Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy in Ambler, PA
After traumatic experiences, the mind actually has a wound that needs to be healed. This wound isn’t visible from the outside, but inside, you may be experiencing issues like cyclic thinking (having the same thoughts over and over), changes in mood or behavior, difficulty interacting with specific people, and other emotional, mental, and physical effects. When you visit us for EMDR therapy in our Ambler, PA practice, you can start healing the wounds left by trauma, so you can feel like yourself again. EMDR therapy works best when you are open and ready for healing as we guide you through memories and feelings, but EMDR therapy is not meant to feel overwhelming or painful. In fact, the setting in our offices is quite comforting. You can also do online sessions from the comfort of your own home.
Our therapists provide this leading-edge service in our office for residents of Montgomery County, but if you live further out and still want to receive therapy using this advanced technique, we can provide EMDR counseling for all of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado, using our online telehealth platform. Learn more about EMDR therapy on this page, or you can contact us anytime to schedule a consultation.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. That’s a lot of words! Basically, EMDR helps your brain get unstuck from spinning on the trauma memories. When we are threatened, the part of the brain that manages logical thought and memories, the hippocampus, goes offline. The brain’s alarm bell, the amygdala, goes into survival mode, sending us into the response pattern that is often called fight, flight or freeze.
With the logical part of the brain taking a backseat to the alarm bell, memories cannot be processed effectively. This is why trauma survivors often have intrusive flashbacks that come back over and over. The brain is trying to process the memories, but those memories are stuck in the alert part of the brain. These memories are overwhelming, frightening, and painful, so people try to manage them on their own possibly using drugs, alcohol, sex, panic attacks, nightmares, or isolation to cope.
What Does EMDR Do?
In short, EMDR creates safety for your brain to process memories. The traumatic memories are frozen in the alarm part of your brain, and you need to feel a sense of safety in order to allow the amygdala to relax enough to give the logical, processing area of your brain freedom to do its thing. EMDR therapy starts with a few sessions of your therapist getting to know you and your specific story, making sure EMDR is a good fit for you. Your therapist will help you learn skills to handle stress that comes along with PTSD counseling, as well as work to make sure you feel safe and comfortable in the therapy office.
After you and your therapist agree EMDR is appropriate for you, processing can begin. Those processing sessions involve stimulating both sides of your brain. This can be your therapist asking you to follow her fingers with your eyes, using “pulsers” small paddle like things you hold in your hand that vibrate slightly, or sometimes a light bar where you follow a light with your eyes. Whichever method is used, you are activating both sides of your brain while you keep the image of the trauma memories in your mind. It’s as if you are on a train watching the scenery go by – you’re not directly participating, more watching from a distance. The safety with your therapist and the emotional distance from the memories allows your brain to work through past events in a new way, bringing new perspectives.
In our office Katie Bailey, LPC is trained and experienced in providing EMDR, and she uses EMDR, because it is a well-researched, effective treatment for PTSD. When you participate in EMDR, you may begin notice some relief of your PTSD symptoms in only a couple of weeks! EMDR involves less talking, and often, works more quickly than traditional talk therapy.
Every EMDR therapy session can be different, but during your first EMDR session, you can expect to talk about your history and treatment plan. Typically, this includes:
Getting to know your therapist. This is important in a step to becoming open and vulnerable to allow for healing.
Talking about your childhood. Phase 1 of EMDR is the history-taking part of treatment. This might feel uncomfortable but it’s an important step in recalling your memories and uncovering emotions.
Discussing negative beliefs. Bring these beliefs to the table so your therapist can help you combat them.
Sharing disturbing issues, events, feelings, and memories. Be prepared to talk to your therapist about distressing events, issues, situations, feelings, and memories. Your discussion should include past challenges and present troubles.
Who is a good candidate for EMDR?
Good candidates for EMDR therapy are those who might need help acutely and generally have gone through a single traumatic event. Though, these are just guidelines and can include anyone outside of them. As a candidate, it’s important to know that it’s ok to be nervous. This process uncovers uncomfortable feelings and memories, however it shouldn’t feel overwhelming or painful.
The success of your sessions will also depend on your willingness to be open and vulnerable with your therapist. This may seem scary, but you are the one in control.
It’s a good idea to continue or develop a healthy lifestyle while undergoing EMDR therapy. Breathing exercises and meditation are two good areas to start.
Effective therapy is not meant to re-traumatize you or leave you feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. Due to the nature of EMDR therapy people often recall memories they haven’t remembered for a long time. It’s also possible that you may experience unusual dreams shortly after an EMDR therapy session.
How Does EMDR Work?
In this video, Katies helps explain how EMDR works. Katie is trained in EMDR, and she uses it regularly with her trauma clients. She has seen improvements for many clients with this type of treatment.
Further Reading on EMDR & Trauma
Read more about EMDR therapy and trauma in our blog posts:
By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC We all know how hard life is sometimes. No one escapes struggles and heartaches. Sometimes those experiences are big “T” traumas, like sexual assaults, plane crashes, or public shootings. More often, people have to deal with little “t”...
Additional Counseling Services at
Lime Tree Counseling
In addition to EMDR therapy for survivors of abuse and trauma, we also provide a range of therapy solutions, including:
Many people fight anxiety everyday. Often this looks like constant worry, regular physical tension, rapid heartbeat, and even panic attacks. We offer anxiety counseling to help you learn new skills to lower your stress and enjoy life more…Learn more
Relationships evolve as life changes. Sometimes partners need help learning new skills to help them communicate better and strengthen their connection. We help couples improve their marriages through couples therapy…Learn more
Life gets busy, and maybe coming into the office is not doable. Or perhaps you live in a remote area, and don’t have access to quality mental health care. We offer online counseling services to those residing in Pennsylvania…Learn more
Get Started With Therapy Today!
Please contact Lime Tree Counseling to schedule an appointment or a free consultation. We will get back to you as soon as possible and get you scheduled. In our Ambler, PA office, we serve all of Montgomery County, and our therapists are happy to offer online counseling sessions for residents of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Colorado.