Three Reasons I Love Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
We are living in an age where there are a many different ways to reduce suffering from anxiety, depression, and trauma. Many of these have led to positive results and allowed people to take back their lives. One of these approaches, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (also known as EMDR), has become increasingly popular and proven to be effective in treating for trauma and PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, eating disorders, as well as other issues. But why EMDR?
EMDR was discovered and further developed in 1987. Since then, research has shown the impact it’s had reducing symptoms of PTSD. As the impact has grown and EMDR has become more popular and trusted by many mental health practitioners and clinicians, it continues to be used as a way of treating different disorders and issues such as anxiety, phobias, depression, eating disorders, and dissociation.
For those considering EMDR and therapy, I list a few reasons why I use EMDR, why I chose EMDR, and why I love to use it in my sessions.
When most people think of therapy, they think of a therapist asking a LOT of questions and a person telling (or retelling and retelling and retelling) their life story. Sometimes this can make things seem worse, especially for someone dealing with extreme trauma that is painful to discuss repeatedly. EMDR focuses on “processing” through the memory at the client’s pace. It is even possible for a client to process through a memory without really telling the therapist about the details. When working with clients and using EMDR, I focus first and foremost on helping to self-soothe and regulate through learning different “grounding skills”. Dealing with painful memories can be overwhelming, and it’s important for my client’s to feel confident in their ability to stop and calm themselves during the process when they feel they need to. There are many different ways to do this, and I review and teach many different skills before beginning the different phases of EMDR—which brings me to my next point.
EMDR follows a protocol and can be as restricted and focused as necessary, or as expanded as the client feels able. Although sometimes we can’t predict where our mind will go with the memories we process, the structure of EMDR is predictable and we never move forward until the client has stated they feel ready. With these phases and the different steps, both the client and therapist both know what to expect and where they will move forward, and how to get there. This can help the client who might be feeling anxiety if they aren’t sure what to expect.
As a therapist, my client’s safety, mental health, and ability to heal are of the utmost importance. I know how important it is see results when we are helping clients, and I know how important it is that I am knowledgeable in what I am using to help my clients—I also know how important it is to believe in what I use! When I attended my EMDR training, I initially came to training skeptical and wanting answers about how this could help my clients. I left with my mind changed and results showing that this was effective. Working in the training on different memories of my own, I was able to work through the negative emotions, lay them to rest and notice a difference in my own response and the way I held the memories after the “targeting”. I believe in the power of EMDR to help with treating issues that can hold a client back from living the life they have always wanted, and I enjoy seeing the positive progress that my clients have made through EMDR.
If you feel that EMDR could help you, or if you have questions about how it works and what it looks like, reach out today by e-mailing us from this site or calling 573-328-2288 and we can discuss any questions you may have. I would love to help you take back your life!
Stephenie Carlson, MSW, LCSW is one of the therapists at Aspire Counseling, a Columbia, MO counseling center. She specializes in helping clients who have been through traumatic stress, are recovering from an eating disorder or who identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Stephenie values partnering with clients to help them achieve their own dreams and believes in the potential of each and every client that walks through her door. She’s been fully trained in EMDR and loves using it in sessions as well as raising awareness about how effective EMDR can be in helping people overcome things that are holding them back. Stephenie is currently going through the certification process for EMDR. Stephenie is currently accepting a limited number of new clients.