EMDR--Taking Therapy to the Next Level

By 4 Therapy

Discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1987, EMDR is a form of therapy which has since developed into an extraordinarily effective method for many clients for whom talk therapy by itself was not enough.  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) initially used the pairing of a set protocol (specific questions and the client’s answers) with a series of bi-lateral eye movements which were led and guided by the therapist.  The latest evidence has indicated that other forms of bi-lateral stimulation are equally or more effective for some clients, including auditory and tactile methods.

Empirical and clinical evidence indicate that EMDR has been dramatically helpful in dealing with issues involving single-incident traumas (post-traumatic stress disorder), a history of ongoing, pervasive trauma (complex post-traumatic stress disorder), especially for adults who were abused or neglected as children, as well as test anxiety, performance anxiety, chronic pain, and opening up and pushing through areas where a client has felt stuck or blocked.

EMDR is not for everyone, and it is not a magical cure.  It is, however, a very powerful tool that a highly trained clinician can use to help the appropriate client achieve significant results quickly, and it appears to be effective in 80 to 90 percent of cases. EMDR targets memories of trauma stored in a part of the brain--the limbic system--which does not respond readily to talk therapy.  It can access processing and reasoning within the client which before seemed non-existent. 

EMDR typically reduces total length of therapy time by approximately 50 percent.  Many clients have described their experience as if they had been carrying around 1000 pounds of pain and that EMDR helped them to drop out 800 to 900 pounds of that pain, consequently opening up a whole new world to them.  Each client’s experience is unique, and no two clients will respond in exactly the same way.  The EMDR therapist can work as a primary or secondary therapist, so if the client already has a therapist who is not trained in EMDR, the two therapists can work collaboratively with the same client.

This is a very complex subject to cover in a few paragraphs.  This material is provided for informational and educational purposes only.  If you are interested in learning more about this treatment, I would be happy to discuss it with you and answer all of your questions. 

By Linda Laffey, MFT

About Linda Laffey, MFT...

Linda Laffey is a therapist based in Encino, CA. Laffey's approach to psychotherapy is based on the belief that each client is the best authority on himself or herself.  Her primary goals as a therapist are to work collaboratively with clients to determine treatment objectives, develop a treatment plan designed to help them achieve those objectives as quickly and effectively as possible, and empower them to know and trust their own inner strengths.

Click Here to learn more about Linda Laffey, MFT.


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