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Understanding EMDR: An Interview with an EMDR Therapist in Denver

EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, is a buzzword in therapy these days. With so many modalities and client’s disposal, it can be challenging for clients to understand what modality is the best form of treatment for their symptoms.

Connected Brain Counseling sat down with one of their therapists, Pauly Munn, who specializes in EMDR Therapy and Neurofeedback Therapy to discuss what EMDR Therapy is, who a good candidate for EMDR is and how to determine the best modality for you in the counseling room.

What drew you to getting certified in EMDR Therapy?

As a trauma-informed clinician, I’ve worked with several different evidence-based modalities with the goal of helping people heal from their traumas, but I always felt like something was missing. I always had the sense that there was something more we could be doing to maximize efficacy of treatment.

After being referred to Francine Shapiro’s work on trauma, I never looked back. EMDR Therapy does not take away from any other trauma modality, but rather takes the beneficial nuggets from them, and maximizes their use for a comprehensive treatment modality that is holistic. I plan to continue furthering my EMDR education throughout the upcoming years.

How would you explain EMDR Therapy to someone who has never heard of it?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy that helps people heal from psychological symptoms and emotional dysregulation that stem from stressful, adverse, or even traumatic life experiences.

EMDR Therapy helps promote the brains natural ability to heal itself from psychological wounds in the same way that our body heals from a cut or a scratch. Think about it this way: If a foreign object becomes stuck inside of a wound, it creates additional pain. Once the obstruction is taken out of the wound, healing can resume. EMDR promotes a similar process by unblocking stuck or isolated memories, and helps facilitate activation of the natural healing in the mind.

EMDR Therapy is well researched, and is considered a grade “A” category treatment by the World Health Organization (WHO), meaning it was placed in the category of most effective PTSD psychotherapies. It is recognized as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and several other international platforms.

How does someone know if they are ready for EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy is widely recognized as a front line treatment for trauma. I always say trauma is less about the event, and more about the individual perception of the event. If you feel like you may have been impacted and/or experiencing emotional dysregulation regardless of the “severity” of the event, you may be a great candidate for EMDR.

EMDR Therapy is well researched as an effective treatment for combat veterans, people with phobias, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, behavioral addictions, victims of crime and/or sexual abuse, first responders, people going through grief & loss, victims of natural and manmade disasters, people with somatic problems, victims of family and/or relational dysfunction, and so much more.

If you are wondering about your eligibility and whether EMDR is a good fit, you can schedule a free consult with Connected Brain Counseling through the link here to talk with a Licensed Clinical Therapist about EMDR Therapy in Denver.

If someone has tried talk therapy and found it unhelpful for processing trauma, would you expect them to have different results from EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy stands out from traditional talk therapy and other trauma modalities in a number of ways. Traditional exposure therapies demand many client hours (15-85+ hours) including homework outside of the session for only around a 60% remission rate of PTSD achievement in controlled studies, (1)(2) whereas EMDR research supports the elimination of PTSD diagnosis in 77%-90% participants after 3-7 sessions without homework. (3)(4)(5)

Another derailing component of traditional trauma modalities is they often lead to the individual re-traumatizing themselves or becoming increasingly disturbed because of the nature of having to recount detailed traumatic stories. EMDR Therapy focuses on the brain’s own intrinsic healing capability and therefore does not require that our clients share explicit details of their trauma.

You have experience working in TMS, Neurofeedback Therapy and EMDR Therapy in Denver. Do you prefer one modality over the other?

I have had the privilege of practicing with several different modalities including TMS, Neurofeedback Therapy, and EMDR Therapy. I think each modality serves a valuable purpose, and I have personally witnessed the amazing results that are possible with each modality.

I don’t believe in a one-size-fits all approach to therapy, and I think it is important to work with each client and find what clicks for them. I encourage every one of my clients to ask questions, because therapy is a collaborative effort. While I personally really enjoy providing EMDR Therapy, I would never utilize the approach if I didn’t think it could be beneficial for my clients. With that being said, I also believe that EMDR Therapy and Neurofeedback Therapy are complimentary with each other.

Neurofeedback Therapy also thrives under the premise that the mind is capable of healing itself, and is a wonderful evidence-based modality that helps our clients build the resilience and resourcing that is required to participate in EMDR therapy. Neurofeedback Therapy and EMDR Therapy are a powerful duo, and I highly recommend pairing these modalities to maximize the healing journey.

How can clients schedule with you to do EMDR Therapy sessions in Denver?

I am currently accepting new clients and would be happy to chat with you about options for counseling. You can set up a free consult here to see if you are a good candidate for EMDR Therapy in Denver!

Citations

  1. Foa, E. B., Rothbaum, B.O., Riggs, D., & Murdock, T. (1991). Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in rape victims: A comparison between cognitive-behavioral procedure and counseling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 715-723.
  2. Tarrier, N., Pilgrim, H., Sommerfiled, C., Faragher, M.R., Graham, E., Barrowclough, C. (1999). A randomized trial of cognitive therapy and imaginal exposure in the treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 67, 13-18.
  3. Lee, C. & Gavriel, H., Drummond, P., Richards, J. & Greenwald, R. (2002). Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A comparison of stress inoculation training with prolonged exposure and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 1071-1089.
  4. Marcus, S. , Marquis, P. & Sakai, C. (1997). Controlled study of treatment of PTSD using EMDR in an HMO setting. Psychotherapy, 34, 307-315.
  5. Rothbaum, B.O. (1997). A controlled study of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for posttraumatic stress disordered sexual assault victims. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 61, 317-334.
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