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EMDR Therapy

In order to help flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection, I will be offering sessions through a secure videoconferencing platform that is very easy to use. We can also talk on the phone.

Using EMDR has been equally effective online as in person. You will use recorded sound through earbuds, and I will guide you through the process.

Natural Flow EMDR

I learned how to do EMDR after realizing that talk therapy alone was taking a very long time and did not adequately deal with trauma. My clients would talk about their trauma experiences, but the symptoms they were suffering from weren’t changing. In 1998, I signed up to learn EMDR with Laurel Parnell. This involved mastering an eight-step protocol, which was aimed at helping clients integrate, assimilate and reframe their memories and resolve their symptoms. After I learned and mastered the protocol, I began to feel this training still was not enough to cover all the scenarios I was encountering in the office with my clients. To that end, I began to take as much advanced training as I could and spent many years traveling to different cities to learn from the masters.

No one really understands why EMDR works as well as it does, but one theory involves the use of bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation simply means alternately using the left and right side of the brain by moving the eyes back and forth or by using bilateral sounds. During EMDR, you will experience this bilateral stimulation as you simultaneously focus on your bodily sensations, memories, emotions and thoughts. This helps your right brain (where trauma is stored) integrate with your left brain, where logic and language reside.

How Does EMDR Therapy Help?

Trauma usually results from being abused or witnessing abuse, however any experience that results in feeling powerless, afraid and hopeless also qualifies. The Left brain knows you did the best you could, but the Right brain is judging you for not having done enough, even though you were only a little kid (or even a terrified adult). Since trauma is stored in the non-verbal Right brain, you probably don’t have access to Left brain information that you need to heal. Bilateral stimulation is thought to integrate both sides of the brain, bringing together what you logically know with the traumatic experience. The result can be relief or even joy. We can’t change the past, but we can change our internalized responses to it.

EMDR therapy is not talk therapy in the traditional sense; rather, it utilizes mindfulness and other strategies  to enable you to talk about and explore trauma so that you’re not retraumatized by the experience. The therapist asks questions to keep things moving –  i.e., what do you notice in your body, in your emotions, and where are your beliefs now? As we focus on the “target memory” we are working on, there are usually lots of spontaneous images and memories that often surprise us both as integration begins.

Often after a successful session using EMDR, a client will say, “that was amazing!” or “it feels like it was there the whole time, but I just couldn’t see it!”  As they sit with this realization, things seem to shift, and a sense of being unburdened or a feeling of freedom opens up as shame and guilt begin to lessen. I have been practicing EMDR therapy since 1999 and feel very comfortable working with most situations. If you have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse from parents, siblings,  bullies, family members, teachers, clergy or other authority figures, we will create an island of safety from which to do this work, exploring your trauma in ways that never feel scary or too overwhelming.

Attachment Focused EMDR Therapy

For those who have suffered abuse or neglect from family members or people who were supposed to be safe and trustworthy, I offer attachment-oriented work to help them internalize a sense of secure attachment, which I go into at more length on my attachment page. There is a great deal of hope stemming from this cutting-edge work, which  helps clients create new neural network pathways and incorporate positive attachment templates through imagery, resourcing and EMDR.

EMDR Therapy Can Open Up a Whole New Way of Being

My ultimate goal is to help you achieve a sense of deep internal change rather than an intellectual understanding of your trauma, going beyond insight-oriented talk therapy to a shift in your emotional and physiological being. While you might not be able to find words to explain exactly what happened during EMDR therapy, you will most likely discover that beliefs formed around trauma (it was my fault, I am unlovable) no longer fit for you. You might find that you will feel lighter and more empowered; even deep emotions such as shame can disappear.

Please call me at 503-380-8586 for a no-obligations chat so we can see if we are a good fit. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation and would be happy to answer any questions you have about EMDR.