Trauma & PTSD
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. A client-centered approach that allows the clinician to facilitate the client’s healing mechanism by stimulating the innate information processing system in the brain. The 8 phase approach to treatment seeks to address past disturbances, present triggers, and future anticipatory triggers. Through EMDR, resolution of traumatic and disturbing adverse life experiences is accomplished with a unique standardized set of procedures and clinical protocols which incorporate dual focus of attention and alternating bilateral visual, auditory and/or tactile stimulation. This process activates the components of the memory of disturbing life events and facilitates the resumption of adaptive information processing and integration.
In 1987, Dr. Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. discovered EMDR as she was processing a traumatic event in her life. As she thought of the event, she noticed spontaneous back and forth rapid eye movement. From that, Shapiro’s hypothesis evolved into the Adaptive Information Processing Model that is the construct that explains how EMDR works. This model purposes that old disturbing memories are stored in temporary memory storage, implicit memories in the form of images, emotions, thoughts and body sensations and are linked to each other beyond the client’s awareness. When triggered in the present, the memory is activated, and the isolated disturbing memory continues to present distress in the patient until it is processed or metabolized. Through processing with EMDR, the client processing the event and memory through bilateral stimulation and the material has been metabolized and no longer creates a disturbance. The client has worked through the trauma and reached a new adaptive level of functioning.