Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy


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In our story about Abigail’s recovery from a head injury resulting from domestic violence, Abigail said her treatment included Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy. We’d like to explain more about this treatment approach.

EMDR is an evidence-based treatment proven to be effective for the resolution of Post Traumatic Stress.

EMDR was originally developed as a technique useful in in relieving the after-effects of military combat, sexual and physical violence, car accidents and natural disasters. Over the past 25 years, EMDR has continued to evolve as it is used by practitioners around the world.  EMDR Therapy is being found to be effective with a number of issues, including  phobias, addictions, depression, and phantom limb pain.

Unresolved disturbing life events are stored in the  brain with the original feelings and perceptions as when the event occurred. The 8 phase treatment process accesses the person’s innate healing capacity. One of the unique aspects  of EMDR Therapy is the use of eye movements or tapping. This increases a person’s  mindfulness as it jump-starts the brain’s information processing system.  The disturbing feelings and sensations are cleaned away, and the client comes to a new understanding of the event, with a new, adaptive view of themselves in present time.

Presently, of the 26 therapists on staff at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 10 are trained and practicing EMDR therapy, and three are certified.

Watch this public service announcement about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.


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