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Sand Dunes
Power Psychology

EMDR Auckland
(Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing)

Have you tried traditional talk therapy, read all the self-help books, practiced all the skills, but still feel like something is missing? That there is a block to the change you desperately crave?

Are you frustrated by lingering emotional challenges you can’t quite shake?

Do you keep sabotaging your relationships or picking partners that aren't emotionally available?

Have you found it difficult to move past unhelpful behaviors or patterns despite multiple attempts?

Are there experiences from your past that you suspect are still impacting your well-being today?

If any of the above resonate with you, then EMDR therapy is likely a good fit for you! 

EMDR therapy goes beyond talk therapy. It delves into the root cause of your challenges, releasing the emotional weight of your past, achieving a deeper healing and transformation in your life.

What is EMDR?

EMDR assumes that our minds and bodies have an innate ability to heal. For instance, if you cut your arm, the body knows how to heal so long as nothing gets in its way (e.g., infection). This is also true for our minds. However, when a person is under substantial emotional or physical pain, our innate processing system can shut down, and therefore processing is not possible. EMDR posits that this results in distressing experiences becoming “stuck”, which can result in emotional, psychological, or physiological difficulties.

EMDR therapy facilitates the reprocessing of these memories, enabling individuals to integrate them in a healthier and more adaptive way. EMDR is a somatic therapy. It posits that ‘memories’ are not just held in the mind, but also the body. EMDR draws upon the brain’s ability to constantly learn and update past experiences with present information. It integrates the “stuck” experience with information and learning that the individual has accumulated in later years. Have you ever felt like logically you know something, but it doesn’t feel true. For example, you may know that something wasn’t your fault, yet you can’t help feeling as though it was. EMDR aims to integrate these experiences so what you know, and feel are consistent. EMDR also builds resilience for future events by strengthening the person’s inner connection to positive thoughts and feelings.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

What can EMDR therapy help with?

EMDR was initially developed to treat PTSD. There is extensive research to support its efficacy in this area and the World Health Organization lists EMDR as one of its preferred treatments for PTSD.

EMDR is also effective with many other presentations, including anxiety, phobias, depression, and chronic pain. It is also effective with non-clinical presentations, such as low self-esteem, difficulty engaging in healthy relationships, reactivity, aggression and many more. EMDR is a ‘trauma treatment’, therefore it assumes that current day difficulties are a result of passed disturbing events. You can read more about what disturbing events may look like here.

What does EMDR therapy look like in practice?

There are eight phases to EMDR therapy, which can broadly be grouped into three stages.

The first stage involves the therapist taking a detailed history and inquiring about your goals of therapy, as well as your current coping skills. We identify key memories that contribute to your current day difficulties. This information will inform our treatment plan.  During this stage education regarding EMDR is provided, and the client learns strategies to support them during the following phases.

The second phase involves active processing of the key memories identified. We begin by identifying thoughts/beliefs, images, emotions, and physical sensations associated with the target memory. Processing of the memory is then facilitated with bilateral stimulation (BLS). BLS is typically achieved using eye movements, but we can also use other forms such as tapping or sounds.  During the processing the client becomes sensitized to the memory and often new thoughts/perspectives, sensations, images, and feelings may emerge.

The last phase involves integration of the new, more positive beliefs about the situation, others, or self. We ensure these are generalized to other areas of the person’s worldview and self-concept. The integration phase is crucial for ensuring that the healing achieved during the reprocessing phase becomes a lasting part of the individual's emotional landscape. It is a period of reflection, consolidation, and preparation for moving forward with the newfound emotional resilience and adaptive beliefs that EMDR therapy can bring. This phase can also include teaching of practical coping skills to support managing future distress.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing | Power Psychology
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing | Power Psychology

Why choose EMDR therapy over traditional talk therapies?

Efficiency! EMDR therapy targets the root cause of presenting difficulties rather than the symptoms. If you think of your collective difficulties as a tree. Targeting the symptoms would be like cutting off a leaf. While you may get some relief, it will likely grow back because the tree still stands. EMDR attempts to target the root of the tree. By addressing the root, it then generalizes (i.e., kills off) to the rest of the tree. This results in lasting results. Once a memory is processed, it can’t be unprocessed. So while you won't forget it, it won't hold the emotional charge it once did.  

EMDR is a somatic therapy. It is based on the premise that trauma is stored in the body. Therefore, talk therapies will only get you so far. This was my experience with many of my clients prior to finding EMDR. Talk therapy was beneficial, yet I often felt that they needed something more. They needed a release, a deeper insight, that talk therapy couldn’t provide. But EMDR could!

Other benefits over traditional talk therapies:

  • You don’t need to discuss the distressing events in detail.

  • Research indicates that EMDR is quicker in achieving desired outcomes compared to other types of therapies.

  • You don’t need to do homework tasks… well not often.  

Can EMDR therapy be used in conjunction with other therapies?

Yes! Again, depending on your presenting difficulties the clinician will tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs which could include other therapy modalities. Often components of CBT, DBT, and ACT are used to teach practical strategies to manage future difficulties, should they arise.

How many sessions will I need?

With any type of therapy, the number of sessions varies depending on the complexity of your presentation as well as your specific goals. For example, if you only wanted to address one specific, isolated memory, this could be achieved in approximately three to four sessions. However, if you have long standing difficulties, or a variety, then longer term input would be required. Most people would benefit from at least 8-12 sessions. This can be discussed following your initial assessment.

Can EMDR therapy be done online?

Yes. You will need either a laptop, computer, or large tablet, as well as a stable internet connection. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing | Power Psychology

Milford, Auckland 0620

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