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What is EMDR therapy?

Updated: Jan 3

To me, orginally, it sounded like nothing I had ever heard of. That "orginally" was at Sierra Tucson, an inpatient treatment center for PTSD and trauma in Tucson, Arizona...and I was grabbing on to every rope that was being offered for healing. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was one of the therapy modalities used in my one month treatment plan. I saw an EMDR therapist daily during treatment, five days a week, for one month. In other words, I got "comfortable" with it. EMDR therapy is a "mind/eye" therapy approach that approaches psychological issues in an unusual way. It does not rely on talk therapy or medications. Instead EMDR uses a patient's own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past tramatic events. EMDR has been researched for years and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. Sounds so formal. Really what my expereince was : over a number of sessions and focusing on one event, you either watch a light bar with a light moving rapidly right to left, or you watch a object (pencil, small object) moving rapidly right to left. You focus on that event.....your body will work through this event safely....in my experience releasing tears and shaking was normal and you are "released" from being stuck in that tramatic event. OBIVIOUSLY, a skilled therapist is a must. Overall the therapy is believed to lesson the impact tramatic memories have on you, and your behavior. For me sessions were ninety minutes. It felt like the right amount of time to delve into it as a "beginner." I believe that many EMDR therapists stick to 60 minutes. (Please recall that I was inpatient for trauma and PTSD - may explain the length of the sessions). It is believed that EMDR works because "bi-lateral sitmualtion" bypasses the area of the brain that has become stuck due to a trauma and is preventing the left side from self soothing the right side of the brain. Orginally discovered to work with clients who have a history of trauma, it is now used for many other disorders, such as eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, complicated grief, panic disorder, dissociative disorder and many other disorders that have a trauma component associated with them. As it was for me, EMDR is a foreign concept to many. And the reason Cooper's Crossroad is hosting an EMDR therapist on May 23rd at the Keene Public Library, 7-8 pm. Dr. Catherine Cauthorine, an EMDR therapist from Peterborough NH, will speak to us about EMDR. Dr. Catherine Cauthorine I am a complete amatuer writing about this field, and yet feel the experience I do have is valuable...my experience is personal. Dr. Catherine Cauthorine will go in to WAY more details on this unique and very effective approach to health. Please join us on Thursday, May 23rd from 7 to 8 pm for this event. And until then, enjoy the flowers peaking out everywhere. Best, Christina


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