Anchor Light Therapy Collective is excited to announce that we now offer EMDR therapy!
EMDR is now one of the most well-researched psychotherapy treatments for trauma and (in a recent meta-analysis) has found to be the most effective and efficient of the well-established trauma treatments.
Using EMDR The therapist guides the client in concentrating on a troubling memory or emotion while creating bi-lateral stimulation movements (something you can see, touch or hear which moves back and forth). These bi-lateral movements, which occur naturally during dreaming, seems to speed the client’s movement through the healing process.
Maybe it is hard for you to connect with others, remain focused or perhaps you are easily startled by reminders of your trauma such as loud noises or smells. Though the EMDR journey, those responses to reminders (often referred to as triggers) can become neutralized. This means, you will always have your past, but when the uncomfortable reminders come up, they no longer have a strong mental or physical effect. Internal and mental responses will be softer and more manageable. Trauma can also cause us to form negative and untrue beliefs about ourselves. Though work with a trauma-informed therapist, the root of these beliefs can be identified and corrected. Meaning you will re-connect with the real, empowered self.
Traumatic/distressing memories are considered impaired encoding in our brain’s neural networks. Because traumatic memories are not integrated (stored) with positive experiences, they cannot be coded in our brains in an adaptive, helpful way. These memories/experiences get “stuck” leaving us to carry these memories with us until – both emotionally and physically we find a safe and adaptive way to store these with a trauma-informed therapist.
With bilateral stimulation, information processing is now enhanced. The bi-laterals help us draw attention to new stimuli in a safe space while processing these memories. This allows the brain to determine there is no present threat when reminded of the trauma, and therefore “re-codes” the memory as less emotionally and physically distressing.
When painful memories are avoided, they keep their disturbing power. However, a flashback or nightmare can feel as upsetting and overwhelming as the original experience, yet not be helpful. In therapy, and with EMDR, you can face the memory in a safe setting, so that you do not feel overwhelmed. Then you can get through it and move on.
The eight phases of EMDR therapy include:
The client and therapist build rapport and trust. The therapist and client review past events, current concerns, and future needs, and identify target events for processing.
To prepare for coping with any distress that may arise during the desensitization phase, the person in therapy selects a safe-place image that can provide stabilization and self-control as needed.
With the distressing event in mind, the client’s negative beliefs about himself or herself are recorded, evaluated, and measured. In contrast, a desirable positive belief is selected, and this belief is measured to determine how true it feels to the client. Physical symptoms are recorded as well.
Bilateral stimulation, in the form of eye movements, tones, or taps are used to reprocess the distressing event. The therapist will break periodically to check in on the client’s level of disturbance.
The selected positive cognition is the target of the bilateral stimulation in this phase. The therapist will check in periodically to see how true the desired belief feels to the client.
Any residual physical tension or distress indicates that the event is not fully processed, and the bilateral stimulation continues, if necessary.
This phase will occur at the end of a session, regardless of whether or not the memory is fully processed. A complete sequence of EMDR therapy can take several sessions, and it is important to reach stabilization before the session ends. Closure can include guided imagery or discussion of the session.
The next session begins here, to evaluate and measure the level of disturbance and the accuracy of the targeted positive belief. If the target remains unresolved, the session will resume with desensitization, phase 4.
The best practice for EMDR is to meet with your therapist for weekly sessions. While it is healing, trauma work can be difficult and we want to make sure you are as supported as possible. Meeting weekly also means we can move through the work faster and meet your therapeutic goals in a smaller timeframe.
We are currently accepting new clients for EMDR therapy! To set up a free consultation to see if EMDR is the right fit for your healing, contact us today!