EMDR is a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences that contribute to difficult emotional experiences. It has been extensively researched and empirically proven effective for the treatment of trauma. After the therapist and the client agree this type of therapy is a good fit, the work can begin. The client will be asked to focus on a specific event. Attention will be given to a negative image, belief, and body sensation related to this event, and then to a positive belief that would be more adaptive. While the client focuses on the upsetting event, the therapist will begin sets of bilateral stimulation, including side-to-side handheld “tappers”, eye-movements, or sounds. The client will be guided to notice what comes to mind after each set. They may experience shifts in insight or changes in images, feelings, or beliefs regarding the event. The client has full control to stop the therapist at any point, if needed. The sets of eye movements, sounds, or taps are repeated until the event becomes less disturbing. (EMDRIA, 2019)

Attachment Focused EMDR:

I have completed my EMDRIA Approved EMDR Basic Training through the Parnell Institute which specializes in Attachment-Focused EMDR. Attachment-Focused Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (AF-EMDR) is a model that intends to heal early attachment wounds, heal relational trauma, and especially help people who have insecure attachment styles. Relational trauma can include sexual or physical abuse, neglect, parental mis-attunement, betrayal or having parents with drug or alcohol abuse problems or mental illness. AF-EMDR addresses the effects of neglect and abuse on the developing brain and how it manifests in various attachment styles. This specialized method of EMDR uses a modified protocol for EMDR that focuses on the attachments people form with a parental figure during childhood. Dr. Laurel Parnell created AF-EMDR after integrating the latest research on attachment theory and the use of this modality.

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