EMDR for Treating Trauma

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and it is a well-researched and empirically-validated treatment for trauma. Trauma-specific therapies were developed because traditional psychotherapy was not shown to be terribly effective with trauma, and in many cases, was actually re-traumatizing the patient. Unfortunately, most therapists are not trained in treating trauma as it is a specialized area that is not covered comprehensively in graduate school. I chose to seek additional training to learn the various ways to effectively treat trauma, and learned how to do EMDR as part of that endeavor. I am a certified as a Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. 

On trauma and EMDR: When a person faces a threat, the "alarm system" in their brain is triggered. Under normal circumstances, after the threat is over, the brain is able to process the situation and the brain goes back to its normal functioning. However, during traumatic situations, the alarm center in the brain remains activated even after the trauma is over and the brain cannot return to normal. EMDR uses a set of protocols to access the traumatic memories (in a non-traumatic way) and process the trauma. One of the protocols involves eye movements similar to those seen during REM sleep when the brain is processing the events of the day. EMDR has been shown to be highly effective with trauma. 

 

Here is a video talking about EMDR from Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world's foremost trauma experts:

© 2018 Clary Tepper, Ph.D.