Somatic Focused EMDR
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. This counseling modality integrates elements of many effective therapy approaches—including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies—into structured protocols designed to maximize treatment success.
During EMDR, clients focus on past, present, and future experiences while simultaneously focusing on external, bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements, sensory tappers, alternating sounds on earphones). Through this dual focus of attention and the entire protocol, people are able to process through upsetting memories and experiences that remain “stuck” and continue to create current-day emotional reactions despite previous counseling work.
EMDR is especially powerful in helping people alleviate symptoms of anxiety and in helping people who have experienced trauma (childhood abuse, witnessing violence and death, car accident, bullying, etc.). EMDR can also be very effective in enhancing feelings of confidence and unblocking motivation to make positive changes in one’s life.
Somatic interventions are also critical for emotional regulation as they work directly with one’s physiology to improve it. This mind-body approach has been shown particularly effective for helping clients coping with trauma, but it is also used successfully for other challenges such as depression, anxiety, grief, psychosomatic symptoms, relationship issues, and eating disorders.
Laurel Parnell, Ph.D., a leading EMDR expert trained me, and I participate in ongoing consultation and training with leaders in the field for this powerful therapeutic approach. (See www.emdria.org for more information).