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What is EMDR?

Francine Shapiro, PhD, an American psychologist, developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy as a breakthrough therapy with special capacity to overcome the often devastating effects of psychological trauma in the late 1980s. An ever-growing community of therapists soon saw directly its power to transform lives. At the same time, controlled research studies consistently demonstrated its efficacy and effectiveness. For many therapists who took up this therapy, EMDR felt like a “gift” to themselves and their clients, and they were eager to “pay it forward” by spreading the word to colleagues.

Initially, EMDR was utilized and studied as a therapy for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which was itself a relatively new diagnosis for an age-old human affliction. More than 20 controlled clinical trials of EMDR therapy have now been completed and reported, attesting to its value and demonstrating its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures for post-traumatic stress disorders. Tens of thousands of clinicians have been trained in EMDR therapy and have applied the defining protocols of this psychotherapy to many other conditions, including: Personality disorders, eating disorders, panic attacks, performance anxiety, complicated grief, stress reduction, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, addictions, phobias, pain disorders, sexual and/or physical abuse and body dismorphic disorders.

EMDR therapy is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy that facilitates adaptive information processing. EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies. EMDR incorporates the use of bilateral stimulation in the form of guided eye movements, or bilateral tactile or auditory stimulation.  Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive.

During this procedure, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. This often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long held negative thoughts about the self. For example, an assault victim may come to realize that he was not to blame for what happened, that the event is really over, and, as a result he can regain a general sense of safety in his world.  Since the development of EMDR therapy, many adaptations of the therapy have been established to address particular types of psychological problems, but all specialized applications rest on EMDR’s basic protocols and concept of adaptive information processing.

What is Brainspotting?

"Where you look affects how you feel."  Brainspotting is a therapy approach that works by helping clients identify points in the visual field that help to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain.  Brainspotting was discovered in 2003 by David Grand, Ph.D.  Now over 13,000 therapists have been trained in BSP (52 internationally), in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa. 

In Brainspotting the therapist works with the client locate, focus, process and release a wide range of emotionally and bodily-based conditions.  Brainspotting makes use of the therapeutic relationship to enhance focused mindfulness in combination with finding the appropriate "brainspot" for harnessing one's natural self-scanning and self-healing ability.  When a brainspot is stimulated, the deep brain appears to reflexively signal the client and the therapist that the source of the problem has been found.  Brainspotting can also be used to find and strengthen our natural resources and resilience. 

Phil has completed Phase 1 Brainspotting training and given the remarkable response by many clients to this approach, he plans to continue to an advanced level of training.

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