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    Who is a candidate for EMDR?

    EMDR is for anyone suffering from trauma or disturbing memories. Disturbing incidents, whether they are real or perceived dangers, can traumatize an individual and cause a neurological chemical imbalance in the central nervous system. Memories of these incidents are trapped in a kind of time capsule and include all the emotions, feelings, physical sensations, sights and smells which were present at the time of the incident. Distressing and unresolved memories are often stuck in the wrong part of the brain and continue to fester for weeks, months or years later. When an event similar to the original trauma is presented or similar feelings are encountered, the unresolved trauma is reactivated and can cause the person to re-experience the original trauma over and over again.

    Trauma can include:

    • Abuse and neglect experienced in childhood that continues to plague adult survivors.
    • Post-Traumatic Stress suffered by combat veterans who have been exposed to prolonged & repeated intense combat.
    • Bullying
    • Divorce
    • Infidelity
    • Grief and loss
    • Rape
    • Natural Disasters
    • Violent crime experienced by either victims and/or witnesses
    • Criticism
    • Automobile accidents
    What is EMDR?

    EMDR is a powerfully effective “cutting edge” treatment modality used to resolve & eliminate disturbing & traumatic memories. Only specially trained psychotherapists are certified to use EMDR in therapy. EMDR has been approved by the American Psychiatric Association. EMDR has been extensively researched approach is well-documented with successful outcomes. The Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Practice Guidelines have placed EMDR in the highest category, recommended for all trauma populations. EMDR has been used worldwide since it inception in 1987.

    Where is EMDR performed?

    EMDR is performed by a specially trained psychotherapist in his/her office.

    When is EMDR performed?

    EMDR is performed on a schedule & frequency that the psychotherapist and the client agree upon. The schedule & frequency is tailored to optimize the efficacy for the client.

    Why is EMDR performed?

    EMDR is performed in order to resolve the client’s trauma as quickly and effectively as is possible.

    How is EMDR performed?

    EMDR is a process that includes 8 phases.

    Phase 1 is laying the groundwork for processing. In this phase, I will be learning about your past history and events in your past which may be causing distress or dysfunction in the present.

    Phase 2 is the preparation phase where you will learn coping skills designed to help you feel more emotionally balanced and calm.

    Phase 3 is the assessment phase. Together we will identify target memories which you would like to work on. You will be asked to identify the image, emotions, beliefs and body sensations that are part of that disturbing memory.

    Phase 4 is the desensitization phase where the actual processing of the disturbing memory takes place. We will use bilateral stimulation to activate your brain in order to begin to reprocess the traumatic or disturbing memory. Bilateral stimulation may be tactile using hand pulsar which feels like a cell phone or pager when it’s on vibrate or earphone in which you will hear an alternating tone in one ear, then the other. A light bar in which you watch a bead of light move back and forth from right to left may also be used. You will be asked to rate your feelings of disturbance on a scale of 0-10 in order to help determine how much of the trauma has been processed.

    Phase 5 is the installation phase during which you will have processed the disturbing memory and a more positive belief will remain. The objective here is to reinforce the positive or new belief using bilateral stimulation.

    Phase 6 is the body scan. I will ask you to bring to mind the old image of the traumatic memory, close your eyes and scan your body for any leftover feeling of tension, distress or discomfort.

    Phase 7 is closure. We will talk about your session and make sure that you are grounded and feel no disturbance when you leave the session. Between sessions, processing often continues. New thoughts, insights and connections are often made. I will ask you to keep a log so we can track you process.

    Phase 8 is the re-evaluation phase. Re-evaluation take place at the beginning of each session so we can assess what has been accomplished and what still needs more work.

    Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

    EMDR is a tool used to neutralize triggers.

    Stafford Community Counseling now offers Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).

    EMDR Testimonials

    “Prior to EMDR I had been in therapy for 15 years. I had read every recommended book concerning my issues. So, cognitively, I understood what happened in my past, and yet, situations that don’t appear necessarily related continued to trigger unresolved emotions from my past in both subtle and not so subtle ways. Unknowingly and continually, I was pulled back to a time and place where I felt vulnerable and exposed. Although I was 650 miles and twenty years from my family of origin, I would still encounter the sights, smells songs, tones of voices, similar personalities of authority, etc. which made me feel like a helpless child who was trying to cope in an adult world without the tools that I needed. I lived in a constant state of emotional turmoil. Thanks to EMDR, I no longer see the world through the smoggy, clouded lenses of the past. The world now seems fresh and new to me instead of a constant reminder of past hurts and wounds. I am free at last! I never have to return to that place so long ago when I was a helpless, child without a voice. As a result, I am developing a voice. A voice that is funny, carefree and no longer fears repercussions from establishing firm boundaries. I am becoming an adult who can guard my own heart.

    EMDR therapy is the best thing I have ever done for my health. Laurie looks at the whole person; she is practical and straightforward while providing me with invaluable resources to navigate issues with my children, parents, as well as self. I feel stronger and happier with fewer headaches. My head may have understood the emotional/psychological trauma, but my body still held the pain and screamed out for relief in the form of headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, cloudy, muddled thinking, depression, stagnation, procrastination. My body protested moving forward with life until these issues were resolved. Now, my body feels so relaxed and at peace. No longer do I feel the tension and knots in my stomach from the hyper vigilant state in which I lived. My thinking has become increasingly clearer and sharper as I unloaded all of the emotional baggage and clutter from the past that has weighed me down. I am free to become the person God meant for me to be. Through EMDR I can stand back and see the big picture as though I am an observer without the emotional ties.”

    – Celeste B.

    …Now I know that I can take ownership of my healing/treatment/life. Before, I felt like something was wrong with me and the way I handled my pain. Now I realize that I was using those outlets to heal; I no longer feel like I am copping out when I go to a protective mode.

    I have had six EMDR sessions and have to say that for the first time, I feel in control of my life. I feel like I have a voice. Prior to EMDR, I was paralyzed with fear and anxiety. Now, I am free to live for the first time! I could have remained in traditional therapy for the rest of my life and never reached this state of understanding. Wish I had started treatment 30 years ago!

    – Terry L.

    I realize that I continued to recycle unresolved issues from the past in present triggers or reminders. Tentacles from the past squeezed the happiness out of the present. In an effort to resolve the past, I was ruining my life in the here and now. Now, I can see the blessings I have right in front of me that I have been missing! My significant relationships have improved tremendously because I don’t project or transfer or associate past hurts onto present situations or triggers. I can recognize patterns that have spun me around in a chaos for many years.

    – Alex R.

    After his multi-car accident, my son experienced anxiety manifested alternately in crying or anger for no apparent reason, nightly insomnia, and fear of sleeping in his room alone. I felt at a loss to help him through the pain because, although he acknowledged that therapy might be beneficial, he refused to be part of any session; he didn’t want to talk to anyone about the pain affecting him. As frustrating as this was for me, forcing therapy on him was not an option. When one of his close friendships ended, life became more than he could handle so he was introduced to EMDR and Laurie. The work he did in therapy using EMDR cleared the anxiety he has felt since his accident almost a year ago! Mentioning the accident does not create the physical pain and emotional drain in my son that it did prior to therapy. What a tremendous gift!

    – Sarah S.

    It is an amazing relief to me that my EMDR sessions were so effective. A few years ago, I was in traditional therapy revisiting the same issues many times over and over but never acquired the level of well-being that I have gained now. I can pinpoint personal stress triggers and detach myself from the stress so I can deal with these triggers. I’ve begun to make sense of my layered relationship web (family, friends, and coworkers). The difficult coworker is no longer causing my stomach to clench; now, I am able to go through my day without giving another thought to this person. Same for my difficult parent. Nothing may have changed about the coworker or parent; however, my outlook has changed and I can cope and thrive! I highly recommend therapy with EMDR!

    – Jodi M.