What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is short for Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy. It is a well-researched and evidence-based therapy which was initially found to be highly effective in treating experiences of trauma. This includes severely traumatic incidents such as a motor vehicle accident or sexual assault, childhood trauma, smaller cumulative traumas, and incidents which seem minor but are nonetheless troublesome and are not being effectively treated by other forms of therapy. EMDR has also shown itself to be effective in addressing PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and issues such substance use, nightmares, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and complicated grief (grief with a component of trauma attached to it).
What can I expect?
EMDR is different from other forms of therapy. You can expect a systematic, thorough approach to looking at your history, the traumatic event(s), and your symptoms. I will ensure that you are a good candidate before proceeding. Then a detailed treatment plan will be made and carefully followed. When EMDR is applied in this manner, you can expect your memories of the event(s) to shift and your symptoms to improve and even resolve. Everyone processes at a different rate, but EMDR can help you process trauma effectively and relatively quickly, which may be surprising if you have been suffering for some time.
In an EMDR reprocessing session, you will focus on your memories while simultaneously engaging in “bilateral stimulation” (eye movements, or kinesthetic or auditory stimulation on alternating sides of the body). This bilateral stimulation has powerful effects in resolving disturbing memories, and there are different theories on how it works. During the reprocessing you will find your memories becoming less vivid and intense, until they do not bother you anymore.
EMDR will engage your cognitive processes, your body sensations and body memories, and your emotions. This serves to effectively targets the memory from all angles.
What will I experience after I have EMDR?
Some people feel completely well after the session and some people struggle a bit afterwards, but the potential distress from the bilateral stimulation is short-lived. Also, when a client is struggling, it is evidence that the therapy is working! This process can be seen as akin to a minor medical treatment which may be challenging for some but is well-worth it in order to achieve the positive health outcome afterwards. Rest assured, I will give you skills to help with any distress and close our session in a way that leaves you feeling safe and looking forward to our next session.
What are the benefits of working with Clara?
Clara has been trained in the original, researched procedures used by the pioneer of EMDR therapy, Frances Shapiro. In addition, she has extensive experience in mental health, and has helped people with a wide range of struggles using a variety of therapeutic approaches. This experience helps her determine the best method to be effective in resolving the needs of her clients, and has shown her that while many other therapies have limited outcomes in the face of trauma, EMDR can actually resolve symptoms. With a calm, gentle, and compassionate approach to working with clients, she believes in helping people use their own strength and capacity to heal. In addition to seeing the changes in her clients, Clara has experienced the benefits of EMDR first hand and can attest to its efficacy.