Every person experiences life and events differently. For some of us, certain past experiences live on in our day to day life by way of regularly intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, flash backs, nightmares, or phobias. Seemingly "normal" occurances, sights, smells, or sounds seem to trigger overwhelming feelings of fear, anxiety, pain, or anger. What if we told you that these symptoms - which have been causing real distress and destruction sometimes daily - had a real cause, that this cause existed in a real place in your brain, and that we could really affect it? 

Whether you have an idea of a painful or traumatic event that could be the cause of these symptoms, or you find yourself experiencing these symptoms without a clear idea from where they stem, we have a team of clinicians specializing in EMDR that can help.

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

Memories live in our physical brain and affect its functioning, whether we can actively recall them or not. Memories that have been fully processed are stored in a way that our brain recognizes as belonging in the past. But sometimes things happen to us that we do not get a chance to fully process, and those memories get stored in the brain as not fully belonging in the past... but rather as still ongoing. 

Before going into all that EMDR therapy is and does, here are a few things it is not and does not do:

EMDR is not hypnosis. Clients are fully aware, engaged, and active in the treatment. 

EMDR is not exposure therapy. EMDR desensitizes our sympathetic nervous system's response to certain past events for reprocessing the event, it does not desensitize you to those nervous system responses. Also, there is no daily homework.

EMDR is not a one-session cure. EMDR does not eliminate all symptoms and complications associated with distressing memories which is why we emphasize the importance of regular and cocurrent individual therapy and counseling. 

EMDR is not just for trauma. While trauma not left in the past can prevent us from moving fully into the future, so can other things such as phobias, addiction, and anxiety. We can help determine if EMDR is right for you.

What EMDR is: 

EMDR is a mental health treatment technique that helps our brain to process, or reprocess, certain memories to help us move past them. This therapy has the aim of allowing us to heal from certain events and remember them without re-experiencing them.

What EMDR does:

EMDR therapy works at the information processing level of the brain's functioning. It uses rhythmic eye movement to change the way a memory is stored in your brain allowing it to be fully processed. Without the use of this eye movment, recalling certain events would result in physiological responses triggering our fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response. These responses inhibit us, and our brains, from fully processing experiences, allowing them to live on in our daily lives. With the use of the bi-lateral eye movement, the brain's split focus allows us to recall images and events in a more distanced, less vivid, and with reduced emotional impact. The bilateral brain stimulation also seems to produce physiological changes in bodies such as lowered heart rates and slower breathing associated with relaxation. All this allows us, and our brains, to recall memories, process them, and allow them to exist fully in the past.

How do I get started?

Twin Lakes Counseling takes a holistic approach to the care of our clients which to us looks like having the support of a talk therapist before, during, and after EMDR treatment. The process of getting started with EMDR is the same as getting started with any of our clinicians. CLICK HERE and fill out the information sheet being sure to identify that you are seeking EMDR treatment specifically. We will get you linked up with a clinician who will collaborate with our EMDR team to best prepare and support you for the process! Let's GET STARTED!

Step One: History Gathering and Treatment Preparation

It is important to establish a therapeutic alliance, consider the client's history, and talk about the EMDR process to set expectations and prepare for the journey ahead. 

Step Two: Assessment and Desensitization

This is the time to identify an event to reprocess, establish some baselines, and then make use of eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) to begin reducing distress associated with that event.

Step Three: Installation and Body Scan

As distress reduces with an event, it makes space for positive beliefs to be installed. Body scans are used to identify and process lingering disturbances. 

Step Four: Closure and Reevaluation

At the end of a session assistance is given to return to a calm, present moment and discuss what has occured and make a plan for next time. Reprocessing of an event when the client feels neautral about the event, the positice belief feels completely true, and the body is clear of disturbance.



Do I have to be in therapy to receive EMDR treatment?


What is the difference between EMDR and psychotherapy?




How long does EMDR take to work?



Are eye movements necessary for EMDR therapy to work?



Answer: No, and EMDR is not a one-session cure. PTSD and other related concerns often have more impact on our lives than what EMDR treats, so talk-therapy is highly encouraged.

Answer: EMDR works to desensitize our brain's response to triggering past events so that it can process the memory. Psychotherapy works to help us and our brains make meaning of those past events on a larger scale. Talk therapy provides context to our experiences, coping techniques and strategies, and a space to develop greater self-awareness and understanding. 

Answer: This depends on the treatment goal agreed upon between the client and the EMDR therapist as well as the readiness state of the client. Some goals can be achieved in one or two sessions. Others take longer.

Answer: Eye movements are used as an external stimulus for the brain to focus on while the client is simultaneously focused on internal distressing material. However, other stimuli are often used such as hand-tapping or auditory stimulation.

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