Clinical Mental Health Counselor








EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro Ph.D. in1988.  Click Here for Interview with Francine Shapiro PhD.  Tens of thousands of licensed mental health therapists in thirty eight countries have now been trained. Because a clinical background is necessary for the effective application of EMDR, workshops are limited to mental health professionals who are licensed or certified to provide treatment.

EMDR is a therapeutic process which clears troubling emotions and negative thinking linked to trauma and other painful past experiences. EMDR also seems to be successful, in helping people who are stuck in non-productive behavior patterns such as eating patterns, and smoking. EMDR is not a cure for addiction, but can reduce the impact of certain triggers, making it easier to stay sober or clean. EMDR therapy helps clients replace anxiety and fear with positive images, emotions and thoughts.

The EMDR technique is most effective when used in conjunction with other traditional methods of therapy in treating these and many other emotional disorders.

The Session:

During an EMDR session the client focuses on a memory while making rapid eye movements and/or listening to stereo sound.

To make it easier to follow, a light is used which moves from side to side at a comfortable pace. Or the client follows the gentle movement of therapist's fingers side to side. Even simple tapping on the palm of one hand, then the other will stimulate the effect. Adding stereo music or rhythmic sound is often helpful as well.

The target memory may first become more complete, with an increase in the emotional content or intensity, or the memory may fade. Sometimes the feelings fade with no memory at all. The way EMDR proceeds is unique to each person.

It is also helpful to slow down the EMDR process by incorporating the gentle elements of Somatic Experiencing®. This allows the memory to be more easily processed, with less overwhelm.

Regardless of how EMDR progresses, the unpleasant feelings and negative thinking are replaced by more positive feeling and thinking. When this is successfully completed the person will remember the event, will understand and know that it happened but will no longer be haunted by it or disturbed by the memory.

The Experts Speak Out:

  • "EMDR is a powerful tool for the treatment of traumatic stress reactions including PTSD. It has been utilized with remarkable effects in both the acute and prolonged versions of traumatic stress." Jeffrey Mitchell, Ph.D., President, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Ellicot City, Maryland, USA

  • " Controlled studies of victims of Vietnam combat, rape, molestation, accident, catastrophic loss and natural disaster indicate that the method is capable of a rapid desensitization of traumatic memories, including a cognitive restructuring and a significant reduction of client symptoms (e.g., emotional distress, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares. There are more controlled studies to date on EMDR than on any other method used in the treatment of trauma. A literature review indicated only six other controlled clinical outcome studies (excluding drugs) in the entire field of PTSD (Solomon, Gerrity, and Muff, 1992).

  • "This has all the indications of being a major new resource in behavior therapy." Joseph Wolpe, MD., Originator of Systematic Desensitization.

  • "EMDR has shown that it can be a very effective treatment model of PTSD." Bessel A. van der Kolk, Ph.D.

  • "EMDR is by far the most effective and efficient treatment we have ever used with dissociative episodes, intrusive memories, and nightmares with Vietnam combat veterans." Howard Lipke, Ph.D., Former Director, Stress Disorder Treatment Unit, North Chicago Veterans Administration Medical Center.



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