EMDR Therapy

Have you ever felt like you know something “shouldn’t” bother you anymore, but it still does?⁣

Have you experienced disturbing life event(s), but fear that opening up will take years to heal? ⁣

Have you been to trauma therapy before, but the skills you learn just don’t stick on a deeper level?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.

Deep emotional pain doesn’t need to take years to heal. The mind can heal from trauma just like the physical body can heal from trauma. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of therapy that once took years to make a difference.

What kind of problems can be treated with EMDR?

EMDR can be used to target and treat any negative self-beliefs or symptoms causing distress to an individual. In addition to effectively treating complex PTSD, EMDR has been shown to be an effective treatment for:

  • Relationship issues

  • Performance anxiety

  • Disturbing memories

  • Anxiety/stress reduction

  • Self-esteem issues

  • Complicated grief

  • Emotional issues

So, what exactly makes EMDR therapy such a successful trauma treatment?

1. EMDR therapy covers it all.

You may be experiencing unwanted thoughts, mood going up and down, extreme nervousness, sleep disturbance, and maybe even feel detached or mistrust others.

It is not your fault and you deserve to give yourself the chance of healing. EMDR allows you the opportunity to face you fears and feelings directly in a relatively short amount of time. Participants in EMDR often find relief and report satisfactory results in eight weeks.

2. EMDR therapy uses the brain’s ability to heal itself.

As EMDR creator and developer Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., explains:

“When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.”

As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

Sometimes mental blocks can cause delays in other trauma treatments. With EMDR, it supports your minds natural desire to heal.

3. EMDR therapy helps create new mental connections. How?

Bilateral Stimulation. To sort out and transform your emotional responses to traumatic thoughts and memories, this standardized treatment strategy focuses on past memories while staying present in the moment.

EMDR creator and developer Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., explains:

“Specific procedures are used to help clients maintain a sense of control during memory work as the therapist guides their focus of attention. They need only focus briefly on the disturbing memory during the processing while engaged in the bilateral stimulation (eye movements, taps or tones) as the internal associations are made. The client’s brain makes the needed links as new emotions, sensations, beliefs, and memories emerge. All the work is done during the therapy sessions. It is not necessary for the client to describe the memory in detail, and no homework is used.”

In other words, during a EMDR therapy session, I will direct you to use either eye movement, tapping or tones while you briefly think of specific parts of the trauma. You don’t even have to talk about what happened if you choose not to. You will be in charge of the pacing and you will always be in control.

Amazingly, several studies indicate that nearly 80% of single-trauma victims experience significant relief from PTSD. Many feel better after engaging in as few as 3, 90-minute EMDR sessions.

4. EMDR therapy causes relief as well as ongoing recovery.

Trauma is especially devastating to some people because it causes a persistent sense of helplessness or feeling out of control. This therapy is direct and structured, thus, you will likely find that the relief and understanding gained by the EMDR process is yours alone and not derived from the interpretation of your therapist.

EMDR therapy is both a safe and empowering procedure. You will likely feel more receptive and emotionally aware as time goes on. If you run into any roadblocks, you can always schedule another session. EMDR therapy allows you to improve your perspective and engage more beneficial decision-making. In a short amount of time, you’ll find yourself moving forward… a healthier, less reactive, calm version of yourself.

What does EMDR treatment look like?

EMDR therapy is broken down into eight different phases, so you’ll need to attend multiple sessions. Treatment usually takes about 12 separate sessions, but the amount of time to complete treatment depends upon your history.

EMDRIA describes “Although EMDR therapy may produce results more rapidly than previous forms of therapy, speed is not the issue and it is important to remember that every client has different needs. For instance, one client may take weeks to establish sufficient feelings of trust (Phase 2), while another may proceed quickly through the first six phases of treatment only to reveal something even more important that needs treatment.”

We will discuss the distinct phases as we treatment plan together. However, if you would like to learn about the phases beforehand, check out my blog posts.

Take the Next Step…

The impact of disturbing life events can take up residence in your life for a very long time. But only if you let it. The first step to regaining control of your life and happiness is to accept that you have a problem. Then, you can accept the help that will make recovery possible.

You deserve to live a life liberated from trauma. You have a right to recover. With EMDR therapy, you can achieve lasting clarity, sustainable peace, and a future with less emotional baggage.

Talk to me about EMDR therapy. It’s time to release your fear. Relax the grip the past has on your world and restore your ability to live life well.

Martha Cowley is EMDR Level II Trained through the EMDR Institute.


What do I do next?

When you are ready, simply contact me. I offer a free 15-minute consultation. To connect, click here.

Martha Cowley, M.A., LMFT, ATR is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Sacramento, CA. Martha utilizes art therapy with children, families, adults, and couples. She is trained and specializes in EMDR, Art Therapy, depression treatment, LGBTQ counseling, as well as child and teen counseling.