EMDR THERAPY IS THE BRIDGE THAT DISCONNECTS
YOUR PAST FROM THE PRESENT
SO YOU CAN MOVE TOWARD YOUR IDEAL FUTURE.
WHAT IS EMDR THERAPY?
EMDRIA.org states that Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, evidenced-based psychotherapy method that is extremely effective in assisting your brain and body in recovering from high-stress experiences and environments, traumatic events, and other symptoms including PTSD, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, grief, anger, chronic pain, substance misuse, and burnout.
HOW DOES EMDR THERAPY WORK?
Our body naturally repairs itself when we sleep. Francine Shapiro developed EMDR therapy in the 1980’s by discovering how to recreate the brain’s natural recovery process that occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. EMDR works to “disconnect” overwhelming, unresolved experiences from our panic alarm system (Limbic system) by “re-wiring” the pathways that store the pain of those memories from our memory system (hippocampus). It does this by using alternating stimulation (Bilateral Stimulation) between both sides of our brain to mimic what eye movements do during REM sleep.
EMDR is not hypnosis. This method allows you to be fully in control and engaged in dual awareness (thinking of past memories and aware of the present moment) while working with your therapist through the 8-stage model to release the highly charged response to memories and current activators. Research has also shown that using other forms of this back-and-forth movement (bilateral stimulation) is just as effective as eye movements including tapping, sound, and/or vibrations through tactile ‘tappers’.
To learn more about how the process works: https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/
IS EMDR THERAPY EFFECTIVE?
Yes, EMDR therapy is very effective. It has been shown to help people recover quicker than traditional talk therapy because it addresses multiple components of trauma recovery simultaneously and doesn’t require you to “talk about it over and over again”. It does this by addressing and reprocessing the “raw data” that is stored in our survival system. Each target memory can take up to one to three sessions to be reprocessed and deactivated.
The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization among many other national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment.
Read more about EMDR Therapy’s rapidness and effectiveness in a meta-analysis study published by the creator of EMDR therapy, Francine Shapiro: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951033/
HOW CAN EMDR THERAPY HELP ME?
EMDR helps to facilitate the recovery process so that the past can stay in the past and you can be engaged in the present moment. When we experience overwhelming, highly stressful, or traumatic events, our brain activates our body and stores the disturbing sensory experience (memories, emotions, beliefs, and body sensations) in our brain’s survival panic alarm system known as the Limbic System. These experiences can range from being “overwhelming” from constant activation like a stressful work environment, disappointing family members, or conflicts in your relationships to being “traumatic” like a car wreck, assault, experiencing violence, or witnessing a horrific event.
When something occurs in the present that reminds the brain and body of those past experiences, it immediately activates the panic alarm system and floods the body with survival chemicals that cause you to fight, flight, or freeze in the present moment. This can cause a range of reactions. You might feel immediately activated or “triggered” or you might feel this persistent sense of irritability, exhaustion, or anxiety that “something bad is going to happen”.
This system is helpful for short-term survival; but when it gets “stuck on”, we can become activated by false alarms that cause the past to stay present affecting our daily lives, careers, relationships, and our internal sense of self. Some might feel anxious, depressed, sad, fearful, on-guard, or angry and some might feel numb, distant, or lose track of time.
EMDR helps the brain to stop re-reliving these stored experiences by turning off the survival system and lets us remember those events without being activated any longer.
HOW DO I KNOW EMDR THERAPY IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Engaging in a therapy to address painful past experiences or current stressful situations can feel scary and overwhelming. While EMDR therapy is highly effective for a lot of people, it might not be the right fit for you. There are elements of EMDR therapy that might be helpful to assist you in feeling more calm, stable, and encouraged without having to reprocess your past using EMDR therapy. Talk to your therapist about the different therapy methods and options that are available to address what is bringing you into therapy to find the one that feels the most appropriate and comfortable to you.
WHAT IS AN EMDRIA CERTIFIED EMDR THERAPIST?
Founder of VectorPoint Health, Kevin Cuchia, LCSW, is an EMDRIA Certified EMDR therapist which means he has spent thousands of hours in training, consultation, and in sessions developing his technique and craft. The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) has rigorous standards set by their international board. This means that in addition to Kevin completing his level I & II military-focused EMDR therapy training and consultation with renowned EMDR author and trainer, Colonel E.C. Hurley; he also completed the EMDRIA EMDR Certification requirements that include significantly more formal training and consultation hours, has proven competency and efficiency by completing the entire 3-stage and 8-phase EMDR therapy method under direct observation by an EMDRIA certified consultant, and was recommended by EMDRIA certified EMDR therapists to earn the EMDRIA certification.
EMDRIA certified EMDR therapists are required to recertify every two years and must continually complete advanced trainings in EMDR therapy to retain their certification.