EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing

EMDR in Addition to Talk Therapy

Traditionally the treatment for internal struggles (expressed as a variety of mental health and addiction issues) was long term talk therapy.  While this approach can be helpful in some ways, it can be ineffective for some of the more troubling aspects of an individual's presenting problem.  One of the reasons for this is that early and/or traumatic memory is often stored ineffectively in the more primitive areas of the brain.  Talk therapy is engaging the more advanced parts of the brain which work in logic and abstract thinking.  This advanced part cannot communicate with the primitive part.  This is what we see with someone who describes feeling this way: "I know in my mind what you are saying is true, but I cannot seem to believe it."

Jennifer Pereira, LPC, RD is trained in EMDR and uses EMDR in her practice, when appropriate, to enhance the therapeutic process for her clients.  If you are interested in learning more about EMDR and/or scheduling an appointment, please call 1(800)789-7703 or (817)584-5399 or go to the Contact Us page.

What is EMDR? What Can EMDR Do For Me?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes. 

Source: EMDR Institute 

What Can I Expect From an EMDR Session?

Each case is unique, but there is a standard eight phase approach that each clinician should follow. This includes taking a complete history, preparing the client, identifying targets and their components, actively processing the past, present and future aspects, and on-going evaluation. The processing of a target includes the use of dual stimulation (eye movements, taps, tones) while the client concentrates on various aspects. After each set of movements the client briefly describes to the clinician what s/he experienced. At the end of each session, the client should use the techniques s/he has been taught by the clinician in order to leave the session feeling in control and empowered. At the end of EMDR therapy, previously disturbing memories and present situations should no longer be problematic, and new healthy responses should be the norm.

Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth across the client's field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, "I survived it and I am strong."  Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.  Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

Source: EMDR Institute 

What Diagnosis Does EMDR Treat?

  • PTSD
  • History of Traumatic Events
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorder & Panic Disorder
  • Some Phobias
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder & Body Image Issues
  • Pain Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Anger Issues
  • Attachment Disorder
  • Marital Discourse

What Are The Risks?

Risks associated with EMDR are considered low. As with any form of psychotherapy, there may be a temporary increase in distress.

1. Distressing and unresolved memories may emerge

2. Some clients may experience reactions during a treatment session that neither they nor the administrating clinician may have anticipated, including a high level of emotion or physical sensation

3. Subsequent to the treatment session, the processing of incidents/material may continue, and other dreams, memories, feelings, etc., may emerge.

Source: EMDR Institute 

Contact us with any questions about eating and mental health issues. You or someone you know may be in need of outpatient eating disorder treatment.

Jennifer Pereira LPC, RD -  Counselor & Dietitian

HOw's your Relationship with Food?

1. Do you worry that you have lost control over how much you eat?

2. Do you make yourself sick (or use laxatives/exercise) if you feel uncomfortably full?

3. Do you currently suffer with or suffered in the past with eating issues?

4. Do you ever eat in secret?

5. Does your weight affect how you feel about yourself?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you are not satisfied with your current eating patterns, contact us for more information.