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A Summary of EMDR Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

By: Art Phipps (RCC, BCSMSSA Therapist)

EMDR is an evidence-based therapy for trauma. The method was created by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980s. EMDR therapy follows a structured approach to treating trauma. The treatment brings together Past Memories, Present Triggers, and Future Template. The essence of an EMDR session involves Identifying a past traumatic event, how the event is “stored” within a client’s mind and body as images, negative beliefs, emotions, and body sensations, Processing the event with a series of bilateral stimulations (eye movements, sounds, or touch) which stimulates the nervous system to “clear” the traumatic energy, followed by Installation of a positive belief, and Closure for every session. EMDR has been used effectively to treat trauma survivors including military veterans, natural disaster survivors, sexual abuse survivors, physical abuse survivors, and others. It’s greatest gift seems to be relief from the intensity with which traumatic events continue to hold victims in the state they experienced during the traumatic event. Following EMDR treatment many people say they are finally able to live fully in the present moment without being held captive by their past.

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