in New Jersey
What is EMDR therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, most often referred to by its acronym, EMDR, is a method of psychotherapy that helps patients recover from trauma. If this form of therapy from Positive Reset Mental Health Clinic is ideal for you, it will help you move forward from distressing life experiences that have led to panic disorders, PTSD, anxiety and depression. The therapy has been extensively studied, researched and is considered to be effective. In recent years, there’s been a spotlight on EMDR therapy, as celebrities have come out to say it has worked for them.
What’s different about EMDR therapy?
Unlike traditional therapy, EMDR therapy does not require you to rehash a particular distressing issue, keep an intimate journal as “homework” or complete questionnaires about yourself during each meeting. Instead, EMDR is focused on change: changing thoughts, emotions and behaviors as they relate to distressing thoughts or issues. It’s meant to take unresolved, unprocessed traumatic memories, and move forward with them once and for all. That’s why this therapy is so effective. It’s reliant on your brain’s natural healing process to push forward with recovery.
What is EMDR therapy’s effect on the brain?
When our brain is working the way it should be, we go through traumatic events throughout our lives and heal from them naturally. To do this, our brains send communication between the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. Each has its own role in processing trauma. The amygdala is your brain’s red flag response. It lets you know when an event is stressful. The hippocampus helps you remember you’ve been hurt before. It’s there to tell you “based on memory, this isn’t safe, this is dangerous.” The Prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that manages our behavioral and emotional response. When these responses fail to work in unison, traumatic events go unresolved. EMDR is there to manage and resolve our natural response.
Let’s delve into this subject more. When we’re stressed our body goes into fight, flight or freeze, but, if we’re distressed by an event, our body might instead just FREEZE. We get caught up on the upsetting images, the helpless thoughts, the paralyzing emotions. EMDR is there to help us process and get out of a place of frozen and paralyzed fear. We don’t lose our memory with EMDR therapy. It’s still there, but our body’s reaction to trauma is what gets resolved.
Who is a good candidate for EMDR therapy?
EMDR therapy is suitable for people all ages. It’s used on a variety of challenges and situations, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic attacks
- Performance Anxiety
- Substance Abuse Disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Personality Disorders
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic Illness
- Grief and Loss
- Sleep Disturbance
What’s the history of EMDR therapy?
EMDR therapy has a rich and researched history, dating back to the 1980s, when Francine Shapiro recognized that eye movement is linked to persistent upsetting or traumatic memory. Shapiro poured herself into the research and development of EMDR therapy over the course of her lifetime, but, in the beginning, Shapiro was met with skepticism. After years, other professionals began to recognize that Shapiro’s work had started as a hypothesis, but had turned into a formal mental health service. That’s when it started to gain traction across the US.
EMDR is responsible for case studies and research that have encompassed thousands of clinical hours in treating people’s trauma and trauma-related disorders. Proponents of this research have worked with the following international bodies:
- the American Psychiatric Association
- the US Department of Veterans Affairs (USVA)
- the US Department of Defense (USDOD)
- the UK’s National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE)
- the World Health Organization (WHO)
In other words, what started as one doctor’s hypothesis has become publicly accepted. In fact, Prince Harry recognized EMDR as the therapy that helped him treat his childhood trauma, stemming from the death of his mother, Princess Diana. Sandra Bullock used EMDR after her home was broken into and she experienced intense trauma.
EMDRIA is a foundation for practitioners of EMDR therapy. Nearly 11,000 mental health professionals are part of it, using EMDR to help patients in their clinical practice, and treating traumatic response conditions. In 2019, Shapiro died, but her legacy lives on. She is considered the founder of trauma-informed mental health care. Now, other EMDR therapists, researchers, and patients carry that legacy by practicing EMDR therapy today.
What happens during an EMDR session?
First of all, you’ll have a consultation with your therapist to find out if EMDR therapy is good for you. Next, you’ll work through the eight phases of this therapy together. You’ll pay special attention to ideas of negativity, negative images, beliefs, emotions, and feelings, all related to the traumatic event you’ve experienced. You’ll retrace those thoughts and think positively. You’ll evoke positive thoughts, beliefs and dreams. After a specific period of therapeutic intervention, you’ll notice that the traumatic issue was resolved and that you’re no longer paralyzed by the fear you felt. Sessions last from an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your exact needs.
If you have experienced a traumatic event that seems to be ruling your life, even years later, EMDR therapy might work for you. This therapy was developed by a leading doctor in the 1980’s and is practiced by therapists internationally now. The UK’s Prince Harry recognized EMDR therapy as the reason he was able to get past childhood trauma. Other celebrity advocates include Sandra Bullock.
You can count on professionals to provide the help you need, whatever the need. Use the search tool on this website to locate the office nearest you, and contact us to set up an appointment.
First thing on Google:
Article about Prince Harry doing EMDR therapy:
Sandra Bullock on EMDR:
This is the actual EMDR website: