturbing memories and situations that trigger them should no longer be a problem and new healthy responses are possible.


What Happens in the Sessions?

  1. The therapist will do a thorough history and assess how well you are currently managing with the problem, and with your life in general.

  2. Together, you and your therapist will identify the past traumatic event, recalling visual, auditory, emotional and physiological cues.

  3. With the identified “target”, you and the therapist will “scale” or rate the intensity of thoughts and feelings associated with it.  This is to help track your progress as your brain does its work of reprocessing the event.

  4. The therapist will do a series of bilateral stimulations (eye movements, tapping or another stimulus the two of you decide upon) while you report what you experience in terms of thoughts, feelings or body sensations.  It takes several sets of eye movements to initiate the process of “desensitizing”.

  5. The therapist will continue the sets until you report little or no disturbance associated with the target.  (This can take several minutes to several sessions, depending on subjective intensity of the disturbance.)

  6. Eye movements continue to “reprocess” and reinforce positive and adaptive thinking that is now associated with the target.  The therapist will also work on present-day or future manifestations of the disturbance


How many sessions?


The number of sessions will depend on the specific problem and your psychological history. Another factor is your ability to deal with strong emotions that may arise during processing. (Your therapist will teach self-soothing techniques prior to EMDR work.)  Studies show that a single trauma can be “cleared” within three sessions in 80-90% of clients.  Multiple traumas or a long history of trauma may require more sessions, with treatment lasting a few weeks to several months.


EMDR Risks:

Therapists who treat with EMDR are required to have 40 hours of approved training and practicum.  It is recommended that EMDR therapists have ongoing professional consultation with an approved EMDR consultant.  Despite these measures to ensure effectiveness and safety, potential clients should be aware that there are some risks associated with EMDR, as with any other therapy.

  1. There may be a temporary increase in distress.

  2. Disturbing, unresolved material may surface during the sets.

  3. Clients may experience unanticipated emotional or physiological reactions.

  4. Processing may continue after the client leaves the therapist’s office, though this is not necessarily a bad thing.

As mentioned above, the practice of EMDR utilizes safety measures which the therapist teaches to the client prior to the initiation of treatment.

It’s not only major traumas that cause distress.  The day-to-day hardships and occurrences that come with everyday living can greatly inhibit our ability to enjoy and fully participate in our lives.  EMDR has been used successfully to treat these little “t” traumas:

  • job stress

  • conflict at home

  • new job jitters

  • job termination

  • test anxiety

  • self-esteem

  • body memory

  • conflict at work

  • lover’s quarrel

  • road  rage

  • procrastination

  • habit control

  • social  anxiety

  • divorce recovery

Plus, EMDR is an excellent tool for working on:

  • Relaxation

  • Public speaking

  • Writer’s block

  • Life Transitions

  • Career and Life coaching

  •  Motivation

  • Body image

  • Artist’s block

  • Performance enhancement


Material in this section is adapted from information provided by the EMDR Institute and the EMDR International Association.   For more information, check out these websites:

The EMDR International Association

The EMDR Institute  

EMDR Network



For more information (including research) about EMDR, you may want to visit these websites:

For user-friendly educational information about EMDR, including amazing brain scans by Dr. Daniel Amen of a client's brain with PTSD and her brain again after EMDR therapy, look at this site from San Diego, California: www.SanDiegoTraumaTherapy.com

• Research on efficacy and frequent questions about EMDR: www.emdr.com

• A national list of Certified EMDR therapists: www.emdria.org

• A brief description of EMDR: www.emdrnetwork.com

• EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program: www.emdrhap.org

• Dr. Daniel Amen's Atlas of Brain SPECT Scans: www.brainplace.com

• CBS News Special Assignment Video on EMDR and PTSD - catch a glimpse of EMDR at work


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