EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
It is a fairly new, initially developed in 1987 by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
It was developed when Dr. Shapiro was walking in the woods one day and noticed she had some disturbing and upsetting thoughts that suddenly disappeared.
This intrigued her and after researching what was happening more closely, Dr. Shapiro did some experimenting.
She observed that her rapid eye movement from side to side while thinking of something disturbing, eased the disturbing thoughts.
This is a non-traditional type of psychotherapy, however, it’s not without its own controversy among health care professionals.
Let’s dive into it:
What Is EMDR Therapy?
Life experiences can affect us all in different ways.
Trauma and anxiety can find their way into our lives from all sorts of life experiences.
It can be as seemingly simple as starting out with a physical problem, say an inability for the stomach to move and process food.
Lasting for years, an issue like this can cause a child or adult trauma and anxiety around food and digestion.
EMDR Therapy is a psychotherapy that helps people heal from symptoms and emotional distress resulting from disturbing life experiences or trauma.
It appears that EMDR has an unusual approach.
It does not rely on talk therapy or medications.
Instead, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) encourages a patient’s rapid, rhythmic eye movement.
These eye movements can dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.
Typically a patient would have one or two sessions per week for a total of six to twelve sessions.
Although, some people respond faster and benefit from fewer sessions.
PTSD and some other disorders are the result of past disturbing experiences that continue causing distress because they were not fully processed.
The brain took a snapshot of this event and captured these unprocessed memories containing emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and physical sensations that occurred at that time.
When these memories are triggered this causes the symptoms of PTSD and other disorders, such as, panic attacks, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and addictions.
What is EMDR Therapy and How Does It Work?
Other treatments focus on changing the emotions, thoughts, and responses from a trauma, whereas, EMDR focuses on the traumatic memory and changes the way it’s stored in the brain.
Through reprocessing, EMDR reduces or eliminates the troubling symptoms from trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addictions, and more.
This is an excellent video explaining the therapy, EMDR.
A treatment session can last up to ninety minutes as an EMDR therapist guides you to follow an action or sound (taps or tones) with your eyes.
At the same time, you’ll be instructed to recall the disturbing memory, while you feel the emotions and physical sensations. If anxiety comes up, know you’ll be in safe hands.
Then gradually, you’ll be guided to shift to more pleasant memories.
According to the EMDR Institute, EMDR therapy involves three time periods – past, present, and future.
While focus is given to past disturbing trauma, and related events, it is also given to current stressful situations and empowering attitudes for the future.
These are the required phases:
Phase 1: History Taking
Phase 2: Preparing the Client
Phase 3: Assessing the Target Memory
Phase 4 – 7: Processing the Memory to Adaptive Resolution
Phase 8: Evaluating Treatment Results
Does EMDR Work?
Despite its increasing use, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) is controversial among mental health practitioners.
There are some who still debate its effectiveness.
Even staunch supporters of EMDR don’t understand why it works.
However, studies have shown that Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing can benefit people where traditional psychotherapy once took years to make a difference.
Over twenty controlled studies examining the effects of EMDR have shown that it can effectively decrease or eliminate symptoms of PTSD for the majority of clients.
Improvements in other associated symptoms, such as anxiety, also often improve.
Generally, people with one traumatic event as an adult can be treated in under five hours.
Multiple trauma sufferers could take longer.
Is EMDR Similar to Hypnosis?
EMDR can be incorporated with hypnosis, however, it is not similar in that hypnosis induces a relaxed state and EMDR attempts to connect to an anxious state.
In hypnosis you generally have your eyes closed and with EMDR the key component is to have your eyes open and moving.
It’s only similarity is that EMDR and hypnosis both work with the subconscious mind.
Both therapies bring into consciousness the repressed thoughts, beliefs, and feelings in order for their energetic hold to be released.
Recovery from traumatic events using EMDR therapy is much quicker than other therapies.
How Do I Get EMDR Therapy?
If you’ve had life experiences involving trauma, and/or anxiety and think Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is right for you, research different EMDR therapists in your area.
It’s important you find a therapist who feels right for you and that you feel safe, heard and validated because your experience is meaningful.
Key Questions To Ask:
- Are you a certified EMDR Therapist?
- Do you keep up the skills you’ve learned?
- Do you have experience with complex trauma?
- What made you decide to offer EMDR as a therapy and what has your experience been like?
- Are there other therapies you use besides EMDR?
How Much Does a Session of EMDR Cost?
In the U.S. an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) session might range from $90 – $150 or more.
The wide range in cost depends on the location, the education of the therapist, the credentials and experience of the clinician, and the duration of the session.
EMDR sessions can often be ninety minutes long rather than the fifty minute sessions of typical psychotherapy sessions.
Although, keep in mind, very often progress is made much quicker with EMDR than typical psychotherapy.
Find a clinician who is EMDRIA certified.
This ensures they are fully licensed in their independent mental health profession and have at least two years experience in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).
This status is granted for two years after which the clinician must renew their certification.
Best ways to Find an EMDR Therapist Near Me?
There are several online directories listing EMDR therapists that you can find in different areas of the world or of each country or region, such as:
- EMDRIA is the governing body for EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and they have over 10,00 international certified therapists.
- Psychology Today has a detailed directory for U.S. inquiries.
A List of the Best EMDR Therapists in the U.S.
The following therapists are all certified with EMDRIA, EMDR International Association.
|Kimberley A. WalkerNorthern Light-Acadia Restorative Health23 Water Street, Ste. 203Bangor, Maine 04401-6358(207) 973-6620|
Sally Ann Francis173 Hicks St OfcBrooklyn, NY 11201-2339(718) 852-1901
Kime D Kenslow, LCSW921 First Colonial Rd Ste 1707Virginia Beach, VA 23454-3167(757) 685-4453
Rebecca McQuaig109 Nature Walk Pkwy Unit 104Saint Augustine, FL 32092-5065(904) 654-8338
Gray ManisUniversity of Kentucky245 Fountain Ct Ste 225Lexington, KY 40509-1888(859) 257-8976
Dr. Beth PrewettChildren’s Mental Health Services Inc.35382 US Highway 2Grand Rapids, MN 55744-4754(218) 327-4886
Ms. Wendy FarleyKeystone Mental Health225 SW 12th StTopeka, KS 66612-1310(785) 581-1801
Mr. Paul IrbyMinistry of Counselling and Enrichment1502 N 1st StAbilene, TX 79601-5602(325) 672-9999
Mrs. Susanne M. Goldstein, LPCArizona and ColoradoMariposa Healing Center8700 E Vista Bonita Dr Ste 138Scottsdale, AZ 85255-4259(480) 771-5400
Melanie Anderson12600 SE 38th St Ste 235Bellevue, WA 98006-5232(425) 890-8988
|William MunzeAspire Counselling45 Newbury St Ste 312Boston, MA 02116-3145(617) 858-1084|
Marianne DaughteryHappy Valley Counselling LLC1362 S Atherton StState College, PA 16801-6203(814) 404-7700
Dr. Benjamin L. OseHolistic Mental Health, PLLC800 W Williams St Ste 231AApex, NC 27502-5204(919) 267-9813
Ms. Erin HinzLifeline Solutions420 28th Ave Ste 200Tuscaloosa, AL 35401-1089(205) 737-3720
Jason KlauserLife Support LLC5270 Northland Dr NE Ste BGrand Rapids, MI 49525-1073(616) 901-6138
Mrs. Erin ClarkAdvanced Counselling of Bozeman607 Professional Dr Ste 3Bozeman, MT 59718-3949(406) 595-3746
Amanda GregorySymmetry Counselling300 W Adams St Ste 821Chicago, IL 60606-5109(573) 745-1196
Mrs. Dana RippyHidden Wounds MH LLC4012 Parliament Dr Ste 1Alexandria, LA 71303-3017(318) 794-5751
Mrs. Hillary D. Cook, LCPCIdaho Trauma Therapy LLC500 W Idaho St Ste 200Boise, ID 83702-5755(208) 391-2957
Sheryl L. StrumDinuba Children’s Services144 S L StDinuba, CA 93618-2323(559) 591-6680