The greatest sources of our suffering
are the lies we tell ourselves.
- Bessel Van Der Kolk
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful and effective therapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that arise from stressful and distressing life events. EMDR can help process and release deeply stored and blocked traumatic material that is interfering with your mental and emotional health. It can reduce the intensity of negative emotions connected to distressing memories and thoughts, enabling you to access a better quality of life.
It was originally developed for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, the symptoms and emotional distress that can be the result of life experiences such childhood abuse, sexual assault, intimate family violence, and other traumatic events. In addition to the treatment of PTSD, EMDR can also be used to treat the psychological effects of “small traumas”, which are events that exceed our capacity to cope and cause a disruption in our emotional functioning. These distressing events are not inherently life-threatening, but can still manifest in distressing symptoms like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, and more. Even if you have not experienced any major traumatic life events, EMDR may still be a helpful tool for you in therapy.
To learn more about EMDR, please visit the EMDR International Association website: EMDRIA.org
How does it work?
The mind can heal from psychological trauma in much the same way as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body naturally begins to heal the wound. However if bacteria or a foreign object gets into it, the natural healing process is interfered with. Once it is cleaned out, the healing can resume again. The same is true for mental health. Your brain has a natural information processing system that moves towards wellness and health. If this system is blocked or thrown off balance by the impact of a disturbing event, it can lead to emotional distress.
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to engage the left and right side of the brain, via eye movements, sounds, or tapping, while thinking or talking about distressing life experiences. It is believed that engaging both hemispheres in this intentional manner accesses our brain’s natural adaptive information procesing system, similar to the effects of rapid eye movements during the REM stage of sleep, and helps memories become fully processed. As traumatic memories and images are processed and stored appropriately, they become less intense and the emotional response associated with them decreases.
I am trained in Attachment-Focused EMDR, which integrates attachment theory into the traditional practice of healing within EMDR framework to help clients with developmental trauma and attachment deficits. This make it especially helpful for people who have experienced childhood abuse or neglect, or who are adult children of alcoholics or dysfunctional families. Early attachment experiences stimulate the growth of neural pathways that shape an individual’s behaviors as well as their beliefs about themselves, others, and the world throughout their lifespan. Attachment-Focused EMDR is a powerful tool for treating disruptions in the thoughts, feelings, and relationships of individuals who have experienced non-secure attachment and relational trauma.
To learn more about Attachment-Focused EMDR, please visit the Parnell Institute website: ParnellEMDR.com
If you are interested in EMDR therapy and you live in Claremont, Upland, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora, Rancho Cucamonga, or one of the other surrounding cities in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire, or you live elsewhere in California and want telehealth services, contact me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation and learn more about how I can help.