Betty Anne Nixon, APN-C 


 
 

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) 

What is EMDR? 

EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. It is therapy model based on the research of Francine Shapiro, which may be effective for relief of trauma symptoms in the right candidate. EMDR therapy operates on the notion of the mind body connection. EMDR integrates mind and body work via bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation means eye movements, tones, or taps. It is hypothesized EMDR therapy may bring about newer, more productive neural (brain) pathways with the potential to facilitate relief from less functional thought patterns- the thought patterns bringing about unwanted symptoms.

Trauma may cause the brain to process and store memories in a way that prolongs distress. A conscious or unconscious trigger may provoke unwanted symptoms. When this happens, the brain may behave as if the past disturbing event is happening in the present. EMDR therapy has the potential to create a more adaptive response to this stimulus so that the painful memories associated with the trauma lose their potency.

EMDR therapy is offered for clients diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and trauma. EMDR is a target specific, evidenced based therapeutic modality. EMDR can be a very effective method of treatment, in that it may bring about relief of symptoms of trauma, such as flashbacks, triggers, nightmares, and sleep disruption. There are no promises made regarding the capability of EMDR to "cure" trauma. EMDR therapy is a complex process that serves to assist the client to synthesize their trauma in a manner that removes or reduces emotional reactivity symptoms.EMDR "takes the power out of the trauma", with the goal of relief from re-experiencing it with the same emotional, "fight or flight", panicked intensity as when the trauma occurred. While EMDR has the potential to bring about enduring relief from trauma symptoms, subsequent life events carry the possibility of creating a "new" trauma, or be contributory to pre-existing trauma, causing re-emergence of symptoms after conclusion of initial treatment. In such cases, EMDR may still be utilized for the new trauma. It is essential that the client communicate with the therapist as clearly and succinctly as possible regarding their needs and experiences while engaging in EMDR therapy.

 

EMDR Brochure