EMDR Therapy for Adults
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
When something distressing occurs, our brain works to heal naturally from these events. Sometimes, however, certain information gets “stuck” in parts of our brain that blocks the natural healing process. When our brain cannot move past these events we sometimes experience triggers, flashbacks or intrusive memories. This is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it is something that happens when the feelings or information from the past event cannot properly link up to current, healthy information that we may already have about ourselves, other people and the world.
For example: An incident might leave someone thinking and feeling like “I should have done something different” and EMDR can help them to believe “I did the best I could”, or “I can’t trust anyone” to “I can choose who to trust”. Instead of having those memories brought up in our mind when we are living our daily lives, it will be like those memories are in the back of our mental “filing cabinet”, able to be remembered, but only if we purposely try to access them. A shift in the way you are thinking and feeling about yourself, others and the world, can lead to less anxiety and feelings of sadness or despair, better relationships or more confidence.
What is EMDR?
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an evidence-based treatment. What does this mean? There is a lot of research about its effectiveness!
EMDR allows the natural healing process to resume by connecting the upsetting event, thoughts, feelings or body sensations with the adaptive information we need to effectively store the memory in our long-term memory, where we can recall it, but it is not intruding on our daily lives or being activated when we are not actively thinking of the event(s).
Is what I experienced considered trauma?
Everyone responds to situations differently. There is no rule as to what type of situation is considered traumatic and what is not. What is traumatic to one person may be upsetting but not feel traumatizing to another. Examples may include but are not limited to: accidents, medical issues or procedures, abuse, neglect, emotional gaslighting, divorce, infidelity, traumatic births, bullying, loss or injury of a loved one, just to name some.
What we look for to determine if a situation or experience was traumatic is how the individual is recovering or healing from that event. Our brain and body want to heal naturally and often times will. Sometimes some people need a little extra help to move toward healing than others and that is OK and there is nothing “wrong” with you if you need some help! Just like some people might heal ok from a fall on their own, other people might need physical therapy or even surgery.
Sarah Linder, LCSW-R is an EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist and can help you sort through these things to see if EMDR might be helpful for you. See more here
Check the EMDRIA website for a more detailed explanation and video. [trigger warning for the video]