What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) ™ is a multi-phase approach to directly address the impact of a traumatic experience. Created in the 1980s by researcher Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., EMDR uses eye movement, tapping, or other sensory engagement on opposing sides of the body (referred to in EMDR as dual attention stimuli, or DAS) when visualizing a targeted traumatic experience. DAS engage multiple neuropathways in our brains to ensure we can directly reprocess traumatic experiences.
One of the main theories behind EMDR and other trauma treatment modalities is the Adaptive Information Processing Model. Research demonstrates our brains are designed to process information in the most adaptive way possible, and that the brain wants to heal after a trauma. When we experience trauma, our brain has a difficult time processing the information in a way that is adaptive and protective. After experiencing ongoing or single-incident trauma especially during childhood and stages of significant growth and brain development, we are left with a negative, maladaptive belief about ourselves, such as “I’m unlovable” or “I cannot trust myself.” During an EMDR reprocessing session, Lindsey works with clients to identify their underlying negative beliefs and help them engage the appropriate parts of the brain to reprocess the belief in a much more therapeutic, adaptive way.
Why Use EMDR?
Both personally and professionally, Lindsey has found EMDR to be the fastest way to reprocess trauma and allow for lasting change. By targeting specific memories and connecting them to negative beliefs and sensory experiences, Lindsey helps her clients engage the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that implicitly keeps us alive through our survival responses such as the fight, flight, freeze, and fawn response. The DAS is a unique way to engage unconscious parts of the brain in a way that traditional talk therapy does not allow.
Is EMDR Intense?
Because it allows us to directly target the root cause of our trauma symptoms, EMDR can sometimes feel overwhelming. Part of Lindsey’s job as your therapist would be to help prepare you for intensity, and collaborate with you to ensure we progress at a pace that is comfortable for you. Lindsey’s therapeutic style incorporates other evidence-based approaches that allow for more coping and emotional regulation strategies, that take a gentler approach to trauma healing.
Who Is EMDR Most Helpful For?
While anyone who has experienced a trauma can benefit from EMDR, clients who have tried other approaches (such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.) without success and who prefer a direct approach tend to benefit significantly from EMDR.