What is EMDR?

Trauma is an injury, not an illness.

EMDR activates the brain's natural tendency to heal itself. In the same way your skin heals a cut, when given proper medical attention, your brain will also move towards healing and wellness, when given the proper chance.  

When you experience a traumatic event or series of traumatic events, the brain does not categorize and store those memories in the same way as other memories. Instead, trauma memories become "stuck" in the brain in a way that makes them feel visceral, overwhelming, immediate, and frightening.

Unprocessed traumatic memories can cause anxiety, dissociation, phobias, physical symptoms, PTSD, panic attacks, hypervigilence, shame, and a range of other painful symptoms. 

EMDR is a highly well-researched, evidence-based, and widely-used technique. Through the use of bilateral stimulation (through eye movements, hand-held buzzers, or sounds through headphones) it appears to stimulate the process of encoding memories that occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Because EMDR is so effective and well-researched, it is one of the evidence-based treatments of choice by the VA and the World Health Organization. 

What can EMDR be used for?

Initially, EMDR was used solely for treatment of trauma, but it has also been shown to be effective for 

  • Panic Attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias (such as flight phobias)
  • Complicated Grief
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Stress Reduction

Dr. Ruan specializes in treating trauma and is trained in EMDR therapy. If you'd like to meet Dr. Ruan and learn more about EMDR, schedule a consultation with her in our Santa Monica-Venice Office (Main St. and Ocean Park Blvd) either through our online scheduler or email her at dr.ruan@mythrivepsychology.com.