Most people notice that stress can cause headaches, and anxiety can cause that fluttering deep in your belly. Maybe you’ve heard the story of a widow who died from “a broken heart”?
The link between the mind and body is something that is trendy to Western medicine but integral in most indigenous cultures around the World.
I was recently trained in an evidence-based therapy called EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR was discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1987 and it can help to heal your most distressing memories by jump-starting the mind-body connection. The thing that most people enjoy about the therapy is that there’s less talk and more results in reducing your stress!
How does it work and what’s up with the eye movement piece?
Well, one of the key parts of this therapy is bilateral stimulation used to engage both sides of the brain in the healing process. Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) or Dual Attention Stimulation (DAS) can be achieved through side-to-side eye movements OR different tools that engage a client’s hands (like alternating buzzers). Your therapy session will focus on targeting distressing thoughts or memories while desensitizing the emotional charge and engaging the brain.
It may sound like it’s something out of a Sci-Fi movie but it is not as weird as it seems! Most therapists who are EMDR trained rave about the treatment because during training, we have to undergo a round of EMDR ourselves. The results are really different from what I have ever seen in 10 years of therapy experience!
Since 1987, extensive research has been done on EMDR targeting various problems and populations of people. According to the EMDR International Association, it has been “designated as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Association (WHO), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and more.
If you’re interested in trying EMDR therapy, call The Haven Center at 443-798-2450 or search on Psychology Today for an EMDRIA trained therapist in your area.