by Leanna Bissell MA, BA
Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)
Often times I hear my clients express to me that they are feeling stuck, but they are not sure why. They are struggling to pinpoint exactly the reason as to why they are feeling down, anxious or overwhelmed. In my practice, I encounter client’s who have been in therapy for many years, trying a variety of interventions like cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy or a combination of traditional talk therapies. Momentarily, they experience relief, be that for a few weeks, months or even years. Ultimately the client ends up in my office with this feeling of being back to where they started or that looming feeling of “stuckness”. What I have noticed is the client has not actually addressed the root of the problem or the origin of where the feeling has started from. This is where EMDR therapy comes in.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, but it’s not all about the eyes! This evidence based treatment came about in the late 1980’s and was first used to treat combat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. When something bad happens to a person, first it happens to the body, then we form emotions attached to the experience and you start to reprocess the event. You think about it, sleep on it, speak about it with friends and family and time passes. If you have successfully reprocessed the event, you can later think of the bad event but it no longer bothers you. Even in this moment now, you can think about a negative experience from your past but you have peace with it. This means that your brain was working effectively! Sometimes though, this processing gets stuck and this is where EMDR therapy comes in. It desensitizes the difficult memory and reprocesses it so that you can have peace with it.
What can EMDR help with?
EMDR has been proven to be helpful in treating any symptoms associated with trauma or stress. This can include symptoms like flashbacks, panic attacks, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, depression, worrying, sleep disturbances, anger, worrying. Basically if you are feeling “stressed out”, EMDR can help with that.
So, if you are feeling stuck, stressed, anxious or depressed, EMDR may be a method to alleviate your symptoms by addressing the root cause. If this sounds interesting to you, please reach out for a 15 minute consultation where we can discuss further.