A New Day Counseling Center

Deborah R Goodwin, MA, LMHC, NCC

 
LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR SERVING THE ORLANDO CENTRAL FLORIDA COMMUNITY

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful method of psychotherapy. To date, EMDR has helped an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.

How was EMDR developed?

In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.

How does EMDR work?

No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

What kind of problems can EMDR treat?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for PTSD or post traumatic stress, However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Performance anxiety
  • Complicated grief
  • Stress reduction
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Addictions
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Sexual and/or physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Pain disorders


For more information about EMDR please refer to Resources and Links on this website

Copyright © 2007 - 2019    Deborah R Goodwin, MA, LMHC, NCC