Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that gently encourages you to place your attention on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements).

The goal of the treatment is a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. Your body is allowed to come out of the limbic system overdrive/looping that is associated with your memory. Your experience/memory is still remembered, but the fight, flight/ freeze response from the original event is resolved.

EMDR therapy is an extensively researched, and has time and time again been proven to be an effective method to help people recover from trauma and PTSD, anxiety, depression, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, and other distressing life experiences. Your trauma can be “big T” trauma or a “little t” trauma. It is about how your body and mind perceive the event.

EMDR therapy has even been shown to be superior to Prozac in trauma treatment.

(Van der Kolk et al., 2007).

Van  Kolk, B.A., Spinazzola, J., Blaustein, M.E., Hopper, J.W., Hopper, E.K., Korn, D. L., & Simpson, W.B. (2007). A randomized clinical trial of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), fluoxetine, and pill placebo in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: treatment effects and long-term maintenance. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68(1), 37-46.

How is EMDR therapy different from other therapies?

EMDR is not talk therapy. Most people enjoy this change because they are used to (and sometimes even burnt out by) talking about their distress with a therapist, sometimes, over and over.  EMDR is a RESOLUTION type of therapy.  Each traumatic memory is worked through from start to finish. Your brain is allowed to work in it’s own way, and with just a bit of guidance from Dr. Maiella, it can resolve unprocessed traumatic memories.  EMDR trusts that your brain knows what to do to heal and recover.

Many times, we move through, and are able to resolve traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). 

However, sometimes, a little help is needed, because your amygdala is over-firing.

EMDR therapy helps children and adults of all ages, and can address:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Chronic Illness and medical issues
  • Depression and bipolar disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Pain
  • Performance anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma and stress-related issues
  • Sexual assault
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Violence and abuse

Experiencing EMDR Therapy

EMDR has eight distinct phases, and Dr. Maiella follows the protocol designed by EMDRA

(https://www.emdria.org/about-emdria/) and by the Child Trauma Institute, where she completed her training in 2017.

During an EMDR session, you place your attention on the memory/negative image, as well as on a belief that you hold about yourself (that was formed due to that incident) and an emotion, and body sensation related to this event.

Through the step of EMDR, you will eventually form a positive belief about yourself, relating to that incident, which indicates that the issue is resolved. The session ends when your distress level, pertaining to that incident becomes a ZERO.

A session lasts from 60-90 minutes. 

EMDR intensives are offered, which allows you to sit and work through the trauma/series of traumas over 1-3 days (7 hours per day, with a lunch break).  As the name implies, it is intense, however many patients find immense benefit from this immersion. Intensives can produce faster results than weekly sessions using standard talk-therapy techniques, or even weekly EMDR visits.  Intensives usually begin by reprocessing traumatic memories and beliefs about ourselves that were formed in very early childhood.  While the upfront cost of doing EMDR intensives over one to three days may seem high, it is usually more cost-effective than weekly sessions that are ongoing.

You’re interested in either EMDR visits or an EMDR intensive, please call our office and set up a 15 minute consultation with Dr. Maiella to determine if she is the right fit for you and if you are a good candidate for EMDR therapy.

Dr. Maiella has been working with people with trauma with family constellations, generational genograms, mental field therapy and emotional freedom technique for the last 15 years. The Windhorse Naturopathic Clinic is a safe and inclusive facility for all.  We welcome your inquiries and will do our best to be of assistance.