EMDR is an excellent technique for reducing the impact and influence of traumatic memories and the negative self-beliefs they often produce. For example, “I’m not good enough.” or “I’m hard to love.” As the sense of distance from a traumatic event increases, it can become more possible to sincerely exchange a negative self-belief for one that’s more positive; e.g. “I’m fine the way I am.” or “My best is good enough.”
EMDR does not erase troubling memories. Rather it allows memories to become less upsetting. Consequently, it can be possible to feel differently about one’s self.
How Do We Start?
After taking your history, I would lead you through a sequence of questions and answers in relation to a troubling memory; e.g. “The day the teacher embarrassed me in front of the class on my first day of school.”, a negative self-belief still persistent in the present; e.g. “I’m not as smart as everyone else.”, and/or a troubling symptom; e.g. “I go blank and get tongue tied in front of groups.” Cause and effect between a memory and a present difficultly is not always immediately clear to you. I would be there to help guide conversation that can lead to “putting the pieces together”.
After we mutually agree upon a troubling memory to target, bi-lateral stimulation (BLS) is then employed with the continuation of specifically sequenced questions and answers. The purpose of BLS is to intensify relaxation which in turn can allow you to have more access to feelings, images, sensations and beliefs.
How Does EMDR Work?
BLS (which researchers believe may approximate brain activity during REM or dream cycle sleep) can be achieved several different ways; guided right/left eye movements with you following my hand motions, alternating sounds between the right and left ear of music, nature sounds (such as ocean waves) or tones through light-weight head phones, or alternating right and left tactile stimulation through small, hand-held, vibrating discs. (The vibration in these discs feels a little like the vibration of a cell phone.) You may sample each of the forms of BLS prior to EMDR and decide what you find most comfortable.
It is also important to note that EMDR has expanded its scope of usefulness beyond trauma treatment to also help with stress relief, weight management, anxiety issues including phobias, the building of relaxation skills and performance enhancement.
I am both EMDRIA certified in EMDR, and an EMDRIA approved consultant, credentialing her to provide clinical case consultation to other EMDR trained and licensed therapists.
To learn more about EMDR, email me or call (860) 678-8779 to schedule an initial consultation.