EMDR Therapy

in Arlington Heights, IL

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a therapeutic approach that facilitates the body’s natural ability to process and heal traumatic memories. Francine Shapiro pioneered this therapeutic approach originally to treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but it is also used to effectively reduce symptoms for a range of mental health problems. EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model which posits that when we experience trauma, our brains store the memories incorrectly.

These memory networks affect how we experience the world in the present and form the basis of perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs about the traumatic event. When traumatic memories are stored incorrectly, present-day triggers can make us feel as though the traumatic event is happening in the here-and-now. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (BLS) to replicate the processing that occurs in the brain during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. In this way, clients are able to reprocess the traumatic memories and eliminate dysfunctional responses in the present.

What Happens in an EMDR Session?

It’s important to note that EMDR is a therapeutic approach not a technique. It is an 8 phase, 3 prong approach that incorporates aspects of other theoretical orientations including Cognitive Behavioral, Psychodynamic, Experiential, and Systems theories, among others. During the first 2 phases, the clinician and client will meet several times to establish and strengthen the therapeutic alliance, and to gather information related to the symptoms the client is experiencing. In the third phase, the clinician and client will talk about the mechanics of BLS, which can include following the clinician’s fingers, tapping, or tones. The fourth stage begins desensitization and ends with the seventh phase, which is closure. The eighth is done and the process can be repeated as needed.

Therapy Dog
Throughout all the stages, the client is at complete control, and the clinician will check in with the client to evaluate the client’s response to what is happening. Clients may experience changes in thoughts, feelings, and images during the session and the traumatic memory tends to change in such a way that it becomes less disturbing and ultimately a neutral memory of a past event. Associated memories may also heal at the same time, leading to rapid and dramatic improvement in symptoms.

What Does the Research Say?

EMDR is a well-researched, evidence-based therapeutic approach. Research includes its effectiveness in treating combat veterans with PTSD and developmental trauma,its efficacy for cancer patients when compared to CBT, and more recently, EEG imaging showing physical changes in the brain that correspond to significant relief from negative emotions. Links to more research are below.

Understanding EMDR Therapy and the Benefits of These Treatment Modalities

This psychotherapy can help people heal from emotional distress and its symptoms caused by a traumatic event. The benefits of EMDR therapy are many and include effective recovery from trauma, addressing anxiety thinking, improving perspective on self, and not requiring excessive talking (such as during traditional therapy or group therapy sessions).

How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) works by helping trauma survivors reprocess their stored memories by creating new connections to ultimately reduce the stress associated with the trauma. By creating a safe environment, an EMDR therapist will guide you through your own experiences through a series of side-to-side eye movements as you recall a traumatic or stressful moment. These eye movements change how your brain recalls the trauma to become desensitized to the stressful or traumatic experience.

EMDR, followed by mental health counseling, can help survivors work through their feelings associated with past traumas.

Specialized EMDR Therapy Services Offered at Lighthouse Emotional Wellness

This well-researched evidence-based therapy is effective in helping victims of many types of trauma and can also be applicable for children. We offer specialized EMDR therapy services where the client stays in complete control while our EMDR therapists walk them through changes in images, feelings, and thoughts during the therapy session so that traumatic memories can change.

Exploring the Connection Between EMDR Therapy and Emotional Wellness

EMDR therapy works best for trauma survivors and those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It has also been proven effective for the following mental health problems:

  • Grief
  • Eating disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Anger management

Emotional wellness cannot be met when someone is suffering from unprocessed past trauma and poor mental health. Overall wellness encompasses the physical, emotional, and psychological wellness of a human being. EMDR therapy in Arlington Heights IL, can help with a person’s overall well-being, create less stress, and create a personal power in emotional regulation.

Addressing Common Misconceptions About EMDR Therapy

Seeking treatment for trauma can feel overwhelming, especially when considering a treatment vastly different from traditional talk therapy and individual therapy. Many misconceptions and myths surround EMDR therapy. Some of the common misconceptions and myths about EMDR include the following:

  • EMDR is brand new. While it is becoming more well-known, EMDR was developed more than 30 years ago.
  • EMDR is hypnosis. EMDR is not hypnosis but rather bilateral stimulation using both sides of the body to stimulate the brain to reprocess information.
  • EMDR creates false memories. EMDR recalls memories and trains the brain to make new connections but does not create memories not already there.
  • EMDR is only for PTSD. Many clients who suffer from PTSD benefit from EMDR, but EMDR is also used to treat chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and many other concerns.

The Role of Expert Therapists in Guiding the EMDR Therapy Process

A trained therapist carefully guides clients through a series of protocols that address adverse life experiences and traumatic memories. These specific protocols include identifying distressing thoughts, images, body sensations, and emotions associated with the trauma. EMDR is not to be performed without the help of a professional.

Additional Counseling and Therapy Services Available at Lighthouse Emotional Wellness

The professional therapists at Lighthouse Emotional Wellness offer extensive experience and a variety of services outside of EMDR therapy. These services include:

  • Therapy for adults and children
  • Family Counseling
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Couples Coaching
  • Marriage Counseling

No matter your emotional wellness needs, our skilled professional therapists are available to assist you in your healing process.

EMDR Therapy at Lighthouse Emotional Wellness

Trauma can create lasting effects on the human brain, leaving your emotional wellness in a state of constant distress. EMDR therapy at Lighthouse Emotional Wellness can benefit your emotional well being and overall health. Contact us today using our fast online contact form to see if EMDR therapy can benefit you.

Other Services

couples synergy marriage counseling kadkhodaian schaumburg illinois

Couples Coaching

The Couples Synergy program by Dr. Ray & Jean Kadkhodaian is designed to revitalize marriages and bring back passion and excitement again in relationships.

family counseling schaumburg illinois

Child Therapy

Our child therapists use different techniques to help children open up about how they feel and navigate the challenges in their lives.

emdr therapy

EMDR Therapy

Our therapists use the EMDR therapeutic model to help clients explore, process, and heal traumatic memories through their bodies' natural abilities.