EMDR Therapy is a powerful therapy model that has helped over two million people of all ages with many types of psychological distress and emotional blocks that hinder optimal functioning. Think about a fear, traumatic event or “automatic” response you have to a particular memory from your past. Do you sometimes experience similar situations and have the same response every time?
Neurons that “fire together, wire together.”
So when we react to something that reminds us of an old memory, our brains are simply responding based upon how we have “wired” ourselves to that event or topic. Have your hands ever become clammy when you unexpectedly found a photo of an old friend or lover? What about breaking into a sweat when you know you have to get on a train or an airplane? Just as a mountain stream gradually builds a deeper and more structured path for itself, our brains reinforce how we respond to things. In these cases, we build electrochemical responses that become fixed (a neuropathway), and when past situations present themselves our brains take us down that path to the same place every time. If that place is anger, then we get angry. If that place is emotional pain, then we can feel a whole range of negative feelings. When we arrive in these places just on “autopilot,” we often don’t recognize it is the result of being “stuck.” That is, our brains have learned to respond in a particular way – and it can seem that we have no choice about it: We are simply riding along the “neuropathway.”
The EMDR Treatment Plan
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a very powerful tool the Center for Healthy Change uses to “rewire the brain.” You probably remember from your days in school how our brains have two sides that actually talk to each other? Well, EMDR uses the communication between left-side (intellectual information) and right-side (emotional information) to reprocess memories and release stuck neuropathways so that new ones can be built, offering more adaptive responses to past trauma and memories. When our brain is no longer in a traumatized state – when it is not responding with an old autopilot – intellectual and emotional information can be “processed” into functional feedback that helps us make sense of emotionally charged experiences. EMDR therapy is not traditional “talk therapy” focused on intellectually uncovering associations through dialogue. Instead, the process allows for the client and therapist “to get out of the way,” and let the client’s brain naturally and organically unpack negative associations and old body memories. This leads to breakthroughs where we find emotional relief. Clients report rather strong awakenings and realizations that increase their sense of well-being.
How does EMDR Work?
It’s science, not magic. The Center’s EMDR therapists use a variety of techniques to “bilaterally stimulate” the right (emotional) and left (intellectual) lobes of the brain. We use electronic devices such as the Audio Tac®, or Lapscan®, which include headphones and tactile tapping-pads (held by the client). Clients watch light patterns, listen to different sound patterns, and/or feel light vibrations that are synchronized from right to left. This bilateral stimulation is used to “rewire or re-pattern” the neuropathway blockages in our brain. Comfort and safety are attended to carefully because our certified therapists conduct a thorough assessment, develop rapport and establish safety protocols prior to using EMDR with a client. We also use EMDR to help clients achieve Peak Performance. EMDR can diminish and remove performance blocks and anxieties the same way it desensitizes traumatic stress reactions, because all these reactions occur in the same part of the brain. Once clients can move past certain “situation triggers,” they begin functioning well in areas previously “blocked.”
Learn more about EMDR! Please visit the EMDR International Association website, EMDRIA.org. If you are interested in scheduling an assessment to see if EMDR therapy can help you, please contact our New Client line at (760)-634-1704, ext. 1.