Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is a “distressing event in which a person feels severely threatened emotionally, psychologically, or physically. Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, such as a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster.”¹ Many people recover from trauma with time and support from loved ones. But others experience lasting effects from the trauma, and they may continue to live with deep emotional pain, confusion, fear, or post-traumatic stress far after the event has passed. “Often, the support, guidance, and assistance of mental health professionals is fundamental to healing from trauma. “¹

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress is “the psychological reaction to a severely stressful and physically threatening event that often results in anxiety, flashbacks, hypervigilance, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns for an extended period of time. People who experience PTSD may continue to feel afraid or anxious even when no danger is present.”¹

Here at Cornerstone, we offer two specific forms of treatment for trauma: EMDR and Brainspotting.

Following is some information about EMDR:

1. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

What is it?

This method was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, and is a “research-supported, integrative psychotherapy approach designed to treat symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress. EMDR sessions follow a specific sequence of phases, and practitioners use bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, to help the client process unresolved memories from adverse experiences. EMDR can be used to address any number of concerns, and it is compatible with other types of therapy.”¹

How does it work?

In essence, some memories associated with traumatic life experiences may remain unprocessed due to the high level of disturbance experienced at the time of the event. This stored memory may be linked to emotions, negative cognitions, and physical sensations experienced during the event. This may affect the way a person responds to similar future adverse experiences. “Through EMDR therapy, these fragmented memories can be reprocessed so that they become more coherent and less disruptive.”¹

Who can benefit?

EMDR is a therapy tool that has been shown to be effective for various kinds of issues, especially for individuals dealing with:

  • All forms of trauma
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger
  • Fears and phobias
  • Chronic pain
  • Substance abuse
  • Sports performance issues


¹Information and quotations taken from www.GoodTherapy.org 

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