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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Effective Treatment for PTSD and Trauma

Oct 27, 2013 05:50AM

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that is listed in the new Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Practice Guidelines as highly recommended or category “A”, for the treatment of trauma, panic attacks, grief and depression. EMDR is a neuropsychological approach to trauma resolution.

EMDR helps to access and activate the intrinsic healing process. Many have referred to this natural healing ability as the “inner healer." EMDR allows an individual to rapidly resolve trauma that is believed to reside within the body—whether we consider that to be in the nervous system, chakras or energy field.

When we are able to desensitize and reprocess painful experiences, we integrate and resolve them. Even though we still remember the experiences, they cease to be disturbing. EMDR does not just reduce symptoms, it resolves trauma at its core level. MRI studies have shown that individuals experiencing high levels of distress have emotional centers in the brain that appear like they are on fire. This is because the brain works too hard trying to process an emotion that is "frozen" in a part of the brain. EMDR stimulates both hemispheres of the brain and activates the nervous system, to reorganize the memories in a part of the brain that is more efficient. It then stores the memory without producing negative symptoms. Most clients report an immediate improvement after only one session. After an average of six sessions, an MRI scan shows a significant change in the emotional centers of the brain where the memories were once stored.

EMDR works by inducing bilateral brain stimulation within the client. This can be done by eye-movements, tapping or listening to alternating tones while wearing headphones. While bilateral stimulation is happening, the client focuses on trauma, anxiety, grief or whatever they may be experiencing at that time, and the clinician helps to anchor a positive resource state during this process. EMDR is often a time-efficient treatment option. Once the necessary history, treatment planning, and preparation have been completed, most clients experience EMDR’s effectiveness almost immediately.

The therapeutic effectiveness of EMDR therapy is well documented. Practitioners note that EMDR accesses the subconscious mind where 80 percent of information is stored, relaxes the client and allows them to go into self-hypnosis. This neurologically, emotionally and spiritually changes the negative patterning within the client. The client changes the past and present way of being, but they will also change the way they react to and create future events. Therefore, a client that comes in with a severe case of PTSD will not only resolve the trauma but leave with a new profound sense of empowerment. It is essential to be sure an EMDR therapist has completed the proper training. This can be verified by going to Once a clinician is certified, they will be listed on this official website.

For more information or to schedule a free consultation with Rebecca Norris, call 301-876-3475 or visit


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