Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and brainspotting are treatments that work by identifying and processing neurophysiological sources of trauma, emotion, pain and challenges. Through this process, we can locate and focus on symptoms or experiences that aren’t always reachable in the conscious mind, using neurobiology.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is an 8-phase treatment that starts with assessing eye movement. The theory is that there are spots in the brain that trigger negative thoughts or memories and by monitoring eye movement, therapists can pinpoint these brainspots, working to alleviate these feelings.
This type of therapy encourages patients to focus on their trauma memory (briefly) while experiencing bilateral stimulation (eye movements), to help reduce the vividness and emotion(s) associated with trauma.
What is brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a therapeutic tool that helps to access unprocessed trauma through recognition of eye positioning. Eye positions point to where anxiety, depression, trauma, and other behavioral challenges are stored in the brain. This helps identify where to focus and aids the brain in processing.
How does EMDR and brainspotting work?
During treatment, the patient and therapist start with Phase 1: History-taking. From there, the therapists prepares the client (Phase 2), assesses the target memory (Phase 3) and then throughout Phases 4-7 the memory is processes to adaptive resolution. At the end of treatment (Phase 8) the therapist evaluates treatment results and next steps.
Processing of a specific memory is generally completed within one to three sessions. EMDR therapy differs from other trauma-focused treatments in that it does not include extended exposure to the distressing memory, detailed descriptions of the trauma, challenging of dysfunctional beliefs or homework assignments.
Who can benefit from EMDR and brainspotting?
EMDR was developed to help with anxiety and trauma but can be used for many different experiences. It is a therapy that can work for men and women. EMDR can also be used in conjunction with other therapy treatments. It can also be a good option for those who are not as comfortable with talking about their feelings or experiences.
EMDR is not one-size-fits all. Learn about our therapists who specialize in EMDR and brainspotting to see if this is a good option for your therapy needs.