“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”
-Thich Nhat Han
What Is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a highly effective psychotherapy treatment that can help people resolve single incident and developmental trauma, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This evidence-based, highly researched, proven method of treating trauma was created by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. Today, EMDR treatment is one of the most widely used forms of trauma therapy in the U.S. and has been declared as the first line of treatment for PTSD by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The EMDR Process
While no one understands exactly how or why EMDR works so effectively, extensive research suggests that EMDR helps the mind heal from psychological trauma much like the body heals from physical trauma. The process involves bilateral stimulation, which can be done visually, auditorily or tactically, and invokes a relaxation response in the body. While in a physically relaxed, yet neurologically stimulated state, one of our highly trained and experienced trauma therapists guides you through the trauma using a specific process and protocol. Studies show that this process creates new neural pathways in the brain and moves the traumatic memories from the short-term memory into long-term memory. As a result, while you will still remember what happened, the traumatic memories will not have the same effect, and their visual and auditory qualities will be dulled.
Because EMDR also promotes the regulation of the nervous system, rather than continuing to experience uncomfortable symptoms and emotional distress, you’ll begin to feel less reactive. You’ll no longer be hit with jolts of fear, overwhelming sadness or debilitating shame or rage. Your stomach unclenches, the lump in your throat softens, the weight on your heart lightens and your hunched shoulders drop. The negative views of yourself in relationship to the incident(s) are reframed into positive ones. Rather than feeling in danger, you know that you are safe. And, instead of carrying around regret, shame, guilt or even self-loathing, you can begin to perceive yourself differently in relationship to the trauma and believe that you are worthy. Through this process, it truly is possible to leave trauma in the past and move on.
As highly trained, skilled and experienced therapists who specialize in trauma treatment, we know both personally and professionally the effectiveness of EMDR. It can have immediate and dramatic effects. Initially, many clients come into sessions experiencing extreme distress, feeling as though they’ll never be able to resolve trauma. After the EMDR process, they leave with a positive shift in how they think and feel.
While EMDR has primarily been used to treat single incident trauma, we also use it to treat developmental trauma—ongoing, long-term trauma usually created through abuse or neglect in childhood—and have witnessed amazing results. This powerful tool accesses the miraculous healing powers of the body. It truly helps you tap into your body’s ability to process trauma and heal itself.
Our EMDR and Trauma Therapy Practice
We provide a safe, supportive space for you to finally resolve trauma, and we bring decades of both personal and professional experience to our practice. Before beginning EMDR sessions, you and your trauma therapist will collaboratively decide if and when you are ready to engage in the process. With single incident trauma, we can often begin the work immediately; however, with teenagers and adults who have experienced PTSD, complex trauma or developmental trauma, we may take a few sessions to build a trusting relationship as you harness your innate strength and tap into your resiliency. As skilled practitioners, we may also integrate other highly effective methods for treating trauma, such as Mindfulness Therapy, Somatic Therapy and Attachment Repair Therapy.
We understand that everyone experiences and heals from trauma differently which is why we’ll create a trauma treatment strategy that best addresses and supports your specific experience with trauma and unique history, personality, values, needs and therapy goals. We stay current on EMDR and cutting edge trauma research and are continually engaging in workshops and advanced trainings to help us best support our clients. Above all, we bring compassion, safety, kindness and complete presence to the work we do with all clients. We know that building a trusting and safe therapeutic relationship is the key to successful trauma treatment. Your therapist will meet you where you are emotionally and foster a supportive, loving and trusting relationship from which to build the therapeutic.
We know how distressing trauma can be. However, from over 25 years of treating trauma and engaging in our personal healing processes, we also know the healing power of EMDR and other trauma therapy modalities. You don’t have to live with trauma anymore. You can heal from the inside out and tap into the innate strength that lives within you. With the guidance and support of a compassionate and experienced trauma therapist and an approach or combination of approaches that resonate with you, you can resolve trauma. It is possible to feel safe, calm, confident, worthy, healthy and whole.
Move Into A Bigger, Brighter Future
You no longer need to try to manage painful feelings or make sense of trauma on your own. If you’re in Los Angeles, CA or the surrounding area, we can help. We invite you to call our office at 310-339-5812 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and answer any questions you have about EMDR therapy, other approaches to trauma treatment and our practice.