Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that enables individuals to heal from disturbing or distressing events. Originally developed to treat trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), EMDR has proven itself to be an extremely effective therapeutic modality, with over 30 positive outcome studies that have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating PTSD. In recent years, EMDR therapy has been used as a very versatile treatment, demonstrating successful treatment outcomes in treating anxiety, panic, depression, addiction, healing past relationship wounds, body image, grief and loss, and more.
Re-processing targeted memories using dual stimulation
EMDR therapy uses dual stimulation (DAS) in order to help the brain re-process targeted memories through the use of eye movements, or other dual stimulation techniques such as the activation of left and right hands through subtle vibrations, and/or hearing tones in the left and right ears. The type of dual stimulation is determined by the therapist and client, in accordance with client preferences.
Dual stimulation is believed to be effective in processing distressing memories because it is said to replicate the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
As the targeted memory is processed, the brain naturally associates other connected associations/thoughts/images, eventually emotionally processing and transforming the original target memory into one that evokes less pain, and often a different and more adaptive perspective on events from the past. For instance, a rape survivor shifts from blaming herself, feeling shame, disgust and guilt for what happened, to holding the more adaptive belief that “I survived and it wasn’t my fault.”
EMDR is different than talk therapy because the insights that clients gain are not a result of the therapists interpretation, but rather of the client’s own emotional and intellectual interpretation that is achieved through processing the targeted memory through EMDR. EMDR involves the client’s natural memory networks in the healing process, thus providing space for client’s to access their own resourcefulness and natural ability to heal themselves, leaving the client more empowered and having a more embodied experience of the new adaptive belief. EMDR involves not only the mind, but also the body in the healing process, bringing heightened awareness to the body/mind connection, and releasing stuck emotions and memories from the body that often keep the mind stuck, which leads to greater embodiment.
Meet our Practitioner
Ana Balzar is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who believes in the mind/body connection as the gateway into true and sustained healing. Ana uses EMDR with her clients because it supports the perspective that each individual has the resources within themselves to heal and move forward in the direction of their desired life, and it recognizes the interconnection between the mind and the body, and integrates it naturally into the treatment. Ana has personally witnessed the transformations that have occurred in her clients with the help of EMDR, and she is passionate about continuing to support her client’s goals in treatment through the use of this treatment modality.