Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives."
- Shah Rukh Khan

When I read this quote, I think, This is what EMDR can do. It allows us to reprocess events from the past so that when we look back at our memories and traumas, we no longer have unpleasant reactions to them. Reprocessing difficult memories also helps us avoid becoming triggered when challenges in the present moment arise. "The damage no longer controls our lives."

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy has become a popular treatment choice for a wide variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress symptoms (such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks), dissociative disorders, depression, phobias, grief, identity crises, and other traumatic experiences. It has been shown to be quicker and require fewer sessions than traditional talk therapy, with deeper and more long-lasting results.

How it Helps

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that uses bilateral stimulation (BLS), such as back and forth eye movements, physical taps, vibrations, or sounds, to create a desensitization to a distressing memory. Bilateral stimulation helps to process and integrate the accompanying emotions, body sensations, and negative beliefs that are commonly locked away with traumatic memories. It also helps reduce the frequency and intensity of unwanted behaviors. It can even enhance performance!

Risks

While there are many benefits to EMDR therapy, there are also risks. Distressing, unresolved memories may surface through the use of EMDR. Some clients may experience high levels of emotional or physical sensations. After the treatment session, the processing of incidents and/or material may continue and dreams, memories, flashbacks, feelings, and sensations may surface.

Those with limiting or special medical conditions (pregnancy, heart condition, ocular difficulties, etc.) should consult a medical professional before participating in EMDR. For some people, this method may result in sharper memory, for others fuzzier memory following the treatment.

How Virtual EMDR Works

Since we will not be meeting face to face, there are a few extra steps you’ll have to take.

  1. Most importantly, make sure you are in a private location with no distractions. Headphones are highly recommended for best audio quality and background noise reduction.

  2. Have some items that bring you comfort within reach: a cherished photo, pleasant scents, a stress ball, etc.

  3. You will be able to choose the type of BLS to use during your reprocessing session:

    • Eye movements: We will use a program called Active EMDR. Your computer should be at eye level and your screen about 12-15 inches away from your face.

    • Physical taps: You will be using a technique called the “Butterfly Hug.” No equipment required!

    • Sounds: You must wear headphones because the sounds will alternate from ear to ear.

For more information, click here.

Ready to get started? ​

 

Lisa Paer, LMFT, LPCC

562-656-2696

Online talk therapy and EMDR for residents of California

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Lisa Paer, owner of Therapy InsightOut, is licensed by the State of California as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT107252) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC6635).

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