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EMDR

As a Level 1- and Level 2-trained therapist in EMDR, I use EMDR to treat trauma, from the "little t's" (like a perceived slight at work) to the "big t's" (like a near-death experience). So, what is it? Short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, EMDR is the treatment of choice for trauma. Developed to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the military, it follows the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which stipulates that, under normal circumstances, the human brain is capable of successfully processing and storing information. When we experience trauma, however, sometimes things can go haywire. When this happens, the mind stays in a state of constant activation around the trauma--think fight or flight--being triggered by associated stimuli the brain intercepts through the five senses. EMDR is a therapy that uses Bilateral Stimulation to engage both hemispheres of the brain to stop this activation from occurring, thereby eliminating disturbance around the trauma. The trauma is remembered and acknowledged for what it is, but the person no longer experiences symptoms around it.


One of the really neat things about EMDR--and why a lot seek it out--is the speed with which individuals can heal from a trauma. What may take months or years to resolve in traditional therapy, may only take a few sessions with EMDR.

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