Understanding EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) / Program with Dr. Paula Nelson

Whenever you have a disturbing incident occur, it is stored in the brain in a specific way.  We either feel the event may happen again at any moment or we feel the event is still occurring.  This is commonly referred to as PTSD.  When someone is experiencing these symptoms, it can be very debilitating, and the person may be referred to a therapist who does EMDR.

EMDR takes the “memory” causing the distress and places it in a more functional part of the brain where the person can begin to recognize the event as something that happened in the past.  The events that were triggering the brain into over-reacting no longer will have that effect on them.  They can now look at the situation more rationally.

An EMDR therapy session is typically 60 – 90 minutes long.  It is considered “evidence-based treatment” and covered by most insurances.  The number of sessions can vary depending on the type of problem, how long the trauma has been with the person and the specific problem itself.  During the session, the therapist will have the patient relive the traumatic event which triggers the experience.  However, during the session, the eye movements will be guided by the therapist who helps the patient process the trauma in a different way leading to a beneficial outcome.  Research is showing that persons receiving EMDR show progress in managing their PTSD.

When EMDR has been successfully completed, the client may feel safe for the first time in a very long time.  The events causing the distress will now be remembered as something that happened a long time ago allowing the person to have more emotional energy to spend in the present without feeling those “pending disaster” emotions of the past.

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