EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
The World Health Organization in it’s guidelines for the management of conditions that are specifically related to stress recommends EMDR therapy for children, adolescents and adults with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). The WHO guidelines state that:
“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardized procedures that include focusing simultaneously on (a) spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and (b) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.”
Unlike the only other WHO recommended treatment for PTSD, which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, “EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure or (d) homework.”
I have been a certified EMDR Practitioner and a member of the EMDR International Association since 2004.
The Gap Between What We Know and What We Can Act On
In my years of doing EMDR Therapy, I have found that EMDR addresses a fundamental problem that afflicts most human beings and can really slow down or even stall out progress in psychotherapy. This universal problem is the gap between our gut and our intellect. Put another way it is our difficulty in using the knowledge we have in our intellect to heal ourselves emotionally and stop doing things that are hurting us.
I have seen many clients with years of Psychoanalysis under their belt who could articulately explain their problems, but could not impact their lives with this insight. Such clients often make great progress with EMDR because they already have such a wealth of intellectual understanding. For them EMDR can provide the gut level connection that grounds their intellectual knowledge and really allows change.
On a brain level, conscious executive function is located in the prefrontal cerebral cortex. Emotional pain is located in the midbrain. A purely intellectual approach to treatment often fails to touch where you are really hurting. EMDR works to integrate the two parts of you. The way clients often describe it to me is “Certain things always sort of made sense to me, but now, I really understand. Things actually feel different.” EMDR is particularly strong at accelerating recovery from traumatic memories, whether those memories come from a onetime event or from repetitive childhood abuse. You don’t forget what happened to you, but the bad memories can lose their painful charge.
If you can reach Woodland Hills in the west San Fernando Valley, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to apply EMDR treatment to your individual concerns.
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