EMDR therapy is a well-researched and evidence-based treatment that has provided incredible results for individuals who have experienced various types of traumatic events or distressing memories. In EMDR therapy, we follow the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which acknowledges the brain's innate capacity to heal and move toward wholeness.
Francine Shapiro, the creator of EMDR Therapy and the AIP model, suggests that symptoms of trauma are a result of the incomplete processing of traumatic memories in our brains. These “stuck'' memories become part of a network of memories that inform how we see and experience the world. The good news is, memory networks can also be adaptive when they are connected to positive and healthy memories. EMDR helps rewire the brain, healing maladaptive memories to create adaptive ones. This can bring significant relief. EMDR therapy considers that our mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, and by engaging these aspects of our being, we can unlock our full potential for recovery and growth.
Before delving into processing traumatic memories, EMDR therapy focuses on resourcing – an emotional regulation tool that taps into your internal strengths, positive memories, and helpful resources. Resourcing techniques are used throughout the EMDR process as well, and aim to engage and soothe your nervous system, laying a foundation of safety and calm.
We activate your resources in a peaceful and enlightening way through slow bilateral stimulation techniques, such as back-and-forth tapping, vibration, eye movements, or sound. No trauma is brought up in resourcing. Instead, it’s a time to tap into positive, hopeful, and pleasing qualities of life. It will almost immediately bring feelings of relaxation, peace, calm, and relief. Resourcing is simple enough to do between sessions, to help build your capacity to cope with difficult moments on your own.
During resourcing, we explore a variety of beneficial resources, such as:
Imagine a sanctuary where you feel safe, at ease, relaxed, and at peace. It can be a favorite place in nature, a cherished memory, or even an entirely imagined setting. This resource serves as your sanctuary of safety.
Choose a nurturing figure – a person or character – that represents care, protection, safety, and love. It could be a role model, a supportive person in your life, a spiritual/religious figure, or even an archetype from pop culture. The nurturing figure provides a sense of comfort and support.
Similar to the nurturing figure, the protective figure symbolizes strength, resilience, and security. It can be a superhero, a guardian angel, a mythological character, or a figure embodying protection and safety.
Animals often exemplify unconditional love and instinctual protection. Connect with an animal resource that evokes positive emotions of love, joy, and comfort. It can be a cherished pet, a favorite animal, or even a mythical creature.
Create a symbol of containment – a container such as a safe, a wooden chest, or a sealed box. This resource represents the ability to safely hold and manage difficult memories, sensations, emotions, thoughts, or addiction cravings. Visualize placing anything negative or challenging into the container, granting you power and control over overwhelming symptoms.
The beauty of EMDR therapy lies in understanding that the brain has an inherent drive to heal. Through bilateral stimulation and the resourcing phase, we tap into the brain's remarkable ability to process and integrate experiences, releasing the emotional weight of past traumas or distressing memories. By doing so, we pave the way for profound shifts, allowing you to engage with life, emotions, and relationships in ways that may have felt previously impossible.
-Francine Shapiro, creator of EMDR
Providing Somatic Therapy in Los Angeles and all of California
The mind, body and spirit are all woven together. To heal one, we must learn to honor and listen to the others. On Your Journey to Healing, I’m Here to Help.