EMDR Therapy

Trauma can have a profound impact on the structure and function of your brain, so a past traumatic experience can continue to influence your beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. Overcoming your trauma may be the biggest challenge you face, but therapy is a valuable resource. One of the most effective forms of therapy for addressing trauma is EMDR, a unique form of treatment that uses specific eye movements to reprocess harmful memories.
Menachem Psychotherapy Group offers EMDR as one of our many specialties. If you’re looking for an EMDR therapist in Los Angeles, we’re here to help. You should understand what EMDR is, how it works, and what you can expect from the experience.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a form of therapy that helps you process and overcome trauma. While you revisit traumatic memories, your therapist will instruct you to move your eyes in specific patterns.
Although this may sound strange, EMDR can be a powerful way to reprocess your trauma so that it doesn’t take hold of your mind whenever a memory arises. The therapy allows you to experience your traumatic memories in a new way, changing how you direct your attention so that you don’t become overwhelmed. EMDR literally alters the way your brain recalls your trauma. You develop new neural networks associated with the memories because EMDR introduces new stimuli.

Traumatic experiences activate your fight, flight, or freeze response. In many cases, trauma causes your brain to freeze up or shut down. Then, the memory of the event can continue to activate the same reaction in your brain. Each time you experience a trigger or a memory arises, you may feel paralyzed or overwhelmed. However, changing how your brain experiences the memory stops you from feeling frozen in fear. Now, your brain has a chance to truly process and heal from the trauma.

EMDR therapy is a fairly new form of therapy compared to some other treatment methods. It has been researched extensively, though, and studies support its use for trauma and other mental health issues.
EMDR therapy is quite different from traditional forms of talk therapy, so many people approach it with skepticism. It can be hard to believe that eye movements can have such a powerful effect on your memories and emotions. However, EMDR has delivered powerful results for a wide variety of clients.

EMDR primarily treats trauma and PTSD. It targets memories that are intensely emotional and painful to relive. Your memories might make you freeze up, or they may trigger a panic attack. EMDR therapy helps you reprocess your trauma in a way that avoids these responses. When you can recall your traumatic memories without entering fight-or-flight mode or having an anxiety attack, you can live your life without constant fear of triggers.

Although EMDR therapy is mainly used to address trauma, it can also help with depression, anxiety, phobias, and many other mental health concerns. Our past experiences often contribute to our current mental health struggles, so processing those old memories is vital for improving our mental and emotional wellness. Maybe your painful memories are making it hard for you to overcome your depression or dismiss your anxious thoughts. EMDR can help you revisit those experiences and reduce their emotional hold over you.

Many people seek out EMDR therapy because they feel like it gets to the root of the problem. Other forms of counseling often focus on the thoughts and emotions that arise in response to a painful or triggering event. While managing these difficult emotions is an incredibly valuable skill, clients often want the emotions to stop arising altogether. EMDR allows you to address the root of your pain. You can’t change what happened in your past, but you can reduce the effect it has on you.
EMDR often works quickly, too. Clients frequently report results from EMDR therapy within just a few sessions. Mental health work is a long-term journey, so you should never expect an overnight fix. However, it can be frustrating to attend therapy sessions for months with slow progress. Because EMDR provides such fast results, it can be a powerful motivator for you to keep working on yourself.

What to Expect

Menachem Psychotherapy Group offers eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. Our licensed counselors are trained in EMDR therapy and have a great deal of experience incorporating it into their practice.
You and your counselor will start by identifying your goals for therapy and discussing your past trauma and your current challenges. Then, your EMDR therapist will help you identify the specific memories that cause you the most stress. These will be the memories you target during the EMDR experience.
Before you begin, your therapist will explain what you should expect from EMDR and how you can feel safe and comfortable during the treatment. It’s vital that you have a close and trusting relationship with your therapist as you begin EMDR. Your therapist will encourage you to revisit some of the darkest and most painful moments of your life, so you need to feel safe and supported during the session.
As you begin the EMDR session, your therapist will help you revisit a memory while walking you through the rapid eye movement. They may ask you to follow a light with your eyes, or they may simply verbally direct your eyes. Sometimes, EMDR therapists incorporate sound by placing speakers on either side of your body. Some also incorporate the sense of touch by tapping on both of your hands or arms. The intention is to have a single sensory experience on both sides of your body.
Your therapist will also help you identify a positive thought, belief, or image to replace the negative ones. As you move through the memory, they’ll encourage you to think of this new positive belief.
EMDR therapy doesn’t end with the eye movement exercises. After the EMDR session, you’ll discuss your experiences with your therapist. By exploring what you thought and how you felt during the session, you help yourself incorporate the technique into your daily life.

If you feel overwhelmed by your trauma, EMDR may provide you with the answers you need. Our counselors at Menachem Psychotherapy Group are here to help. Please reach out to us today to learn more about EMDR or to schedule a meeting with an EMDR therapist in Los Angeles.


Get a Free Consultation