Alison Freeman, Ph.D.
Ca Lic#: PSY 10597
(310) 712-1200
EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING(EMDR)

In an age of managed care and funding cutbacks, insurance companies as well as budget-minded individuals and families are concerned about the expense of psychotherapy. I offer a powerful technique that can shorten the time a patient spends with me. It’s called EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

EMDR is an innovative and rapid technique for the reduction of trauma and anxiety disorders. To date, EMDR has helped over two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.  It has been successfully used with the disaster victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Oklahoma City bombing, Iraqui war veterans, victims of rape/sexual abuse, as well as those experiencing anxiety, depression and loss.

By definition, being hearing impaired in a hearing and auditory society is a daily stressor. Hearing impairment forces one to rely on visual rather than on auditory communication and, as such, many memories are visual and conceptual.  By focusing on all sensory systems—including visual and kinaesthetic learning—EMDR can reduce the stress of trying to put psychological issues into words, which can be especially helpful for D/HOH people. With less energy spent on verbalization, there is more energy to focus on dealing with the actual trauma.

How does EMDR work?

The theory and protocol of the technique is that trauma/anxiety produces an overload on sensory and information processing which leaves the traumatic memory unresolved.  Traumatic memories may have visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and/or emotional components that are not entirely addressed in verbally based psychotherapies.  As such, EMDR works on many levels and works to desensitize those areas with the greatest amount of charge i.e. flashbacks, fears, negative feelings or thoughts.   EMDR can be a powerful approach which can bring significant relief to the symptomatic client in both the degree and intensity of the trauma to unpleasant memory with few or no symptoms.

IS EMDR really effective?

There has been extensive research over the last two decades documenting not only the effectiveness of EMDR but that is also superior to other clinical treatments. EMDR is an empirically valid treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) meeting the criteria established by members of a task force initiated by the American Psychological Association. Additionally, the benefits of EMDR are long lasting with fewer recurrences. 

Why is EMDR particularly suited to deaf and hearing impaired people?
  • Utilizes nonverbal, visual and body-centered techniques
  • More non-verbal than traditional therapy
  • Focus is more on emotional stress rather than the cognitive interpretations of stress