EMDR Therapy Can Reduce the Trauma of Bad Memories

Ask the Experts by Rebecca L. Palen

Q: The other day one of my friends told me about a therapy called EMDR that helps you when you feel stuck inside really bad memories. What is EMDR?

A:  Memories have a huge influence on the quality of our lives. We are wired for survival and use our past experiences to help us navigate through life. Many of us experience anxiety, depression, addictions, PTSD and more, as a direct result of unresolved bad memories. Sometimes we know what caused them, sometimes we don't. Either way, unattended, they can wreak havoc in our lives.

EMDR is a form of therapy designed to directly address memories and the way we process them. When administered by a credentialed therapist, EMDR therapy targets key experiences (even those stored silently) and helps patients process the memories (the images, sensations, thoughts, feelings), changing the way the patient responds to them.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and other related conditions. 

Using a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches, EMDR addresses the area of the brain responsible for protecting us.

When a disturbing or traumatic event takes place, our brains lock the memory in place as a safeguard. When events trigger those memories, our brains go on high alert and our bodies respond exactly as they did when the event first took place.

EMDR unlocks those memories and gives us a space to use other parts of our brain to process and release them. Bad memories lose their hold on us and give us the chance to live happier lives.

This article was authored by Rebecca L. Palen MPA, LMSW, GC-C, GRS and her team of H3 Providers.  Rebecca is a practicing psychotherapist in St. Clair Shores, Michigan and the Owner and Practice Director of H3-Hope, Healing & Health, LLC. H3 provides a wide range of integrative therapies and has several EMDR credentialed therapists available.  For more information call 586.335.2006 or visit www.H3EmotionalWellness.com. H3 is a member of the Family Center's Association of Professionals.

Enriching Our Community Through Stronger Families
The Family Center serves as the community's hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. The Family Center is a non-profit organization founded with a mission to serve our community through programs and resources vital to today's families.

All gifts are tax-deductible.
To volunteer or contribute, visit the 'Get Involved' page, call 313-447-1374.
Email: info@familycenterweb.org or write to: The Family Center
32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.