Traumatic events can create debilitating emotions, thoughts and beliefs that can cause a sensation of being “frozen in time.” Sometimes, survivors feel they are doomed to emotionally re-live traumatic experiences. Specialized therapies, like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, work with the brain’s functions to allow the individual to resume normal functioning without the sense of “re-living” the event. Memories of the event still exist, but the client experiences them as less upsetting. In EMDR, the therapist induces a pattern of rapid directional eye movements by waving one or two fingers in front of the client’s eyes. The client is gently guided to simply turn his awareness to what is coming up without trying to control the content. Simultaneously, the client processes the information until it is less and less disturbing. Over time, the disturbing memory and it’s associated feelings, beliefs and sensory material can be worked through until the memory is associated with a positive belief about the self. While the effectiveness of EMDR has been replicated many times in clinical studies, it’s exact mechanisms that produce such positive outcomes are still unknown. Theorists suggest that the use of rapid eye movements relieves the anxiety survivors associate with a traumatic event, allowing the individual to examine the experience from a more detached perspective, similar to watching a movie of what happened.

Arbor Counseling Center’s staff has experience providing this effective therapy. Clinicians in various offices have completed both Level I and Level II training in EMDR and are available to help clients utilize this healing therapy. If you have questions about EMDR or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians, email our office managers or call (847)913-0393 x101.

Arbor Counseling Center is offering a professional education workshop on EMDR on Thursday, April 24, 2014, from 10 am to 12 pm. The cost is $50, and 2 hours of continuing education credits are available. Scott Stolarick, LCPC, a therapist in our Gurnee office, will lead the workshop, entitled “The Basics of EMDR.” Scott has practiced EMDR for many years, and is a seasoned counselor with experience working with a wide variety of populations and treatment settings. Any clinician interested in registering for this workshop can do so by emailing or calling Shawna Lorenz at 847-913-0393 x128. The workshop will be held at Village Bar and Grill, 48 Raupp Rd., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089.