Frequently Asked Questions
Is EMDR evidence-based?
Yes. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment used for recovering from past trauma. There are several studies on the effectiveness of EMDR since its introduction in the late 1980s. Francine Shapiro began using EMDR for relieving emotional pain caused by traumatic memories.
Today it is recommended as effective treatment for trauma in the Practice Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association, as well as those of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Is EMDR safe?
Yes. EMDR is safe and proven effective when practiced with a trained and certified Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Treatment can last over several weeks to months depending on the severity of the case. Re-visiting disturbing memories can be an intense experience. It is important to communicate with your counselor about any thoughts or feelings that may put you in danger.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR aids in processing disturbing memories that are difficult to move past emotionally. Bilateral stimulation through auditory or visual focus, like alternating sounds in each ear or watching the back and forth movement of an object, help dull or sharpen routines in the mind. At the same time the therapist prompts you to focus on a specific memory, they guide your bilateral movements.
The idea is to reach embedded memories from the past trauma and witness them from a different point of view. When you can connect your logical, “adult” brain with your childhood memory, your brain is able to let go of the pain of negativity around the event.
What are the side effects of EMDR?
Working through thoughts and feelings during this time can be uncomfortable and emotionally painful. EMDR helps move disturbing thoughts and feelings through the grieving process to get to resolution or closure. Side effects during the weeks of treatment can bring up disturbing memories, create vivid dreams, and cause lightheadedness.
What are the benefits of EMDR?
EMDR can help process disturbing memories that prevent you from living to your full potential. Constant intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression can all be relieved with EMDR. Unlike other treatments, EMDR does not require work outside of sessions.
Is EMDR Hypnosis?
No. EMDR is different than hypnosis. Hypnotherapy requires a trance-like state while with EMDR, you are focused on your thoughts. They both have the same intention to change thoughts and feelings based in the subconscious.
Can EMDR help with addiction?
Yes. EMDR can be a valuable tool in treating addiction. Many addictions are the brain’s way of soothing pain from trauma. Getting to the root of the addiction problem can greatly help in recovery from substance abuse, compulsive gambling, internet porn, hoarding, or any obsessive behaviors.
Is EMDR therapy helpful for the first responder community?
The first responder community faces trauma every day. Even trained professionals need a healthy way to process traumatic scenes they witness and life-threatening situations they put themselves in.
EMDR can assist with a wide variety of challenges developed from unresolved trauma. Witnessing a traumatic incident can cause PTSD symptoms like depression and anxiety.
EMDR is a gentle way to address trauma as the client does not have to share every detail of their experience(s) to gain relief.
Is EMDR a substitute for medication?
Medication does not resolve the root of your problems. EMDR focuses on reprocessing dysfunctionally stored memories and once processed the emotional and physiological pain associated with those memories will become processed in a healthy way. I am not a medical doctor, any questions regarding medication should be directed to your doctor.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule.
- Suspected child abuse, disabled/dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may be needed.
All Are Welcome
It is my priority to be empathetic to your worldview.
EMDR is a safe and effective treatment for all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and races.