- Do you suffer from past trauma?
- Are you considering EMDR?
- How can EMDR Therapy help you get past your trauma?
- Why should you choose EMDR Therapy with me?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Evidence suggests that EMDR is one of the most effective modalities for treating trauma and PTSD. The technique was developed to help trauma survivors reduce the disturbance they feel whenever reminded of the traumatic experience. The inventor of this technique, Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., discovered in 1988 that when she moved her eyes back-and-forth bilaterally while thinking of a disturbing memory that the level of disturbance that memory created for her was reduced.
How EMDR was developed. Dr. Shapiro was interested in helping combat veterans overcome their combat related PTSD. Therefore, she began to experiment with this technique in the VA hospital where she worked, and she further developed and refined the technique. At first, she called it EMD for Eye Movement Desensitization. However, as she learned more about the process she was developing, she recognized that a large part of the desensitization process included reviewing, re-experiencing, and reframing the past traumatic experience and its triggers. Therefore, she changed the name to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The technique was further developed and refined in the 1990s as Dr. Shapiro trained therapists to use the technique and as interest increased in doing research on its effectiveness.
My EMDR training. I was trained in the EMDR technique in 1992 and 1993 by Dr. Francine Shapiro. I completed her Level 1 and Level 2 courses, and I was then trained by Dr. Shapiro to be a facilitator (assistant trainer) in her training courses. Given my interest in pain control, I have authored several articles on EMDR for pain control and a therapist manual on this topic. I have used EMDR effectively over the years to assist patients in recovering from PTSD, to eliminate certain phobias, diminish anxiety, and in the control of chronic pain. I have found EMDR to be most effective with extended therapy sessions and when it is used along with clinical hypnosis and good talk therapy. I completed a 50-hour EMDR International Association Certified EMDR intensive refresher course in 2020.
Accelerated Information Processing. EMDR is a unique mind-body therapy technique for the accelerated reprocessing of memories associated with past traumatic experiences. Since its invention by Francine Shapiro in 1989, an impressive body of research has accumulated evidence of its effectiveness in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. There has also been research on its applications to the treatment of other anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and addictions.
Modern Brain Science. The most accepted theory to date of EMDR is based on a cognitive information processing model integrated with modern brain science. According to this theory:
- Neural networks in the brain storing frozen undigested memories prevent the trauma survivor from living fully in the present.
- These neural networks keeping the past alive need to be reprocessed to free the trauma survivor from this “prison in the brain and body”.
- The EMDR technique targets and activates the neural networks in the brain in which traumatic memories are “frozen” in undigested form.
- The EMDR reprocessing connect these neural pathways with neural pathways containing adaptive present-day information.
The EMDR technique is not talk therapy. The EMDR technique is not a form of talk therapy. EMDR constitutes a precise and mechanistic protocol that is implemented in phases. The sequential phases of the EMDR technique are:
- Conducting a thorough initial assessment
- Providing the necessary information to prepare you for the EMDR process.
- Helping you to acquire self-care and self-soothing skills
- Setting up the psychological modalities we are going to work with
- Reprocessing the targeted memories and the associated memories that emerge
- Reframing your old negative beliefs
- Installing alternative positive beliefs to update your “neural networks”
- Checking the effectiveness of our work in reducing levels of disturbance
EMDR is not Hypnosis. The question of whether EMDR is a type of hypnosis is frequently asked. Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR’s originator, was adamant in asserting that EMDR is not Hypnosis. I agree. Here are the key differences:
- Hypnosis is a state of relaxed concentration. The critical factor of the mind is suspended, and selective thinking is established to increase suggestibility.
- During EMDR, your critical thinking remains active. Whatever comes to your mind during the EMDR bilateral eye movement sets is accepted and processed. During EMDR, you are encouraged to “let whatever happens happen”.
- During EMDR, I limit the use of suggestions. Memories associated with past traumas are reviewed and re-experienced to reprocess limiting critical ideas about yourself associated with each sensitizing traumatic event. The goal is for a realistic and functional self-evaluation to be completely believable at the end of your treatment.
- During Hypnosis, I administer suggestions. Therapeutic suggestions are given in a form that will be acceptable to your Unconscious Mind.
- In Intensive Hypnotherapy, memories are reviewed and re-experienced. However, I give you therapeutic suggestions to reframe your limiting critical ideas about yourself associated with each sensitizing traumatic event reviewed.
EMDR Therapy with me. As your EMDR therapist, I will support you to facilitate your reprocessing of everything significant that comes up. There are no concerns about whether you can be hypnotized. The EMDR process was likened by Dr. Shapiro to looking out the window of a train and watching the events that you experienced in the past go by. When you arrive at your destination, you feel differently and are no longer inappropriately disturbed by what happened to you. The goal is to get past your past.
EMDR should be integrated with talk therapy. EMDR by itself is not sufficient to effectively help people recover from trauma. Therefore, I include Talk Therapy in our EMDR sessions. However, we do not do talk therapy during the application of the EMDR protocol because this would interfere with reprocessing the material. We do Talk Therapy before and after the EMDR portion of the session.
EMDR should also be integrated with other complementary therapy techniques. Because the effects of trauma are complex, I selectively employ other therapeutic techniques along with EMDR. These include:
- Teaching you to use appropriate self-soothing techniques to improve distress tolerance.
- Using waking state reframing.
- Using Hypnosis.
- Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- Using relaxation and guided imagery techniques.
- Using Analytical Hypnosis and Hypnotic Regression techniques.
An adequate Initial Evaluation must be conducted. Before EMDR is used, we need to make sure that you are stable enough to tolerate the strong feelings that are likely to come up during EMDR sessions. This is determined during the initial assessment. I never jump in and start doing EMDR with a new client just because a referral for EMDR has been made. Also, before implementing the EMDR protocol, I will train you to use appropriate self-soothing resources. EMDR is not indicated for every client who believes they have experienced trauma.
EMDR Therapists need to be well trained and experienced. Because of the complexity of the method, to be effective and for client safety, it is essential that therapists who practice EMDR have formal training and supervision in its use. Additionally, EMDR should only be practiced by therapists with solid training and experience in treating trauma. I have been successfully treating patients with trauma using EMDR and Hypnosis since the early 1990’s. I was thoroughly trained in EMDR by its originator, Dr. Francine Shapiro, in 1992 and 1993.
Extended sessions are necessary for EMDR to be safe and effective. EMDR cannot be safely and effectively practiced in a typical 45 to 55-minute session. At least two to three hours should be allocated. In my clinical experience, EMDR has proven to be most effective when extended sessions (2 to 4-hours per session) incorporating EMDR, hypnosis and talk therapy are scheduled over several consecutive days. Insurance does not cover this type of extended session. Therefore, when I use EMDR, it is a concierge service in which you must pay out of pocket.
Schedule a Free 15-Minute Consult HERE
If you are suffering from the persistent effects of trauma, and wish to be evaluated for EMDR therapy, you can sign up for a free 15-minute consult. This will be with my personal assistant Suzan Siegel. If appropriate, after your consultation with Suzan, you will be scheduled for a second 15-minute consultation with me to evaluate the suitability of this type of therapy for you. These consultations with Suzan and me are complimentary and free of charge.
SCHEDULE YOUR FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULT HERE
- The effects of trauma are complicated.
- EMDR is an effective therapy technique for reducing traumatic memories.
- EMDR is not talk therapy or hypnosis.
- EMDR is a brain science based Accelerated Information Processing therapy.
- EMDR should be integrated with both talk therapy and hypnosis.
- EMDR Therapists need to be well trained and experienced.
- Before initiating EMDR, an appropriate initial assessment should be conducted.
- Extended sessions should be scheduled for EMDR therapy.
- EMDR therapy can be done virtually or in person, however, in-person extended sessions are preferable.
SCHEDULE YOUR FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULT HERE
MY PUBLICATIONS ON EMDR
Eimer, B.N. (Winter, 1993). EMDR approaches for treating chronic pain. EMDR Network Newsletter. 3(3).
Eimer, B.N. (January, 1993). Psychological desensitization and reprocessing of chronic pain with EMDR. EMDR Network Newsletter. 3(1).
Eimer, B.N. (1995). EMDR for Pain Management. A Clinical Guide. Lake Worth, FL: B.N. Eimer Publications. www.BruceEimer.com