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EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms. It is structured therapy that encourages the patient to focus briefly on the trauma memory while also applying techniques to stimulate the brain, typically using eye movement.   

Why EMDR for Breast Cancer?

For most people, being diagnosed and treated for a life-threatening disease such as cancer, is very traumatic and stressful. Research studies have shown that many people diagnosed with cancer might suffer from post-traumatic symptoms related to the disease. Some of the symptoms may be constant worrying, fears that the disease will return, nightmares or flashbacks about the illness or treatments, sleep issues, irritability, restlessness, and fatigue.  Additionally, individuals diagnosed with cancer may often avoid places, events, and people connected to their cancer experience.

Recently, there has been research to study and help identify risk factors for developing cancer-related PTSD. These risk factors could be the severity of disease, the presence of side effects from the treatment, and physical pain. Other factors such as previous trauma and a lack of support may also play a role in PTSD development.

Ongoing research also supports positive outcomes showing EMDR therapy as a helpful treatment for disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms in cancer patients.  For more information on research about EMDR with cancer survivors visit The EMDR Foundation.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR therapy is an integrative psychotherapy method that uses a technique called bilateral stimulation to repeatedly activate opposite sides of the brain. Therapists often use eye movements to help with stimulation. These eye movements mimic the period of sleep referred to as rapid eye movement or REM sleep, and this portion of sleep is frequently considered to be the time when the mind processes the recent events in the person’s life.

EMDR seems to help the brain reprocess the trapped memories in such a way that normal information processing is resumed. Therapists often use EMDR to help clients uncover and process negative beliefs that developed as the result of relational traumas, or childhood issues. For a more detailed explanation please visit the EMDR Institute, Inc.

What else does EMDR help?

EMDR had been originally established as helpful for PTSD, although it’s been proven useful for treatment in the following conditions:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Complicated Grief
  • Dissociative Orders
  • Disturbing Memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain Disorders
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Stress Reduction
  • Sexual and/or Physical Abuse
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders
  • Personality Disorders

None of the above symptoms or experiences fit you?

Do you experience distressing emotions that appear to you, and perhaps to others, to be excessive given the current situation? Do you tend to be highly reactive to certain triggers? Is there one or more dysfunctional beliefs that you believe about yourself that on an intellectual level you know is not true?

If so, you may still be a good candidate for EMDR therapy. Contact me today for a free phone consultation to see if EMDR might help you release what no longer serves you.