Heal your traumas with an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapist in Birmingham. Get to the root of your issues by taking control of both halves of your brain.
Unlock the Secrets Behind Your Eyes
Do the work to get your left and right hemispheres on the same page. Apply new ways of thinking and transform your brain chemistry for the better.
Create New Realities
EMDR can help you form new ideas and understandings about your life. Let go of the pain associated with your most traumatic memories.
Reprocess & Rewrite
Uncover the stories you don’t know you’re telling yourself and rewrite them for your benefit. Be ruled by your past experiences no longer!
The Power of Bilateral Stimulation
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing helps you apply creative thinking to your logical memories. This allows you to look at your experiences in a different way. Reinvent your perspective of your past and feel less trapped in your beliefs about your trauma.
Personalized EMDR Therapy in Birmingham
If you’re therapy isn’t tailored to your needs, it simply isn’t going to work. At least, it won’t be as effective as it could be. Cookie-cutter solutions aren’t right for human beings. You’re unique and your traumas are too. You need a therapist that treats you accordingly.
Helping You Beat PTSD For Good
Your trauma doesn’t need a band-aid. Most modern therapists treat your symptoms without addressing their root causes. EMDR can empower you to retake control of your own mind. From there, you have the ability to rewrite the narratives you’ve been living out.
Left-Brain, Right-Brain, WHOLE Brain
Tap into your potential with a healthier cognitive framework. The power is within you. You just need the tools to unleash it. Become more resilient. Begin to belief in yourself, not your trauma. Free yourself from the hold of your life’s worst experiences have on you.
What Happens in an EMDR Session?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach that helps individuals process past traumatic events. EMDR involves a series of stages that help individuals move past negative memories and experiences. Here’s what happens in an EMDR session and the stages of EMDR:
History and Treatment Planning:
The therapist will take a thorough history of the individual and develop a treatment plan based on their unique needs.
The therapist will teach the individual various coping skills to manage any overwhelming emotions that may arise during the EMDR session.
The therapist will identify the target memory that the individual wants to work on and identify the negative beliefs associated with the memory.
The therapist will guide the individual through a series of eye movements, sounds or taps that help desensitize them to the memory.
The therapist will help the individual replace negative beliefs associated with the memory with positive ones.
The therapist will guide the individual to scan their body for any residual tension or discomfort related to the memory.
The therapist will ensure the individual feels stable and grounded before ending the session.
In subsequent sessions, the therapist will assess the individual’s progress and determine if additional targets need to be addressed.
The History of EMDR:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic technique that has gained widespread popularity in recent years for its effectiveness in treating trauma and other psychological issues. However, the history of EMDR dates back to the late 1980s, when it was first developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro.
Dr. Shapiro, who had experienced her own traumatic event, discovered that certain eye movements could help reduce the intensity of distressing memories and emotions. She began to experiment with these eye movements in her therapy sessions, and found that they were effective in treating a range of psychological issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
In 1987, Dr. Shapiro published the first study on EMDR, which showed promising results in the treatment of PTSD. The technique gained widespread attention and was eventually recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Defense as an effective treatment for PTSD.
Over the years, EMDR has continued to evolve and gain popularity. The technique is now used to treat a range of psychological and emotional issues, including anxiety, depression, phobias, and addictions.
One of the key benefits of EMDR is its ability to help clients process and heal from traumatic experiences without having to re-experience the trauma. Instead, clients are able to focus on specific memories or emotions while engaging in bilateral eye movements, which are thought to help process and integrate these experiences.
Today, EMDR is considered a mainstream therapeutic technique in psychology, and is used by thousands of therapists around the world. The technique has been praised for its effectiveness and efficiency in helping clients achieve emotional healing and resilience.
In conclusion, the history of EMDR dates back to the late 1980s, when it was first developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro. Since then, the technique has evolved and gained widespread popularity, and is now considered a mainstream therapeutic approach for treating a range of psychological and emotional issues. If you are struggling with trauma or other emotional issues, EMDR may be a helpful therapeutic option for you.
The Legacy of EMDR:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy technique that was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro. The method involves bilateral eye movements, which are thought to help process traumatic memories and reduce the distress associated with them. EMDR quickly gained popularity among therapists and clients, and has since been used to treat a range of psychological and emotional issues.
In the late 1990s, Dr. David Grand, a licensed professional therapist who had been trained in EMDR, began to notice that his clients would often have a specific eye position where they would experience more intense emotional responses during EMDR sessions. This led him to develop Brainspotting, a technique that involves identifying and focusing on these “brainspots” in order to release and process emotional blockages. Brainspotting quickly gained popularity among therapists and clients, and has since been used to treat a range of psychological and emotional issues.
In the early 2000s, Dr. Steven Vazquez, another therapist who had been trained in EMDR, began to develop a new technique called ETT (Emotional Transformation Therapy). ETT involves using light to stimulate specific points on the body, which are thought to correspond to emotional blockages. The technique quickly gained popularity, and has since been used to treat a range of psychological and emotional issues.
Despite their differences, EMDR, Brainspotting, and ETT all share a common goal: to help clients process and heal from traumatic experiences and other emotional issues. These techniques have been well-received by therapists and clients alike, and have been praised for their effectiveness and efficiency in helping clients achieve emotional healing and resilience.
In conclusion, EMDR, Brainspotting, and ETT are three therapeutic techniques that have evolved over time to address the complex and varied needs of clients struggling with trauma and other emotional issues. While they differ in their approaches, these techniques share a common goal of helping clients process and heal from emotional blockages and achieve a greater sense of resilience and well-being.
The Evoloution of EMDR:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach that was developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. Since its inception, EMDR has gone through significant evolution and growth, both in terms of its theoretical framework and its application in clinical practice.
Early Development: Discovery and Basic Protocol EMDR was initially discovered by Dr. Shapiro as she noticed that certain eye movements seemed to reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts and emotions. This observation led her to develop a structured protocol that involved using bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, hand taps, or auditory tones, while focusing on distressing memories or thoughts. This became the foundational element of EMDR, known as the “standard protocol.”
In the early stages, EMDR was primarily used as a treatment for trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and was seen as a unique and controversial approach to psychotherapy. However, its effectiveness in reducing distress associated with traumatic memories gained recognition, and research began to emerge supporting its efficacy.
Theoretical Evolution: Adaptive Information Processing As EMDR gained popularity, Dr. Shapiro further developed her theory to explain the underlying mechanisms of how EMDR works. She proposed the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which suggests that EMDR helps to facilitate the brain’s natural healing processes by reprocessing traumatic memories and integrating them into a more adaptive and adaptive memory network.
According to the AIP model, traumatic memories are stored in a “dysfunctional” memory network, which is not properly integrated with other memories and emotions. This can result in the persistence of distressing symptoms. Through the use of bilateral stimulation, EMDR helps to activate the brain’s natural processing mechanisms, allowing the traumatic memories to be reprocessed and integrated into a more functional memory network. This theoretical framework expanded the understanding of EMDR beyond just a technique for symptom reduction, to a broader approach that addresses the underlying neural mechanisms of trauma processing.
Expansion of Applications: Beyond Trauma Over time, EMDR has been increasingly recognized as a versatile and effective approach for a wide range of psychological conditions beyond trauma. Research and clinical practice have shown that EMDR can be applied to various issues, including anxiety, depression, phobias, addiction, grief, and performance enhancement, among others.
EMDR has also been adapted for use with different populations, such as children, adolescents, couples, and groups, and has been integrated into various treatment modalities and settings, including individual therapy, family therapy, and organizational settings. Additionally, EMDR has been used in diverse cultural contexts and has been modified to accommodate cultural differences and sensitivities.
Integration of New Techniques and Technologies As EMDR has evolved, new techniques and technologies have been integrated into its practice. For example, variations of the basic protocol, such as the “Recent Event Protocol” and the “Flash Technique,” have been developed to address specific issues and symptoms. The use of technology, such as virtual reality and biofeedback, has also been incorporated into EMDR practice to enhance its effectiveness.
Ongoing research continues to expand our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying EMDR and its applications. Neuroscientific findings, such as the role of memory reconsolidation and the impact of bilateral stimulation on brain activity, have provided insights into the mechanisms through which EMDR may work.
EMDR has come a long way since its discovery in the late 1980s, evolving from a unique and controversial approach to a widely recognized and evidence-based psychotherapy. Its theoretical framework has expanded to encompass the AIP model, which deepens our understanding of how EMDR may facilitate the brain’s natural healing processes.
What You Need to Know About EMDR Therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a therapeutic technique where a practitioner guides the movement of your eyes in a way that involves both halves of your brain in the experience of thinking. Such brain-based medicine increases awareness of your own thought process and the bodily sensations that come with it.
EMDR helps you reprocess involuntary deep somatic trauma threat. Cognitive and behavioral therapies alone can’t change this. This allows you to retake control of mental, physical, and emotional responses to your most traumatic life experiences. In time, you can choose new perspectives and behaviors that line up with the life you want.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Adoption & Childhood Trauma
Sexual Trauma & Abuse
Anxiety & Depression
Phobias & Panic Attacks
Insomnia & Sleep Disorders
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing FAQs
How Does EMDR Work to Reprocess Trauma?
Like the name suggests, EMDR uses a eye movement to reprocess trauma. Your therapist will direct you to look at their fingers or a light bar. They may ask you to bring certain memories to mind as you move your eyes. This draws greater awareness to how you process trauma.
Why Choose EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy is clinically proven to be effective in the treatment of traumatic life experiences. It’s been tested in more than 20 scientifically controlled studies. Plus, it enhances the impact of most other types of therapy. That makes it vital to a holistic treatment plan.
Where Does EMDR Come From?
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing was invented by Francine Schapiro in 1989 to treat PTSD. It was later discovered that EMDR treated symptoms of anxiety, depression, phobia, and many other disorders. Today, it is one of the most respected types of therapy.
Where Does EMDR Fit in a Treatment Plan?
EMDR can help support the goals of many other modalities of therapy. Along with IFS, brainspotting, DBT, or meditation, EMDR helps the healing of trauma happen more quickly. This approach is more effective than cognitive talk therapy or behavioral therapy alone.
Why Taproot Therapy for EMDR?
Taproot Therapy is Birmingham, Alabama’s premiere treatment center for PTSD. We offer personalized treatment based on your needs and goals. We lead with empathy and we consistency get great results for others like you. We’ll help you get to the root of your trauma.
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
– Fred Rogers
List of Notable EMDR Inovators
As the founder of EMDR, Francine Shapiro is a pioneering figure in the field of trauma therapy. She developed the approach and conducted extensive research on its effectiveness in treating trauma and other psychological conditions.
Dr. Laurel Parnell is a well-known EMDR practitioner and author who has specialized in the use of EMDR for the treatment of complex trauma, attachment issues, and dissociative disorders. She has written several influential books on EMDR, including “Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma” and “EMDR in the Treatment of Adults Abused as Children.”
Dr. Sandra Paulsen is a clinical psychologist who has contributed significantly to the field of EMDR, particularly in the areas of dissociation and complex trauma. She has written books such as “Looking Through the Eyes of Trauma and Dissociation: An Illustrated Guide for EMDR Therapists and Clients” and “When There Are No Words: Repairing Early Trauma and Neglect from the Attachment Period with EMDR Therapy.”
Robbie Adler Tapia
Dr. Robbie Adler-Tapia is a licensed psychologist and EMDR trainer who has specialized in the use of EMDR for the treatment of complex trauma and dissociative disorders. She has authored books such as “EMDR and Dissociation: The Progressive Approach” and “The EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation.”
Dr. Roger Solomon is a clinical psychologist and EMDR practitioner who has made significant contributions to the field of trauma therapy. He has written books such as “Healing Trauma: The Power of Group Treatment for People with Intellectual Disabilities” and “Solution-Focused Brief Therapy with Clients Managing Trauma.”
Dr. Andrew Leeds is a clinical psychologist and EMDR practitioner who has been widely recognized for his work in using EMDR for the treatment of complex trauma, dissociation, and attachment issues. He has written books such as “Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self” and “Integration: The Power of Being Co-Active in Work and Life.”
Anabel Gonzalez is a licensed marriage and family therapist and EMDR trainer who has specialized in the use of EMDR for the treatment of complex trauma and attachment issues. She has authored books such as “EMDR Therapy and Adjunct Approaches with Children: Complex Trauma, Attachment, and Dissociation.”
What are some EMDR Techniques?
The therapist will guide the individual to follow a back-and-forth movement of their eyes while focusing on the traumatic memory or negative belief.
The therapist may tap the individual’s hands, arms, or legs to create a bilateral sensory experience that helps process the memory or belief.
The therapist may use headphones to play a back-and-forth sound that helps stimulate both sides of the brain.
The therapist may guide the individual to count backwards or forwards while focusing on the memory or belief.
The therapist may guide the individual to imagine a safe place or positive experience to help them cope with any negative emotions that arise during therapy.
The therapist may guide the individual to notice any physical sensations related to the traumatic memory or negative belief.
The therapist may teach the individual self-soothing techniques to manage any overwhelming emotions that arise during therapy.
The therapist may help the individual identify and challenge negative beliefs associated with the traumatic memory.
The Neuroscience of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach that has gained significant recognition for its effectiveness in treating trauma-related disorders. EMDR integrates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with specific techniques involving bilateral eye movements, auditory stimulation, or tactile stimulation. While the exact neurobiological mechanisms underlying EMDR are still being investigated, research has provided valuable insights into its effects on the brain and how it facilitates emotional healing. In this section, we explore the neuroscience of EMDR and its impact on the brain’s processing of traumatic memories.
Memory Reconsolidation and Adaptive Information Processing:
One of the core principles of EMDR is the concept of memory reconsolidation. According to this theory, when a traumatic memory is activated, it becomes temporarily malleable and can be modified. The bilateral stimulation used in EMDR is believed to facilitate the adaptive processing of traumatic memories, leading to their reconsolidation in a less distressing and more integrated form. Neurobiological studies have shown that bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, can influence the brain’s memory systems and promote the integration of traumatic memories with more adaptive information, thereby reducing distress.
Dual Attention and Working Memory:
EMDR involves a dual attention task, where individuals simultaneously focus on the traumatic memory while engaging in bilateral stimulation. This dual attention is thought to tax the individual’s working memory capacity, limiting the resources available for the distressing memory to be fully activated. Neuroimaging studies have shown that dual attention tasks, including eye movements, modulate the activation of brain regions involved in memory retrieval and emotional processing. The engagement of working memory resources during EMDR may contribute to the disruption of maladaptive memory networks and the integration of more adaptive information.
Desensitization and Reconsolidation of Emotional Memories:
EMDR aims to desensitize and reprocess traumatic memories, reducing their emotional intensity and associated distress. Neurobiologically, this process involves the modification of fear-related networks in the brain. Studies have shown that bilateral stimulation used in EMDR can influence the amygdala, a brain region involved in fear and emotional processing. The bilateral stimulation may dampen the amygdala’s response to traumatic memories, facilitating their reconsolidation in a less emotionally charged state. This process aligns with the principles of fear extinction and memory reconsolidation, both of which play a crucial role in trauma resolution.
Neuroplasticity and the Integration of Traumatic Memories:
EMDR’s effectiveness in promoting emotional healing and symptom reduction is often attributed to its impact on neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to reorganize and form new connections. Neuroscientific studies have shown that EMDR can induce changes in neural connectivity and brain activation patterns. The bilateral stimulation used in EMDR may promote the integration of traumatic memories with more adaptive information, facilitating the formation of new neural pathways and the resolution of distressing symptoms. This neuroplasticity-driven process supports the transformative potential of EMDR in rewiring maladaptive neural networks associated with trauma.
It is important to note that while the neurobiological findings related to EMDR are promising, further research is needed to fully elucidate the underlying mechanisms. The complexity of trauma and individual differences in treatment response add to the challenge of understanding the precise neurobiology of EMDR. Nonetheless, the existing evidence suggests that EMDR’s bilateral stimulation techniques engage brain processes involved in memory reconsolidation, working memory, emotional regulation, and neuroplasticity, contributing to its efficacy as a trauma-focused therapeutic approach.
EMDR and Attachment:
Understanding Attachment Styles: Building Healthy Relationships:
Attachment styles play a crucial role in shaping our relationships and emotional well-being. They are deeply rooted in our early experiences and can significantly impact how we connect with others. In this article, we explore the concept of attachment and its various styles. By understanding attachment patterns, we can gain valuable insights into our own relationship dynamics and learn strategies for building healthy and fulfilling connections.
What is Attachment?
Attachment refers to the emotional bond formed between a child and their primary caregiver. This bond serves as a foundation for future relationships and influences how individuals perceive, interpret, and respond to social interactions. Attachment patterns are typically established during early childhood and can continue to impact relationships throughout adulthood.
Different Attachment Styles:
There are four primary attachment styles: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Understanding these styles can provide valuable insights into our behaviors and relationship dynamics:
Individuals with a secure attachment style feel comfortable with intimacy and are generally trusting, supportive, and emotionally available in their relationships.
People with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style often seek excessive reassurance and worry about rejection or abandonment. They may experience heightened anxiety and fear in relationships.
Individuals with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style tend to avoid emotional closeness and may struggle with vulnerability. They often prioritize independence and self-reliance.
This attachment style combines characteristics of both anxious-preoccupied and dismissive-avoidant styles. Individuals with a fearful-avoidant attachment may desire closeness but also fear rejection and may struggle with trust.
Impact on Relationships:
Attachment styles significantly impact the quality and dynamics of our relationships. Individuals with a secure attachment style tend to experience more satisfying and fulfilling connections. However, those with insecure attachment styles may encounter challenges such as difficulties with trust, fear of abandonment, or emotional distance. Recognizing your attachment style can help you navigate these challenges and work towards developing healthier relationship patterns.
Developing Secure Attachment:
While attachment styles are deeply ingrained, it is possible to develop a more secure attachment style through self-awareness and intentional efforts. Here are some strategies to foster secure attachments:
Take time to explore your own attachment style, understand its origins, and identify patterns that may be impacting your relationships.
Practice open and honest communication with your partner or loved ones. Express your needs, fears, and desires in a respectful and understanding manner.
Develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage anxiety and stress. Engage in self-care practices, seek therapy if needed, and learn effective emotional regulation techniques.
If you find it challenging to navigate attachment issues on your own, consider seeking the guidance of a qualified therapist. They can provide valuable insights and support to help you develop healthier relationship patterns.
Understanding attachment styles is essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships. By gaining insights into your own attachment style and the styles of those around you, you can develop a deeper understanding of relationship dynamics and work towards fostering secure attachments. Remember, developing a secure attachment takes time and effort, but with self-reflection, open communication, and support, it is possible to cultivate fulfilling and lasting connections.
Continued Reading: Books about EMDR
1. “Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy” by Francine Shapiro
Amazon link: Getting Past Your Past on Amazon
2. “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures” by Francine Shapiro
3. “EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation” by Jim Knipe
Amazon link: EMDR Toolbox on Amazon
4. “EMDR Therapy and Somatic Psychology: Interventions to Enhance Embodiment in Trauma Treatment” by Arielle Schwartz
Amazon link: EMDR Therapy and Somatic Psychology on Amazon
5. “EMDR: The Breakthrough Eye Movement Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma” by Derek Farrell
6. “EMDR in the Treatment of Adults Abused as Children” by Laurel Parnell
7. “EMDR Solutions: Pathways to Healing” by Robin Shapiro
Amazon link: EMDR Solutions on Amazon
8. “EMDR and Dissociation: The Progressive Approach” by Anabel Gonzalez and Dolores Mosquera
Amazon link: EMDR and Dissociation on Amazon
9. “EMDR for Clinician Self-Care: Models, Scripted Protocols, and Summary Sheets for Mental Health Clinicians” by Marilyn Luber
Amazon link: EMDR for Clinician Self-Care on Amazon
10. “EMDR and the Art of Psychotherapy with Children: Infants to Adolescents” by Robbie Adler-Tapia and Carolyn Settle
Our Other Therapy Methods
“Today more than 20 scientically controlled studies of EMDR have proven its effectiveness in the treatment of traumatic and other distrubing life experiences”
– Francine Shapiro
“The past affects the present even without our being aware of it.”
– Francine Shapiro
“Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction.”
– John Doe