“Trauma is hell on earth.
Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
-Peter A. Levine
What Is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a research-based therapy method used to help you to process and heal traumatic life experiences and memories.
Since it’s development in the late 80s by Francine Shapiro, EMDR has been recognized as an effective treatment for PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health concerns by well-known organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense.
Benefits of EMDR
EMDR therapy helps with a wide variety of emotional and psychological problems, which include trauma/PTSD, anxiety, phobias, depression, attachment disorders, and negative self-beliefs that contribute to low self-esteem. EMDR is especially beneficial for processing intense traumatic life events, such as:
- Childhood physical abuse and/or neglect
- Sexual assault, abuse or rape
- Death of a loved one or a pet
- Military combat experience
- Serious health issues or near-death experiences
- Vehicle accidents
- Witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse
- Experiencing an unexpected incident where there was harm/fear of harm to self or loved one
EMDR can also be used to improve emotional resources and build greater confidence and self-esteem. If you are preparing for a future event, EMDR is an effective approach to help you experience a positive result of the future event and to “live into” the sense of success to come.
EMDR, Trauma & The Brain
Many emotional challenges and disturbing experiences result from unprocessed trauma memories that are stored in the brain. EMDR therapy helps your brain to access and reprocess these traumatic memories, which sets in motion your natural healing processes.
When you experience a traumatic event, your brain attempts to protect you from re-experiencing the disturbing event, by storing information about the event and then sending you warning signals any time you experience anything that reminds your brain of the original event.
This can get exhausting!
You may find you are always feeling tense or on edge, feeling unsafe in apparently safe situations. You may find yourself feeling irritable or forgetful. Or you may be reliving painful memories through nightmares and/or flashbacks.
Over time, these symptoms appear as “normal” to the brain, which sets these responses as a pattern in your mind-body system.
EMDR therapy helps your brain to reconnect with the original event in order to better understand, process, and repair the original trauma. Once you properly process the memories, your brain can then turn off the danger signals and move forward from being stuck in the past.
Free from the brain signaling a danger alarm, you can experience relief from reliving the past and begin to live a life on your terms.
What to Expect from EMDR
Once we have agreed that EMDR therapy is a good fit, we will work through the eight phases of EMDR therapy to address the issue you want to work on.
Before beginning, we will ensure that you have access to positive, affirming resources and prepare you for the session ahead of time so that you feel resourced and ready.
We will then dedicate a full session or multiple EMDR sessions to address the memory or issue that we identified as the focus. A session typically lasts between 50-90 minutes. I will guide you along the way as we navigate the memory, utilizing “bilateral stimulation” in the form of either eye movements, sounds, or taps.
I will guide you to notice what comes up as you experience the memory, images, feelings, or beliefs regarding the event. The sets of eye movements, sounds, or taps are repeated until the event becomes less disturbing.
You always have a voice in the process and can stop at any point if you feel the need. Prior to ending session, we will do a body scan or other self check-in to ensure you feel centered and ready to step into the world.
You can also check out the resources below to learn more about EMDR.
“Luna is one of those people who brings with her a sense of calm, understanding, confidence, and professionalism that is rare to see all in one person. It takes only moments to recognize these qualities and appreciate how that translates to her care for all aspects of the work that she does.”
– CL, Oakland, California