Do you feel stuck in an endless loop? Are life's challenges feeling dark, heavy, or even impossible to deal with?
- You feel like you are walking on eggshells in your relationships.
- You feel lonely even when you are with others.
- You are in a constant state of panic and it rules your life.
- You keep remembering troubling or embarrassing experiences from
the past and feel like you are suddenly reliving them over and over again.
- You replay events and conversations in an endless cycle until you
feel like garbage
The memories and experiences of the past keep people in the past, preventing them from living in the present and looking forward to the future. Perhaps you can relate.
We all have memories and experiences in our life that have a profound effect on us. Sometimes these experiences are so impactful they are stuck in our brain in an endless loop. And sometimes we have experiences in our present that trigger a memory or response from the past. That trigger or response feels familiar because it is familiar. These responses can feel overwhelming, scary, powerless, and take us right back to the original experience. You just want to be free, feel lighter, and not have to remember every day.
Most people who reach out to me for EMDR Therapy feel stuck, overwhelmed, and hopeless.
These feelings are a normal response to the abnormal experiences we have in our life. The good news is help is available. You are not alone. You can heal from these experiences that keep you stuck. With the help of a kind, compassionate, and EMDR skilled therapist, you can heal from your past and find joy in the present and look towards the future.
What is EMDR Therapy and how does it work?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing:
Eye Movement: Using Dual Attention Stimulus (DAS) or Bi-lateral Stimulation (BLS). Same thing, two different names to describe moving your eyes back and forth or some other alternate movement such as butterfly taps, tapping on knees, or hearing audio tones to engage your left and right brain hemispheres.
In my office or online (Yes-EMDR Therapy is just as effective virtually as in person!), a client will have a variety of options for DAS. Working together, we’ll find the right fit or preference of DAS.
Fun fact: we do DAS or BLS in everyday life when we walk, run, ride a bike, swim, etc.
Desensitization: Using the DAS and engaging both hemispheres of the brain, we decrease the intensity of a memory or release that information from your nervous system. This process reduces the intensity of the emotional impact of the experiences. Some clients have described this process as turning down the noise or brightness of the memory. The memory is still there but it’s less vivid, less intense, and less overwhelming.
Reprocessing: The details of the experience are then reprocessed and moved into the areas of the brain where we can use logic and rationale to make sense of our experiences. Essentially helping our memories and experiences become unstuck and free. We can then install healthier, more positive self-beliefs related to your experiences and create a template for how you’d like to respond in the future.
We aren’t trying to erase your memories since your brain won’t release anything it doesn’t want to nor do we create new or false memories. Instead, we are changing your relationship with your past so that it no longer has such a firm hold on the present.
EMDR Therapy is:
- a similar process to what happens during REM sleep, except you are awake.
- a powerful therapy that can help relieve pain and suffering while providing relief and freedom from the hold of past experiences.
- Scientific, researched and evidence-based.
- an 8 phase model. Click here to learn more about the phases of EMDR.
- not a one-size-fits-all therapy. EMDR therapy will be tailored to your specific experiences, needs, and treatment goals.
- effective, safe, and for many a life-changing process as they experience complete healing and relief.
- a bottom-up therapy approach meaning the therapy works from the bottom up integrating somatic experience (what we experience in the body), emotions, and thoughts related to the memory. Essentially, including all parts of the brain: left and right hemispheres and top and bottom of the brain.
What does EMDR Treat?
EMDR is one of the most well researched and evidence-based trauma treatments. Not only is it the gold standard for PTSD, it’s been shown to effectively treat a wide range of other symptoms:
- Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Phobias
- Trauma and PTSD symptoms
- Childhood Trauma
- Grief and Loss
- Chronic Pain
- Low Self-Esteem and Relationship challenges
- Disturbing memories
- Nightmares and Insomnia
- Single events (like a car crash, medical incident, work accident, breakup etc)
To find out more about what EMDR can treat, click here.
EMDR can help you gain the courage to be your true self and in the process learn to trust yourself.
It’s possible to feel better. Imagine a life where you could…
- Shift into a more positive and hopeful outlook in life.
- Finally, be free from the pain, hurt, and shame from past experiences.
- Improve your relationship with yourself and those you choose to share yourself with.
- Create a more meaningful life based on who you are and what you desire.
- Establish and maintain boundaries to help you feel and be safe.
- Get to the root problems and solve those instead of using band-aids.
- Taking care of your needs is a priority instead of everyone else’s needs coming first.
But, you may still have questions about EMDR Therapy
I think I need help and there is a part of me that desperately wants help but I’m ashamed and nervous about talking about my past.
I want you to know that many of my clients have shared with me that it was difficult to reach out and come in for their initial session. It is ok and even normal to have these feelings. You don’t know me and I don’t know you and there is so much vulnerability required in talking about yourself with a stranger, especially about things that have happened to you. I will never ask you to discuss anything you are not comfortable talking about. You are in full control of what is discussed and worked on in therapy. You are the driver and I am the passenger with the road map. It is a collaborative effort to get to a place of healing.
Reaching out and getting the help you need is a sign of strength. Even though you might feel like a failure for needing help, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to become aware of what you are going through and ask for help.
Some things to know about sessions: Counseling sessions are 50-60 minutes. This time is set aside just for you to help you work through your challenges and reasons for coming to therapy. In addition to listening, I will ask questions and provide relevant information, if needed. I play an active role in the counseling process. Here’s how it looks step-by-step:
1. First, I provide a safe, calm, and accepting space so that you can feel comfortable sharing your struggles with me when you are ready.
2. Through hearing your story, I will begin to get a picture of what your challenges are.
3. We will work together to discover what your goals are in therapy and in life including what you would like different or changed through engaging in the counseling process.
4. Keeping your unique goals in mind, we’ll figure out what’s needed to help you reach them including if EMDR therapy is the right fit for you.
5. Over the course of our sessions, even beginning with the first session, you’ll be introduced to healthy coping skills and we’ll work together to build a toolbox of skills you can practice in session so you can use them outside of session. These skills are drawn from a wide variety of therapies and orientations such as mindfulness, DBT, CBT, and much more. We will work together to find the ones that are the best fit for you.
The first step towards feeling better is contacting me for a 15-minute phone or video consultation.
How is EMDR therapy different from talk therapy?
EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. This type of therapy doesn’t require you to talk in detail about your distressing memory or try to change the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors resulting from it. You also don’t need to have a clear or accurate memory of what happened because your brain already has that information and will take us where we need to go.
It’s a very in-the-moment kind of conversation based on what you are noticing internally (in the body, images, thoughts, and emotions) and produces a different kind of understanding. For most clients, it is a relief to know that they aren’t required to talk about their experience or divulge any details they prefer to keep private. As a therapist, I appreciate that clients can feel empowered to share the details they choose, not be required to re-hash details and be retraumatized in the process of retelling of their stories, and can still be helped in the process.
“As a natural outcome of EMDR therapy, the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior are all indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.” -Cheryl Cook LPCC
I’m worried about the money and time invested. How will I know it is working for me?
Many clients have this concern and everyone wants results when they’ve invested time and finances into their well-being. For each person, how they will know EMDR therapy is working will be different. Just as EMDR is not a one size fits all therapy, neither are the results. Some ways clients have shared with me that EMDR is working is they feel calmer inside. They experience less anxiety and related physical symptoms. Some have experienced decreased or even eliminated symptoms related to PTSD. They notice room for positive emotions and thoughts that were being crowded out by trauma. They are able to more easily stay in the present and only occasionally visit the past and when they do, the experiences are old memories, things that happened to them, not intense, overwhelming memories anymore.
For many people these changes were not big fireworks or explosions, but rather small, connected details they were noticing in everyday life. I will often say “trust the process” because the process does work.
“Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction.”-Francine Shapiro, founder of EMDR Therapy
I’ve helped people be able to clean out the traumatic memories that keep them stuck, confused, ashamed, and overwhelmed. Through healing these memories, they are able to feel lighter, relieved, empowered, and more confident in who they are and their decisions.
“Sometimes you don’t know the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.” (Unknown)
Let’s Get Started Today
Take those first steps towards feeling better and getting the help you need, want, and deserve.
During your free phone consultation, you can share what’s going on for you and we can explore if we are a good fit to work together and if EMDR Therapy can help you.
Contact me for your free phone or video consultation today.