Switch to Accessible Site
The future depends onwhat you do in the present.
Woman being Free

EMDR FAQS

EMDR Frequently Asked Questions

What is EMDR?
Is EMDR effective?
How can EMDR help me?
What do you mean by "negative life event?"
EMDR Sounds Intense!
How many EMDR sessions will I need?
Can any therapist perform EMDR?



What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful comprehensive method of psychotherapy. It is a very effective treatment if you are suffering from a trauma, eg car accident, physical/sexual abuse, or combat fatigue.  It can be equally effective for helping you heal from other negative life experiences as well, eg loss of a relationship, loss of a job, death of a loved one.  EMDR uses a combination of both dual stimulus (left/right eye movements, left/right sound, or other left/right stimulus) at the same time you are also recalling a negative/disturbing memory or trauma.  As your therapist, I will offer help and guidance as you begin the process of working through the disturbing event.  While this process is taking place I have available a number of therapeutic techniques to assist you in resolving/healing from the disturbing memory/event.  This approach helps accelerate you through the healing process and the event seems to fade or lose its power.   

Is EMDR effective?
EMDR has undergone extensive research and controlled studies. It has been studied both in universities and by the Veterans Administration, as well as by other organizations. The results of these studies have shown EMDR to be a more comprehensive and rapid treatment procedure for trauma than the more commonly known therapies of cognitive behavioral, biofeedback, and the standard sit/talk therapy session. Due to this extensive research, EMDR has been shown to be an empirically supported method of treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by several nationally well known and respected organizations here in the US as well as around the world.

How can EMDR help me?
When a negative life event or trauma has occurred there are often a variety of symptoms you  might be experiencing.  Some of these symptoms can have an immediate impact on you if the event was severe enough.  These symptoms can include flashbacks, seeing the event happening over and over again in your mind, or you might find yourself afraid or avoiding things that remind you of the event.  You might be feeling anxious, sad or tearful when you least expect it, or feeling excessive guilt, or possibly having nightmares/bad dreams.  Sometimes the symptoms are less obvious, such as experiencing chronic depression or anxiety, or being chronically short tempered or excessively angry.  Other common problems you may be having are problems falling asleep or staying asleep.  Your concentration and focus can also be negatively impacted.

Individuals who have received EMDR as a way to treat the negative event/trauma have often shown a dramatic reduction in their symptoms. It can be an effective way to lessen or eliminate intrusive thoughts, painful emotions, fear and anger as well as a host of other negative symptoms. This can improve your sense of well-being and enjoyment in life.

Although it has helped countless people since its development it is not for everyone nor for every symptom. As a qualified trained treatment provider I can help determine if this would be a good fit for your treatment needs.

What is a "negative life event"?
There are obvious traumas a person may have undergone, such as being involved in a serious car accident, or having been sexually/physically assaulted/abused.  This can quickly lead to PTSD mentioned above and most individuals are aware of the impact this type of obvious trauma can have on them.

However, there are other less obvious traumas I am calling negative life events which also can cause havoc in a person's live. These are things such as the loss of a relationship, loss of a job (being fired or laid off), growing up in a home that was dysfunctional (possibly due to a parent's alcohol/drug abuse), or having been chronically teased/made fun of by peers.   These are only a few of many examples of what I mean by negative life events.  These less obvious traumas can continue to cause significant pain and dysfunction even years after the event is over.

If you have had an event in your life (no matter how long ago it happened) and it still hurts when you allow yourself to think about it, then this can be causing you problems in the here and now. EMDR may be able to help with this.

EMDR sounds intense
As your therapist, I will create a safe environment which will help you begin the process of moving through the negative thoughts and feelings that might come up during the session.  Your are always in control of whether to continue or to stop the session or when you want to take a break during the session.  You can also choose how much you want to share about what you are experiencing. During the session I can offer a number of different techniques to help safely guide you through the painful memories/events.

How many EMDR sessions will I need?
There are a number of variables that go into this answer.  How severe is the trauma or negative life event, how long did it go on for, what types of support systems do you currently have in place.  These and other questions must be answered during the history taking process.

EMDR can be a very effective and fast treatment in comparison to more traditional treatment methods but there are no hard and fast rules as to how long it takes.  Simple traumas or negative life events often can be resolved in about six sessions or less.  Multiple traumas or negative life events or prolonged exposure to the traumas or negative life events can take a much longer period of time to resolve.  However, the individual generally notices they will begin to feel better as they continue working through these issues.

Can any therapist perform EMDR?
It is recommended to check with the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) as they keep a list of therapists who have completed the training classes as well as those therapist who have gone on to become EMDR certified therapists.  The EMDR certified therapists have achieved the highest standards for training and for supervision in order to obtain this certification.   As a certified EMDR therapist I will be able to assist you in evaluating if EMDR would be helpful to you.