Dr. Charles Hershkowitz, Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and certified Imago Relationship Therapist working with couples in Brussels
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In 2006, I attended training sessions in EMDR given by Laurel PARNELL of San Diego, California.

EMDR ( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing ) is a special Cognitive Therapy used for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as a broader range of emotional disturbances linked to difficult past life events.
Psychologically traumatized persons treated by EMDR get a lasting sense of emotional distance vis-Ó-vis their traumas.

Here is a condensed summary of what EMDR is and how it is used, excerpted from the site of the EMDR Association of United Kingdom and Ireland, www.emdrassociation.org.uk.


About EMDR Therapy


EMDR is an acronym for 'Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing'.

Since its discovery in the late 1980's in the U.S.,
a wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating EMDR-therapy's benefits in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as diverse as war, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace harassment. EMDR is also increasingly used to help individuals with many sorts of emotional issues and performance anxiety. It has been found to be of benefit to children as well as adults.

EMDR is a complex and powerful therapy. You are strongly recommended to consult legitimate clinicians who have undergone a bona-fide EMDR training.

How Does EMDR Work?

When involved in a distressing event, a person may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information normally.

The distressing memories may come to mind when something reminds the person of the past event, or sometimes they just pop into mind. The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during the EMDR process, seems to stimulate the brain's frozen or blocked information processing system.

In the process the distressing memories lose their intensity and become more like ordinary  memories.

What can I expect from my EMDR therapist?

EMDR-therapy is a comprehensive therapeutic approach with principles, protocols and procedures for reducing distress in the shortest period of time.

You can ask your therapist questions and express any concerns you may have. Once you both feel that you are ready, you can then target a first distressing memory. Your therapist will ask you to select an image that represents the distressing event. You will then be asked to think about negative thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, and to assess the "amount" of distress felt.

Your therapist begins to induce your eye movements while you hold the image in mind. After each set of eye movements your therapist will ask you what came to mind. During the eye movements you may experience the distressing event quite intensely to start with, but this distress generally decreases as the memory is processed.

Your therapist will continue with the eye movements until your distress is reduced as much as possible. He/she will then ask you to think about the positive thought or belief (worked out at the beginning, as an "antidote" to the negative thoughts or beliefs associated with your distress) and also check whether there your body still feels distress. Before the end of the session, you will have time to feel calm again, using the "safe place" exercise and/or relaxation techniques.

What will I feel like after the session?

EMDR treatment generates a certain amount of 'momentum' to your thinking and conscious awareness. You may feel a bit "bizarre" for a day or two, as new thoughts, feelings and also dreams may abound.
It is recommended that you do not do anything too stressful straight after your session, such as take an exam.
At the end of EMDR therapy, many people report feeling no distress at all when recalling an  event which used to be very painful for them.

Is EMDR a form of hypnotism?

EMDR is not a form of hypnotism. You will remain conscious and in control at all times. 

Will I experience any pain during my session?

No physical pain in the ordinary sense of the word.









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