PTSD & EMDR - What are they?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs as a result of a traumatic event or ongoing repetitive trauma. It can also occur from witnessing a traumatic event. One of the hallmarks of PTSD is the activation of a physiological response as a result of a triggering event. For example, a soldier could be triggered into a panic attack by the sound of fireworks because it sounds similar to gun fire. Someone verbally abused as a child may be triggered by their boss because her tone and message is similar to the childhood message of abuse. For Americans, many people experienced trauma from watching the news stories of 9/11.


Although the diagnosis of PTSD is reserved for those with life disrupting anxiety, we have all experienced trauma. Sometimes trauma can occur from ordinary events, like being made fun of as a child. The activation of a pronounced physiological response as you recall the event can be an indication of a trauma that can benefit from treatment.


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psycho therapeutic technique for treating trauma or disturbing life experiences. It has been described as a "new" treatment, however, if you follow the link below you will see that it has been around for over 25 years, has numerous well controlled outcome studies, and has been used to treat millions of people. As a therapist, this has been one of the most beneficial techniques I have used. I have noticed that people can talk endlessly about their issues but if something can trigger the physiological response of trauma, it remains as a disruption in their functioning. From my experience with using EMDR, this technique takes trauma out of the body.

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