Linda Hershman, LMFT, MS
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 1034 Beaumont Road
License #MF000414 Berwyn, PA 19312
phone: 610 889-2089
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a method of psychotherapy that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a therapy that is listed in the new Department of Veterans Affairs & Department of Defense Practice Guidelines "A" category as "highly recommended" for the treatment of trauma. It has received the highest level of recommendation by the American Psychiatric Association and by the mental health departments of Israel, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Sweden and more.
How does it work?
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
What if I didn't experience a major trauma?
Most of us carry around negative beliefs about ourselves that were formed during earlier times in our lives and continue to affect our self-esteem and relationships. A few examples of the many commonly-held negative beliefs include: I'm not good enough; I'm not deserving; I can't trust; there's something wrong with me; I'm different; I should have known better; No one will love me. EMDR seems to open a channel that allows these beliefs to move from the limbic system (which stores emotions) into the prefrontal cortex (cognitive area of the brain), where more adaptive, positive beliefs can replace disturbing negative cognitions.
Who can benefit from EMDR?
Those with anxiety disorders, OCD, depression, addictions, eating disorders, early childhood sexual abuse and PTSD can benefit from this therapy. If you suffer from chronic pain, EMDR may reduce the intensity as well as beliefs about your ability to manage your pain. EMDR also has been beneficial in helping athletes, public speakers, writers, and anyone seeking to improve their performance and eliminate blocks to success.
How is EMDR used in couple and family therapy?
Our loved ones frequently trigger feelings of inadequacy, fear or shame in us that we experienced in relationships with our families or origin. EMDR can quickly move through blocks to emotional intimacy as they arise during couple and family therapy sessions while allowing loved ones to feel more connected once they realize "it's not about them."
How do I choose an EMDR therapist?
A clinician who is a Full Member of EMDRIA has been licensed or certified in their profession for independent practice and has completed an EMDRIA approved basic EMDR training.
A clinician who is EMDRIA Certified in EMDR has been licensed or certified in their profession for independent practice and has had a minimum of two years experience in their field. They have completed an EMDRIA approved training program in EMDR, have conducted a minimum of fifty clinical sessions in which EMDR was utilized, and have received twenty hours of consultation in EMDR by an Approved Consultant. In addition they must complete twelve hours of continuing education in EMDR every two years.
As a certified EMDR therapist, I have conducted thousands of hours of EMDR sessions and have witnessed many people shed negative beliefs and step into the lives and relationships they desire. Call today to learn more about this life-changing therapy!