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EMDR: A Way to Heal the Past and Enjoy the Present


By Christina Johnson

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy effective for trauma, addiction, mood disorders, pain and phobias. Positive results occur relatively quickly.

A patient may expect to find satisfactory completion within seven to ten sessions. Training in EMDR is only possible for those who are licensed and trained as mental health professionals.

EMDR’s methods include the targeting of disturbing memories in order to desensitize them and ultimately, heal them. EMDR also includes discovering and changing negative beliefs, paying close attention to messages from the body and bilateral stimulation. The original memory is gradually reduced to the simple recall of the event without distress and negative associations.

The therapist assists the patient by coaching him/her in mindfulness and body awareness, and by teaching ways to self-soothe and emotionally self-regulate. Using the EMDR protocol, new neurological pathways are formed in the brain, and the negative event is transformed to a memory that no longer has significant impact.

EMDR is not a “talk” therapy. Of course, there is talking during the sessions, but the real work is not accomplished by talking much about the past or family history. Important client history is noted during the first couple of meetings, and then the focus changes to reprocessing and resolving the issue.

I find that many clients are dealing with anxiety that is provoked by the present world situation, rather than the past. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and the real terrors related to war and refugees affect many people, especially those who are already vulnerable and sensitive. Another benefit of EMDR is becoming more resilient. Resilient people laugh more often, take action, and are often looking to be a heartening agent of change in this turbulent world.

Each year, I attend the National EMDR Conference in the USA. This year, the conference theme is about facing challenges in today’s world. The conference presenters are addressing new factors in the field of psychology including epigenetics and treatment for compassion fatigue. (Never heard of compassion fatigue? See for more information.)

I hope to do a presentation when I return, and share any solutions or new discoveries that contribute to a brighter future and a healthier mind. Call Christina Johnson for an appointment, 154 9085, or email


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