E.M.D.R stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a gentle, non invasive therapy based on bilateral stimulation, (right, left), of the nervous system. It is often done through visual stimulation. However, E.M.D.R. is also effective by stimulating other parts of the body such as through hearing from right to left with sounds in headphones, or in the hands through tapping or hand held stimulators.

E.M.D.R. helps to free trapped emotions in the nervous system due to past or present emotional experiences being withheld. These can range from traumatic to seemingly uneventful times in our lives, but continue to effect our reactions to current life experiences, even decades later. Generally speaking, six or more sessions are needed as the layers are removed and replaced with more positive feelings.

Examples of what E.M.D.R. therapy can be used for

  • PTSD
  • general stress from transitions such as moving or a new school
  • grief
  • separation
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic disorders
  • chronic pain
  • sleep problems
  • addiction
  • relationship issues
  • low self esteem
  • trust issues

The 8 phases of EMDR

  1. Intake of any medications being taken, and current issues, if known
  2. Stabilization: mindfulness and self calming techniques.
  3. Assessment and digging deeper into issues coming up, (ie control, guilt, helplessness)
  4. Desensitization: bilateral stimulation while thinking about a disturbing event can bring the disturbance down.
  5. Installation: installing the positive belief
  6. Body Scan: getting the feelings to neutral
  7. Closure
  8. Re-evaluation

Examples of how E.M.D.R. can be used

Parents can instill a feeling of how they want to feel about themselves, versus what they’re currently “putting” on themselves. For example, if you’re feeling inadequate or fearful as a parent, you can instill a feeling of confidence and stability. Children with autism can benefit by releasing negative withheld beliefs, or fears around eating, or of school, or social situations. E.M.D.R. can also help them with issues around sleep, or self esteem. Anyone over the age of four can benefit in many ways.

Who does E.M.D.R?

Be sure the practitioner you seek is certified in E.M.D.R. and the course they have taken is approved by the E.M.D.R. Institute and displays the E.M.D.R. logo. The greatest consideration when working with children is to find an educated practitioner who has experience working with them. Children must be made to feel comfortable and their needs met in the environment so they feel safe.

To find a certified E.M.D.R. clinician go to, EMDRIA.org.

Please listen to my podcast with Dr. Amy Hopkins, on E.M.D.R. 

Get Karen’s free Autism Recovery Workshop with the complete A-Z roadmap here.

Dr. Amy Hopkins
Dr. Amy Hopkins is a Licensed Psychologist with a doctorate in Psychology. Her doctoral project was entitled: An Exploration of the Impact of Childhood Trauma on Adult Mental Health. Dr. Hopkins
works with adults and teens and has a private practice in Newport Beach, California. She has certificates in EMDR, Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency, and Complementary and Alternative
Medicine. Dr. Hopkins has extensive experience working with trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, addiction, parenting, and interpersonal relationships. She has facilitated groups and workshops on
parenting, anger/anxiety, trauma, addiction, intimate partner violence, healthy relationships, and job placement skills and has presented on EMDR Therapy and ADHD. Prior to opening her private practice, Dr. Hopkins was a director of a substance use disorder program and a director of a community counseling program. She also served as a director of clinical training for a postsecondary Psy.D. program.
Her website is, www.amyhopkinspsyd.com
Phone – 949-549-1118

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