EMDR Therapy


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, Therapy

EMDR is a form of therapy that enables an individual to heal from the distressing thoughts, feelings and memories that result from disturbing life experiences. In many cases, EMDR therapy helps to bring about psychological change that may be resistent to more traditional psychotherapy. EMDR therapy assumes that just as the physical body can heal from a trauma if given appropriate care and support, our minds and psychological selves can similarly heal if given appropriate treatment and care. In essence, the principle is that we all have an innate drive toward healing, and EMDR is a process by which that healing is encouraged to proceed.

In other words, the theory behind EMDR is that a person's brain, and the information processing therein, naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, though, one no longer feels "stuck" and healing resumes.  

What is EMDR therapy like?

As in all forms of therapy, the therapist must first gain an understanding of your history and of the disturbing events that are causing distress. After taking a history and evaluating the problem(s), which might take 1-4 sessions, Dr. Potoczniak aims to ensure that a person is able to handle emotional distress. Dr. Potoczniak may teach a variety of imagery or stress reduction techniques to use during and between sessions. 

If EMDR is determined to be appropriate for your case, therapy focuses on the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations related to the traumatic incident(s). Therapy then employs a variety of different techniques, incorporating "bilateral stimulation," over the course of reprocessing the trauma. For more information, please see the EMDR International Association's website.  

EMDR as integrated in traditional psychotherapy

Dr. Potoczniak is able to conduct both traditional psychotherapy as well as EMDR psychotherapy; he integrates the two if and when appropriate. While not all people's circumstances are a clearly good fit for EMDR, an evaluation with Dr. Potoczniak can help clarify the nature of your difficulty, and determine whether traditional psychotherapy, EMDR, or both, might be most beneficial.