EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a well-established therapeutic approach that helps resolve trauma and its after-effects, collectively described as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
What is EMDR?
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation — visual, auditory or tactile — to access memories, thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are causing distress. Usually these belief systems are associated with past negative events, either acute or chronic, and are still disturbing.
EMDR can be used effectively for:
- trauma and PTSD
- treating anxiety, depression, and grief
- changing negative core beliefs about the self that result from early life experiences
- enhancing performance in sports, public speaking and assertiveness
What is Trauma?
Traumatic experiences are stored in memory in a way that prevents perspective and maturity from influencing them. It is as if one were stuck in time. Unable to process these memories, behavior and self-regard continue to be negatively affected by these past experiences.
There are two general types of trauma:
- Acute trauma originates from a terrifying incident or experience (car crash, fire, death of a loved one, divorce, being a victim of a crime) that one can readily identify.
- Developmental trauma can be more difficult to identify because it is chronic and often feels familiar. It develops from an accumulation of painful life experiences that cause pervasive negative beliefs about oneself, as well as emotional and behavioral problems.
Treating Trauma with EMDR
EMDR allows access to stored memories and feelings, and is highly effective in changing one’s perspective on the painful past. After therapy, the memories remain, but the negative feelings are mitigated.
Since its discovery in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR has become one of the most researched and recommended psychotherapeutic treatments for PTSD and its manifestations.
The therapists at Silver Spring Psychotherapy Associates have years of training and experience using EMDR in conjunction with other treatment modalities for a broad range of issues. We see clients from throughout the Washington DC area and Silver Spring, Maryland. Please contact one of our therapists to schedule an appointment.