Do you have experiences that are causing you problems in your present life? Do you have emotions, beliefs, or body sensations that are pushing you in the wrong direction? Do you have experiences from your recent or long-ago past that made you feel worthless and useless that affected your ability to have a fulfilling and successful life? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective to relieve many types of psychological stress.
We will work together to discover the events from the past that created the problem or present situations that cause distress. Negative emotions, behaviors, and feelings are resolved through sets of eye movements that desensitize you from these disturbing elements. You can identify, process through, and desensitize. Fear, anger, and other negative feelings are replaced by positive beliefs. You are desensitized to stressful events and it is reprocessed in a way that allows you to feel more in control and positive about your life. EMDR strengthens these positive self-beliefs and the body sensations and negative feelings associated with the problem will disappear.
Every person has different needs for EMDR treatment. Some people can jump right into EMDR with no problem. Others may need to work on feeling safe enough to proceed by using neurofeedback before going into the deeper issues. Treatment focuses on desensitizing the past memories that are contributing to your problem, processing through the present situations that are disturbing, and developing positive thoughts for a happier future.
While we do not understand how EMDR works to change the brain, there appears to be a correlation to the way the brain processes information during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Whatever stressful situation caused you to become upset initially gets played over and over in your mind as if you are experiencing the disturbing situation for the first time. Your brain gets stuck in a loop of anxiety. This anxiety whirlpool has an on-going negative impact on your human relationships and how you generally view the world. EMDR therapy reprograms your neural pathways so that routine brain functions resume. The stressful event is remembered without the emotional baggage constantly clouding your judgment.
An example might be someone living in the Santa Monica, California area who experiences an earthquake where he was woken up in the middle of the night at age 10. From that point on, his sleep patterns became distressed and erratic, preventing him from going into deep sleep. He has not had a good night’s sleep in years. He makes rash decisions because his mind is hazy from lack of sleep. His choices then tumble into place like dominoes. His financial decision to buy a house in a neighborhood like Manhattan Beach, where the effects of earthquakes are rarely felt, overcomes his ability to accurately assess his financial situation. Manhattan Beach turns out to be too expensive, so he winds up in financial straits. The financial stresses lead to heightened anxiety in his household. His wife wants children, but because they cannot afford it, her unhappiness eventually leads to a breakdown of their intimacy and finally, divorce. This is exactly the sort of scenario that can be avoided with proper EMDR treatment.