EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative and comprehensive psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches such as imaginal exposure, mindfulness, cognitive and self-control techniques into a structured treatment plan developed to meet the specific needs of each person.

It involves having the client concentrate on the worst moment of the memory while visually following the therapist's moving fingers and/or alternating sounds or vibrations; this is repeated with different aspects of the memory until no further distress remains. The unique combination of methods in EMDR appears to stimulate an intrinsic capacity of the human brain to resolve emotional disturbance and gain adaptive insights in a manner similar to what occurs spontaneously during dreaming (REM: rapid eye movement) sleep.

To date, EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress. EMDR has been found to be the most effective and efficient of the well-established trauma treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can EMDR help me or someone I know?

EMDR has been shown to be helpful in resolving troubling symptoms such as anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, panic, phobias, medical and painful sensations, and emotional distress including excessive guilt, anger, grief and fear, recurring nightmares and behavioral symptoms such as avoiding formerly enjoyable activities.

Why bring up a painful memory?

When painful memories are avoided, they keep their disturbing power in your thoughts, feelings and in your body for many years. In therapy, and with EMDR, you can face the memory in a safe setting, so that you do not feel overwhelmed.

How can I learn more about EMDR?

You can go to emdria.org or childtrauma.com.

If you are a psychotherapist and interested in being trained in EMDR, please see my training and consultation section.

Progressive Counting

Progressive counting (PC) is a recently developed trauma treatment, based on the counting method, that is already supported by several published studies. As per the research and clinical experience to date, PC appears to be well tolerated by clients, as effective as EMDR, more efficient, and relatively easy for therapists to learn. Briefly, PC involves having the client visualize a series of progressively longer “movies” of the trauma memory while the therapist counts out loud (first to a count of 10, then 20, then 30, etc.). Dr. Greenwald is PC’s developer, and TI/CTI is the primary source of PC training internationally. Visit Trauma Institute's website.

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