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Answering your questions about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)- by Robert Salvatore, LCSW:
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Answering Your Questions About EMDR, by Robert Salvatore, LCSW


A Powerful Treatment to Help You Overcome Psychological Distress

 How Does EMDR Work?

 Studies have shown that when a person is very upset, the brain’s normal processing of information changes.  A traumatic event may cause the memory to become "stuck” or “frozen" in your mind.  Remembering the trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time.  The images, sounds, smells, and feelings may feel too real.  For some people, these memories can have a lasting negative effect, interfering with the way s/he sees the world or the way s/he relates to other people.

 No one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy works.  EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.  EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information, restoring the brain’s normal information processing. 

 After a successful EMDR session, you will no longer relive the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.  Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that can help you see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

 What Happens During EMDR?

 First, the therapist works with you to identify a specific problem or memory as the focus of the treatment session. You will be asked to remember the disturbing issue or event-- what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc.  You will also be asked what thoughts and beliefs you currently hold about that event.

 Then, while you focus on the disturbing material or images, your therapist will help you to bilaterally stimulate your brain using your vision (eye movements), touch (tapping) and/or hearing (special recordings).  You note and tell the therapist about whatever comes to mind, without making any effort to control direction or content.

 Sets of stimulation are continued until the memory dies or becomes less disturbing.  Additional sets are done until the memory is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one's self; for example, "I did the best I could." 

 While you may experience intense emotions during EMDR, by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.

 How Long Does EMDR Take?

 One or more intake sessions are required to decide if EMDR is the right treatment for you.  Your therapist will discuss EMDR more fully and give you an opportunity to ask questions.  The actual EMDR therapy starts once you and your therapist agree that EMDR is appropriate for your specific problem(s).

 Each person processes information uniquely, based on their own personal experiences and values.  A typical EMDR session lasts between 30 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the extent of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are required. EMDR is frequently used within standard "talk" therapy.  EMDR can used if you are taking psychotropic medications.  

 Does EMDR Really Work?

 To date, EMDR has helped an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.  Research has also shown that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment.  Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR.  These studies have consistently shown that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients.  Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety.

 The current treatment guidelines of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress, as have the , Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, and many other international health and governmental agencies.

 What Problems Can EMDR Help?

 Scientific research demonstrates that EMDR is an effective treatment for relieving post traumatic stress.  In addition, EMDR can be a powerful therapy for conditions such as:


·        panic attacks

·        eating disorders

·        performance anxiety

·        complicated grief 

·        stress reduction

·        dissociative disorders

·        addictions

·        disturbing memories

·        sexual and/or physical abuse

·        phobias   

·        body dysmorphic disorders

·        pain disorders     

·        personality disorders

·        emotional abuse

 Will My Insurance Cover EMDR?

If your policy covers standard psychotherapy it most likely will cover EMDR, but it is important to check with your insurance carrier prior to receiving EMDR treatment.

Who Does EMDR In NH?

Several therapists at LaMora Psychological Associates in Nashua and Bedford are trained to provide EMDR:

Robert Salvatore, LCSW, since 1992

Lynne Randall, LCSW, since 1997

Charlene Curtis, LCSW, since 2005

Deborah Solomon, PsyD, since 2005  


Qualified therapists in other communities, further references, and a bibliography of research may be found through the EMDR International Association's web site:

 For more information or to schedule and appointment, call:

 LaMora Psychological Associates, PA

 With convieniently located offices in Nashua and Bedford, New Hampshire

 Telephone:   603-889-8648

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