What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy method for clients who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post-traumatic stress, pain, even tinnitus and many other emotional problems. EMDR is a therapy method, which can bring fast and long-lasting help for many different kinds of problems.

EMDR was founded by the American psychotherapist Francine Shapiro in 1987. In the beginning it was developed as a method to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is a lot of scientific research, which proves its positive effects.

The method is based on bilateral stimulation, which repeatedly activates the left and right sides of the brain. The stimulation releases difficult emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. The therapy stimulates the mind and body connection, to release the blockages and reconnect the “trapped” experiences. After the painful emotions are processed through certain eye-movement patterns, the client feels freed from the problem.

What happens in the EMDR session?

An EMDR session begins with the therapist guiding the client to describe the problem that is to be treated. If the client feels unable to talk much about the problem, that is also accepted. The client is asked to imagine the problematic thoughts and feelings in his mind, the therapist and client then work together to redirect the eye movements that accompany the briefly recalled experience. With the therapy of the eye movements (repeated a couple of times in the session) the accompanying emotions are released. The stimulation with the eye movements continue until the emotions are neutral and the event is associated with positive thinking and feelings.

How long does the EMDR therapy last?

Typically, an EMDR session in my practice lasts 50-60 minutes. The length of the session can be individually defined depending on the client’s needs. Sometimes only a set of a few sessions is enough. On average a client needs 5 to maximum 10 sessions once a week depending on the problem.

I combine EMDR with client-centered talk therapy and thought diaries. We will discuss a plan of treatment so that you will know what to expect. In the beginning of each psychotherapy I need to evaluate whether or not EMDR is the suitable choice of therapy for the client.

Is EMDR treatment uncomfortable?

Generally not. Sometimes the treatment can evoke strong emotions or sensations during a session. This is normal, since the technique works on the negative feelings which are brought into the client’s awareness. However, these unpleasant feelings are brief and they will soon leave you when the process is completed.

What happens between EMDR sessions?

Between the sessions, it is helpful for the client to keep a diary in which he records any unexpected thoughts or feelings. He or she can then bring their notes to the next session. The diary can help the therapist to know whether any adjustments in therapy are needed.

After the session, a strong sense of relief, a feeling of openness or even euphoria may occur. These kinds of feelings are normal and they only show that the relief has happened.

EMDR is not Hypnosis

During an EMDR session, the client is awake and in control all the time. The healing with this method is much faster than with hypnotherapy. Like hypnosis, EMDR seems to work with the unconscious mind, bringing into consciousness the repressed thoughts and feelings that must be experienced again in order to release their hold on the client.

How do I know whether EMDR is right for me?

I am a certified EMDR therapist and before we begin with any form of therapy, I will discuss with you all the relevant factors in order to decide if it useful for you to start with this particular method. I will evaluate these factors in your specific case to consider if the EMDR technique would be the right way to help you in your particular situation and history or if another method would be more suitable.


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