Foundations Counseling in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor offers Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a comprehensive, integrative counseling approach. Made up of elements of varied, highly effective therapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects, EMDR therapy includes psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies. EMDR therapy is a powerful tool, and results are long-lasting.
EMDR therapy has been proven effective for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, clinicians have reported success using EMDR counseling to treat the following conditions: phobias, panic attacks, performance anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, stress reduction, dissociative disorders, complicated grief, disturbing memories, sexual and/or physical abuse, and anxiety disorders.
When a person is very upset, the brain’s ability to process information is impaired. 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 on the way the individual sees the world and relates to other people. EMDR therapy has a direct effect on the way the brain functions, essentially enabling the return of normal information processing. After a successful EMDR therapy session, the troubling images, sounds, and feelings are no longer relived when the event is brought to mind. The person still remembers what happened, but finds it less upsetting. Because EMDR is similar to what occurs naturally when dreaming or during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, it is thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps the individual see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
What You Can Expect with EMDR Therapy
During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The individual calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, perceived, etc., as well as what thoughts and beliefs are held about the event. The EMDR therapist facilitates directional movement of the eyes or utilizes other methods to stimulate both sides of the brain while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content.
The EMDR therapist continues with additional sets of eye movements until the memory becomes less disturbing and begins to be associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self; for example, “I did the best I could.” During EMDR therapy, the individual may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.
One or more EMDR counseling sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to determine whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. Once the therapist and client agree that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy begins; a typical session lasts about 90 minutes. The number of treatment sessions necessary to achieve success varies according to the type of problem, life circumstances, and the severity of previous trauma. In some cases, a single session of EMDR therapy is sufficient; however, a typical course of treatment is 3 to 10 sessions, performed weekly or every other week. EMDR may be used in combination with traditional counseling, as an adjunctive therapy, or as a stand-alone treatment.
After EMDR therapy, clients generally report that the emotional distress related to the memory has been eliminated, or greatly decreased, and that they have gained important cognitive insights. These emotional and cognitive changes usually result in spontaneous behavioral and personal change, which are further enhanced with standard EMDR procedures.
Set up a Free Consultation
If you’re curious whether EMDR therapy would benefit you or someone you know, please contact Foundations Counseling in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor to arrange a free consultation.