Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a neurologically based form of trauma treatment that helps us to reprocess old and disturbing events from our lives and heal the brain.  EMDR was founded in the 1980’s by Francine Shapiro when PTSD was a relatively new diagnosis.


The research discovered that when disturbing events occur in our lives most of the time our brains can process through them and the feelings they create just fine.  However, some of the time, we are not able to fully process through those events and they get stuck in the back, less developed, and irrational part of our brains.  They are stored their with the negative beliefs we have about ourselves in relation to those incidents (i.e. I’m not good enough, I should have done more, I am a failure, etc.) and then those beliefs get woven into our lives and affect us and our relationships.


EMDR therapy uses very simple bilateral stimulation (BLS) mostly in the form of eye movement, similar to what we experience during REM sleep, to reprocess these events and reframe them with positive beliefs about ourselves.  This all happens at the unconscious level, you do not even realize it but your brain is healing.  The therapy won’t take the memories away but it will reduce the emotional stimulation you get when you think about them or when you experience similar (trigger) situations.  It is literally the closest thing we have to a magic wand for healing our brains.


EMDR And Anxiety, Depression and Phobias


Anxiety, depression and phobias can haunt people in a variety of different ways.  Maybe you experience constant worrying about your loved ones, or your health or school.  Perhaps you struggle with running meetings at work, test anxiety or driving.  Or maybe it is fear that has you frozen.  It is also possible to just have generalized anxiety or depression, meaning you feel that way all the time but you can’t really put your finger on why.


EMDR has been found to effectively treat mood disorders such as anxiety, depression as well as fears and phobias.  The research over the last 30 years has developed several protocols for use in the processing to relieve the effects of mood disorder symptoms.  Some research has indicated that EMDR is just as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety, depression and phobias.


When used in treatment, EMDR is meant to break the connection you have between certain circumstances or incidents and your symptoms.  This therapy helps you to discover when the symptoms started, what was going on at that time and how the negative beliefs you developed about yourself were formed and stored in your brain.  EMDR unlocks these memories, and with my guidance, reprocesses them and reframes them in a positive way, reducing your emotional stimulation.


EMDR Therapy and Addictions


Have you been struggling with alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or food addiction?  Have you been clean before only to fall into the slippery slope of relapse once again?  Or maybe you have been sober for some time now but haven’t been able to heal from your own past trauma and need more then than just a twelve step program.  Or maybe you were raised by addicts or in a relationship with one and have been held captive by their disease for years.


EMDR has been found to effectively treat people suffering from substance abuse because of the trauma that is often associated with addictions.  The research over the last 30 years has developed several protocols for use in the processing to relieve the effects of addictions and the feelings and symptoms that occur as a result.


People who have struggled with addictions in general, find comfort in substances as a way to numb feelings of anxiety, fear, depression and trauma.  In recovery, we can help you to find the sources of the pain and use EMDR therapy to heal and reframe the negative beliefs you have about yourself (i.e. I’m not good enough, I’m a failure, I should have done more, etc) into positive ones.


EMDR therapy will help you to heal from negative life experiences and support your recovery.