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EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapy modality that was initially developed to treat the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  PTSD can occur when one experiences an event that threatens her/his sense of safety and well-being in the world.  A trauma can be a specific event such as a sexual assault or a violent attack, but it can also include many other things such as chronic abuse, an illness or injury, ongoing pain, or the loss of a loved one.  Symptoms of PTSD might include things like having flashbacks of a specific experience, avoidance of people or situations that might remind you of a particular event, or feeling “hyperaware” of potential dangers around you.  When you experience a trauma, it often feels as though you are living that experience repeatedly.  The memories of traumatic events become “stuck,” which makes it difficult to store them away mentally, as you would any other event in your daily life.  Instead of filing those memories away and remembering them when you choose to do so, they become easily triggered by certain sounds, smells, or images.

How Does EMDR Help?

EMDR works by helping clients to reprocess or re-experience those traumatic memories so that they can be stored away in a less emotionally sensitive area of the brain, and subsequently less distressing.  During a psychotherapy session, the therapist will use Dual Attention Stimulation (DAS).  This means that you will be asked to focus on a specific memory, bodily sensation, or feeling while experiencing external bilateral stimulation.  Bilateral stimulation simply means that both sides of your body are being activated, generally through eye movements, but this can also be done in a variety of other ways.

While EMDR has traditionally been used to treat trauma, it has also been successfully used to treat may other conditions such as panic, phobias, anxiety, eating disorders, and eating disorders.  It can be used with individuals of any age, and can certainly be adapted to treat children.  It is an integrative treatment, which means that it can also be used in conjunction with other types of psychotherapy.  Dr. Kiel is trained in EMDR and has used it with great success in the past.  If you are interested in learning more about EMDR, please visit www.emdria.org.

How Can I Ask Questions About EMDR?

Dr. Jenna Kiel specializes in EMDR with The LodeStone Center. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or have questions about whether or not this might be a possibility for you, please contact Dr. Kiel through her staff page here.

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