My interest in EMDR started with a conversation with my brother-in-law who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing EMDR. As we discussed the different struggles that presented by our clients, he mentioned an effective intervention for their struggles, EMDR; and it effectiveness with clients who have experienced trauma.
It had seemed to me, as I treated clients who had experienced trauma with talk therapy, that the client sometimes experienced a certain level of re-traumatization. It seemed to me that there had to be a more effective way to desensitize, deescalate or calm their emotional reaction to the memory, as my brother-in-law described how EMDR worked, my questions were addressed. EMDR seemed to be the treatment modality I was seeking.
Still a little skeptical, I looked into training in EMDR and attended training in EMDR of Greater Washington, D.C. During the training the workshop participants use the EMDR protocol, and I decided to go there and face some of my own issues. While I was still skeptical, it made sense to test the process and use the modality for myself.
During my time serving in the United States Navy I had experienced some trauma and had been carrying it with me for many years, angry outbursts, irritability, and nightmares were my emotional experiences that were associated with those memories. Using the eight-step protocol my fellow trainee acted as the as the therapist, and I was the client. I targeted a real picture of that experience and, in that training, I cleared the ongoing emotional responses associated with that traumatic event. More importantly, my symptoms dissipated and actually stopped. From that point on I was all-in when it came to using EMDR because my experience of the process was so effective within a short period of time.
EMDR is very effective with anxiety, phobias (fear of flying, fear of driving, being in crowded stores). I also found that it is effective in working with addictions, and compulsive behaviors.
I am amazed at how the treatment process allows the brain to do what it needs to do – heal. EMDR gets the therapist and the client out of the way of the healing process. The healing process is actually that traumatic memory being unstuck and thereby able to access the adaptive information that is available in our brain and desensitize our reactivity to the event.