EMDR Therapy Philadelphia
Reclaim Your Life from Trauma and Find Renewed Hope with EMDR Therapy at The Therapy Gal—your trusted partner for personalized healing and growth.
How to process trauma
Processing trauma is the worst. There, we said it. After a traumatic event, you might feel like it’s stuck in your head, playing like a song that never ends or something equally annoying and soul-crushing. You might feel like you’re stuck in the memory and don’t know how to get away from it.
Traumatic memories can be kind of like pop-up ads on your computer. They just spring up with a “Boo!” and get in the way of you getting things done. Navigating around them can be irritating at best and a panic attack at worst.
The good news is the therapists at The Therapy Gal have access to a world-class pop-up blocker, EMDR therapy, which helps you reposition those traumatic memories to a better place within your brain.
What does EMDR stand for?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy is a structured and evidence-based therapy that safely releases trauma and pain stored in the body and mind. In this therapy, clients focus briefly on the trauma while guided by their therapist through bilateral stimulation. By combining this soothing stimulus with safely re-experiencing the memory, you can work through it in a safe environment while processing it in a healthy way.
What is Bilateral Stimulation?
Bilateral stimulation can be visual, auditory, or tactile stimuli that occur in a rhythmic left-right pattern. It is associated with reducing the vividness and emotion associated with trauma memories. Stimuli, in this case, are just things that we can perceive.
So, for instance, a hand or light moving back and forth, revolving music through multiple speakers, or a rubbing motion over the skin. If you think of an old-timey hypnotist with their pocket watch swinging back and forth, it’s generally the same idea (although the EMDR therapists at The Therapy Gal don’t have those curly mustaches or awesome capes).
Bilateral stimulation can be seen in a lot of the processes we use to naturally calm ourselves down and make ourselves feel better. For example, if you’ve ever seen someone rub their arms to soothe themselves or use bilateral stimulation music, you’ve seen it at work.
How does EMDR Work?
Think of your brain like a computer. When events happen, a new document is created in your brain-computer. Then, with normal, mundane, or fun events, the file is created, saved, and filed away normally. These files sit deep within your brain and are only brought up when you search out the file and open it intentionally.
However, sometimes with traumatic or stressful events, the computer saving mechanism misfires. Instead of saving the file to where you want it, your brain saves it front and center, linked to every button on the computer so everything opens the file, whether you want it or not, like the world’s worst pop-up ad. This means that the memories are triggered easily by any reminder. As a result, you might feel like you’re constantly caught in the fog of these memories, reliving them repeatedly.
Your brain does this as an evolutionary survival mechanism. The logic is, “This thing hurt me, so if I never forget, it can never hurt me again.” But with it stored the way it is, it’s really just hurting you constantly. So your brain has good intentions but poor execution.
EMDR therapy helps process these memories and thoughts in a healthy and cathartic way so they can then be stored completely and appropriately. It leverages bilateral stimulation, which has been proven effective, and the power of your mind to re-experience and reprocess the memories so that they can be filed away as they were meant to, rather than in a place where they cause you harm and pain.
Benefits of EMDR Therapy
New Insights, Ideas, and Understanding: EMDR is commonly seen as unlocking your brain because of its potential to completely reframe an experience within your mind. Because you are processing the memories again, through the lens of being accompanied by a therapist in a safe environment, you can see things in a new light and gain a different understanding of them than you could have while experiencing them.
Treats Symptoms That Accompany Traumatic Experiences: Trauma can create a few coping mechanisms or symptoms that we use to deal with the aftermath. EMDR therapy can help manage and treat these. Some of these symptoms include self-harm, stress, and anger.
Excellent Complementary Therapy: EMDR is a great therapy to do adjacent to other therapy. Because it can be used with a wide range of illnesses, it can be used in tandem with other forms of therapy proven effective for those illnesses to get the most out of treatment.
What is EMDR Therapy Used For?
EMDR therapy is widely used for trauma in various forms because of its usefulness in reprocessing memories. However, it can be successfully adapted for a wide range of purposes. EMDR therapy can be helpful with anything where the mind and body have to recalibrate and deal with something more effectively.
Some common conditions and issues EMDR therapy can help with include the following:
- EMDR for Trauma
- EMDR for Abuse (including sexual, physical, or emotional)
- EMDR for Grief
- EMDR for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- EMDR for Anxiety
- EMDR for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- EMDR for Phobias
- EMDR for Self-Esteem Issues
- EMDR for Stress-induced flare-up of skin problems
- EMDR for Vicarious Trauma
- EMDR for Somatic Disorders
- EMDR for Depression
- EMDR for Performance Anxiety
- EMDR for Addiction
- EMDR for Panic Attacks
- EMDR for Nightmares
- EMDR for Chronic Pain and Phantom Pain
- EMDR for Flashbacks
What to Expect from EMDR Therapy? What Is EMDR Therapy Like?
You’ll work with your EMDR therapist at The Therapy Gal to nail down what memory you’d like to target and have a brief, compassionate conversation about it. Then, we’ll work to prep the session before it starts so that you’re totally prepared for what’s coming. Our purpose with this is to help you so we ensure that you’re prepared and informed through the process.
Then, we’ll choose a form of bilateral stimulation that feels the best to you, choosing between eye movement, hand pulsers, self-tapping, or a combination of the above.
You’ll then be guided through thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations by your EMDR therapist at The Therapy Gal so that you get the most benefits from the experience. This way, we can “unlock” your brain and help you deal with memories differently.
EMDR vs. Hypnosis
Although EMDR has some aesthetics in common with hypnosis, there are a few differences. Both may bring up unconscious thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations. However, the biggest difference is that with EMDR, you remain fully awake and present.
The EMDR therapists at The Therapy Gal are here to help!
Trauma therapy can be a scary undertaking. Not only did you go through this awful experience, but now you have to talk about it and relive it with another person. So we can understand how you might prefer to say “uh, thanks but no thanks” to that idea.
We understand where you’re coming from, and at The Therapy Gal, we’re dedicated to helping you heal and grow from this experience as your best self. We believe in compassion and understanding above all else. We use a caring and gentle approach to ensure that your goals are always in mind, and we’re helping you blossom into who you want to be.
Find Your EMDR therapist in NJ, Philadelphia, PA, or Online
The old saying goes, “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” and while that might sound a little too fanciful for you, we at The Therapy Gal know that your eyes are a pathway to the rest of you. By using cutting-edge yet trusted techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, we can help you get in touch with your truth and who you really are so you can move forward happily and with more power.
So book an appointment with your Philadelphia or New Jersey trauma therapy specialists, the Therapy Gals, for more information on how EMDR therapy can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions about EMDR (NJ / PA / Online)
How does EMDR help trauma?
During an EMDR session, you will be asked to focus on a traumatic memory, while simultaneously utilizing bilateral stimulation with the guidance of your therapist. You and your therapist will first work on desensitization, to then help with reprocessing the memory.
What specific EMDR techniques are used in a therapy session?
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (from tapping, eye movements, or tappers), to memory targeting, cognitive restructuring, and reevaluation. However, keep in mind that EMDR is very complex and involves different steps.
Can EMDR therapy help with PTSD?
Yes, absolutely. EMDR can be effective for various types of traumas. Research has shown that EMDR is an evidence-based treatment for PTSD and other forms of trauma. It can help individuals process trauma in a safe and adaptive way.
How can I know if EMDR therapy is the right approach for me?
If you are experiencing high levels of distress when it comes to your trauma, your symptoms are overwhelming, or you are looking for a different approach in healing your trauma, this might be a good option for you.
Will I be required to relive traumatic experiences during EMDR therapy?
You will not be required to relive traumatic experiences, but rather process them in a safe and controlled environment. While we will explore your past experiences, your therapist will be mindful of your comfort level and create a sense of safety for you.
How long does EMDR therapy take to work?
Everyone has their own path, so we are always reluctant to give a specific number. However, research suggests that it takes anywhere from 8-12 sessions to see significant improvement with EMDR.
Can EMDR therapy be used for individuals with complex trauma?
Yes, if you have struggled with C-PTSD or complex trauma, EMDR will be a good fit for you as well. In fact, it is often used to treat traumas that occurred multiple times or over a prolonged period of time.
Do you have EMDR therapists in Philadelphia?
Yes! Our office is located in center city at 255 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Do you have EMDR therapists in NJ?
Yes! We have EMDR therapists in New Jersey that can see you online.
Do you offer EMDR therapy online?
Yes! We offer online EMDR therapy as long as you live in PA or NJ.