EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-basedtherapy based on the model Adaptive Information Processing.  This approach postulates that much of the struggle people experience after difficult events is due to unhelpful ways a disturbing experience was processed or because it was never fully resolved.  This compromises a person’s natural ability to work through these experiences in productive ways.  While traditional therapy works with emotions, beliefs and behaviors, EMDR targets mental pictures and body sensations as well. Through specific kinds of movements, sounds, touch, or vibrations, the body and brain initiate natural healing.  The end result includes alleviation of presenting symptoms, decreased reactivity to triggers and bodily disturbance, improved sense of self, and new belief systems that are helpful and positive.

“When a disturbing event occurs, it seems to get locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, and feelings. Since the experience is locked there, it continues to be triggered whenever a reminder comes up. The [bilateral stimulation] we used in EMDR seems to unlock the nervous system and allow your brain to process the experience.  The important thing to remember is that it is your own brain that will be doing the healing and that you are the one in control.”          -Francine Shapiro (founder)

The application of EMDR in the field has been tremendous, with numerous studies reporting effectiveness in relieving the distress of trauma.  In addition, EMDR has had other life-enhancing uses such as: eliminating phantom limb pain, reducing substance use urges, and developing internal resources for coping.  EMDR has also been used to improve performance for public speakers and athletes.  If you would like more information, please visit the national website at: http://www.emdria.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=56.  I am also happy to provide more detailed descriptions to anyone interested in this form of therapy.


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Tania Henderson
M.A., L.P.C., N.C.C.