–Hugh Downs, 20/20, ABC News
For over three decades, EMDR has been providing relief to individuals struggling with a wide range of symptoms from general depression and anxiety to complex post traumatic stress disorder. With extensive research and endorsement by the World Health Organization, EMDR is one of the most effective treatments available. A recent Kaiser study found that 100% of single trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer have a diagnosis of PTSD after only six 50-minute EMDR sessions.
But what exactly is EMDR?
Short for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment that helps your brain process traumatic memories and alleviate the various symptoms that can stem from trauma.
Francine Shapiro, creator of EMDR, hypothesizes that individuals have an information processing system and each memory that we have get stored in memory networks throughout the brain. Memory networks contain thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations. When distressing life events occur, sometimes the brain is not fully able to process the images, sensations, sounds, emotions and thoughts. As a result the information becomes trapped and can either become cut off or recirculate through the brain without filtering through and processing normally. These trapped memories are called unprocessed memories. They result in symptomatic reactions and cause many mental health disorders.
EMDR can successfully alleviate these unprocessed memories through an eight phase approach and store them functionally in the brain, minimizing and often eliminating any associated symptoms. It’s like re-filing the filing cabinet in your brain.
Who can benefit from EMDR?
While EMDR was originally developed to relieve the distress associated with post traumatic stress disorder, studies have shown that today, it is extremely effective for a variety of diagnoses that individuals experience including: phobias, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, panic attacks, performance anxiety, stress, grief, unexplained physical symptoms and chronic pain.
As a licensed marriage and family therapist and a trained EMDR therapist, Kristina is skilled in using EMDR and a blend of other psychotherapy techniques to help her clients process difficult memories and foster new, healthy connections. Kristina is currently studying under Ana Gomez, renown EMDR expert, therapist, and consultant, and is able to assist a wide range of individuals including kids and teens.