EMDR for Trauma and More


San Francisco EMDR for Trauma

“Sometimes we can’t get past our past”

— Francine Shapiro, creator of EMDR

Often we have big and small traumas — from earlier times in our lives — the effects of which do not let up even with extensive talk therapy. Research has shown that many of the sensations and experiences of trauma are stored in a non-verbal part of the brain. We may continue to feel scared or unsafe, unworthy, or responsible for a bad situation, even though logically we should be “over it.”

When big or small traumas happen — or even feel as if they are about to happen — the body automatically releases a blast of stress hormones, like adrenaline. Normally, the nervous system realizes that the trauma has passed and blood pressure and heart rate should go back to their pre-stress state.

However, this return to equilibrium is not the case for many people. Brain neurons may get jammed, keeping you in a non-productive, hyper-alert state. Any number of loud noises, visual cues or even a certain smell may set the brain and body back into a traumatized condition. Remaining in this state for an extended period of time can result in a range of symptoms: extreme nervousness, insomnia, attention problems, phobias, relationship difficulties.

The EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) process involves listening to audio tones or music on a headset or moving one’s eyes back and forth during the guided access of an important memory. This use of selected stimulation allows people to retrieve non-verbal parts of memory. The client picks key images of the trauma and, guided by the EMDR therapist, processes through the specifics and sequences of the trauma.

After about twenty years of EMDR studies we are learning that there are many other applications of this technique. EMDR can be used for:

  • Stress reduction
  • Performance anxiety
  • Creativity blocks
  • Phobias
  • Addiction
  • Attachment work between parent and child.

Contact Me for a Phone Consultation →

Psychotherapy, Consultation and EMDR
Hayes Valley, San Francisco

(415) 238-7624