EMDR Therapy for Anxiety and Hypersensitivity

Overcoming worry and fear to improve health with Paula Harry.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is a research proven technique for resolving trauma, anxiety, fear, and some of the limbic imbalances that can prevent healing progress, whether with your gut symptoms, chronic illness, and more. Listen as I discuss with Paula Harry, LCSW, to learn more about EMDR, how it works, and how to best use it.

In This Episode

Episode Intro … 00:00:44
What is EMDR … 00:03:56
Who is a Candidate for EMDR … 00:10:05
What Does Therapy Look Like … 00:15:57
Time Commitment of EMDR Therapy … 00:23:50
EMDR Case Studies … 00:26:01
Evidence-Based Treatment … 00:32:21
EMDR is Not New … 00:39:16
Episode Wrap-Up … 00:42:52

EMDR Therapy for Anxiety and Hypersensitivity - Podcast286 PaulaHarry

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Hi everyone. Today I speak with Paula Harry about E M D R. EMDR therapy is similar to the limbic retraining therapy we’ve discussed on the podcast in the past. Similar, but a little bit different. What is nice about EMDR, which is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is that it boasts an impressive number of research studies, which I did not know until doing a quick side pub med search during this call. For those who may have more than just gut or gut-brain, who may be stuck in a pattern of fear, worry, anxiety, food reactivity, supplement reactivity, “chronic SIBO”, there may be another layer to this and that layer may be emotional, limbic, cortical, and there are things that can be done fairly easily to help smooth out maybe some of these imbalanced pathway firings in the brain.

The wonderful thing about this is if you’re someone that’s stuck, this is one more tool in the kit that may get you unstuck, past your symptoms, and to a point where you’re able to just live your life and go out there into the world and do what it is that you want to do. So this was a great conversation with Paula about EMDR. Also, if you are looking for a map of how to apply many of the tools in the gut health toolkit, I will remind you about and refer you to Healthy Gut, Healthy You, which gives you, in my opinion, a good run-through of how to apply the available gut therapeutics. Okay. With that, we will go to the podcast with Paula.

➕ Full Podcast Transcript

Intro:

Welcome to Dr. Ruscio radio providing practical and science-based solutions to feeling your best. To stay up-to-date on the latest topics as well as all of our prior episodes, please make sure to subscribe in your podcast player. For weekly updates, DrRuscio.com. The following discussion is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without first speaking to your doctor. Now let’s head to the show.

DrMichaelRuscio:

Hi everyone. Today I speak with Paula Harry about E M D R. EMDR therapy is similar to the limbic retraining therapy we’ve discussed on the podcast in the past. Similar, but a little bit different. What is nice about EMDR, which is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is that it boasts an impressive number of research studies, which I did not know until doing a quick side pub med search during this call. For those who may have more than just gut or gut-brain, who may be stuck in a pattern of fear, worry, anxiety, food reactivity, supplement reactivity, “chronic SIBO”, there may be another layer to this and that layer may be emotional, limbic, cortical, and there are things that can be done fairly easily to help smooth out maybe some of these imbalanced pathway firings in the brain.

DrMR:

The wonderful thing about this is if you’re someone that’s stuck, this is one more tool in the kit that may get you unstuck, past your symptoms, and to a point where you’re able to just live your life and go out there into the world and do what it is that you want to do. So this was a great conversation with Paula about EMDR. Also, if you are looking for a map of how to apply many of the tools in the gut health toolkit, I will remind you about and refer you to Healthy Gut, Healthy You, which gives you, in my opinion, a good run-through of how to apply the available gut therapeutics. Okay. With that, we will go to the podcast with Paula.

DrMR:

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Dr. Ruscio radio. This is Dr. Ruscio and today I’m here with Paula Harry, and we’re going to be going into EMDR, which is similar to limbic retraining, but definitely a bit different. It’s a therapy that may be able to help people who, for lack of a better term, are a little stuck with fear or worry, or are kind of in this cycle of not feeling well and being unable to get out of that. That’s my very, very loose description. Paula, I’m hoping you can help me kind of firm up the way that we define this therapy that has come highly recommended from other clinicians who I respect. So I’m very excited to have you elaborate on this for us further.

Paula Harry, MS, LCSW:

Great. Well, thank you for having me, first of all. Just to give you a little bit of information about me, I was originally trained in EMDR in 1998. Then in 2006, I became a certified provider and moved on to being an EMDR approved consultant in 2016. Now I’ve gone to being a coach and a trainer. So I provide the EMDRIA approved training that lets other people do EMDR therapy. So that’s just a little bit of my background.

What is EMDR

DrMR:

Let’s define that for people, because some may not have heard the term before.

PH:

Sure. EMDR is eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a long name. People recognize EMDR a little more easily. It was originally published in 1989 by Dr. Francine Shapiro. She had received some difficult medical news and became aware of her eyes moving in a flickering kind of way, and thought that she had stumbled upon some kind of a brain function thing. When she thought of the disturbing information again, it wasn’t quite as disturbing as originally. So she took this into her laboratory and contacted some friends and they did a research project that has since been replicated. Over the years it has become what we recognize now as EMDR or eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. Eye movements were the original research, but since then, tactile, somatic, audio, different kinds of ways to get that left-right stimulation going. The results for people these many years has been consistently good. People report reduced disturbance, somatic sensations are reduced, sleep improves, mood improves. It’s a trauma treatment essentially, but it gets applied to other medical conditions, anxieties, as you talked about, fears of various things. It has been, I would say, consistently effective everywhere that it’s been provided.

DrMR:

What’s interesting here is that there is something in the field of chiropractic neurology that they would term as cortical hemisphericity, which is this dominance of one side of the hemisphere over the other. In my rough understanding of this, there are certain exercises that can be done to help bolster the function of whatever hemisphere is not firing appropriately. It sounds like there’s maybe a tie in here to that where communication between the hemispheres may help balance out the function. I’m not sure if that’s a reach or if that’s factual, or if it’s maybe a way that I know that emotional processing is also dependent upon inter-hemisphericity discussion. So what’s kind of going on in the wires of the brain?

PH:

So the way that I understand it, Dr. Uri Bergmann, who is a psychologist in New York, um, wrote a book called the Neurobiological Foundations for EMDR Practice. In his work, in his research, it’s the strength of neuronal connections. Neuronetworks. How they make representations of experiences. That the connections between these neurno networks will increase or decrease depending on the flow of information. But what’s necessary is that limbic structures that become over-activated, we need information to move through the thalamus, above the limbic structures and into cortical structures so that it can be acted upon by executive functions. Time, relevance, proximity, relationship, all of the things that lets information be put into a context. The past versus the present versus the future. That does require left/right hemispheres, front/back, the prefrontal cortex versus hippocampus functions. The thalamus moves or facilitates information, moving up, down, left and right. So I talk to my clients about, thalamic tickling, I just need your thalamus to stay turned on. So we’re going to do this weird wiggly eye thing or tapping or using pulsars or using audio stimulation to make that effect happen.

DrMR:

That’s interesting because it ties back to something else I’ve heard. It’s an anecdote, but I think there’s a decent amount of plausability behind it, and that is that walking is one of the best ways to help process trauma because it kind of facilitates that cross hemisphere talk. So this ties in with that.

PH:

Yep. So we do bilateral stimulation or dual attention stimulate and I think one of the new terms is the distracting activity. Walking is definitely bilateral. Kids love to march or run in place. Drumming is another thing that has that left-right activation and stimulation work for the treatment.

DrMR:

Okay. So a question I’d like to pose you, because I’m always trying to find ways to help those in our audience better understand if a given therapeutic that we are discussing applies to them or it doesn’t apply to them. Also determining the degree of application. For me, the way I see the application of a therapy that we’ve been using, that’s similar to this (limbic retraining) and I’ll just paint a loose sketch here. But it is someone who, when you ask them what supplements they’re taking, they’re on 18. When you ask them about whether a symptom is getting better or worse, there’s a launching into an eight minute narrative with a copious amount of detail and you can tell this person has just been ultra diligent in their monitoring of how they’re feeling. Perhaps even someone who, now that we’re kind of tracking symptoms over time as a clinician, looking at all this stuff, mapped out, I can see a clear trend line of improvement yet this person seems to really get floored with any kind of symptomatic flicker.

DrMR:

Where someone else would say, yeah, I’m feeling so much better. I was a little constipated but no big deal. I’m out shopping and playing soccer and doing all this stuff that I love and kind of moving on with my life. Those are some of the things that personify what someone who may be in need of this kind of therapy looks like. I’ll just offer that up as a sketch. How would you describe what someone may look like who would be a candidate for this?

Who is a Candidate for EMDR

PH:

Sure. So there’s some disturbance that’s happening in their life. I would say that EMDR is best applied to things that would be under the anxiety umbrella. So I heard you earlier in the show talk about fear. So that’s the flavor of anxiety. To the extent it’s thicker or lesser intensity of anxiety. So something’s not going well in my life. I’m conflicted about whether I go or stay or change jobs or move or some kinds of things. EMDR could be applied to that. Let’s say on the shallow end of the spectrum. On the deeper end of the spectrum, the fear, anxiety, conflicting thoughts, feelings, emotions that are historically based, that seem to be repetitive situations that cause emotional disturbance or bother up to and including people who disconnect from their experiences. Then we have to talk about dissociative disorders. From pillar to post, the kinds of difficulties that arise out of fear, angst, uncertainty, indecision, anything that invites limbic activation. Some semblance of threat that is perceived. I think that’s where EMDR does its best work.

DrMR:

This might be a chicken or the egg kind of question, but is there a certain history necessary? I’m assuming that there are some people who have, perhaps it’s genetic, but an underlying predilection toward being fearful and anxious. So if they end up falling a bit ill, they easily tip into this. Whereas maybe other people had some sort of very traumatic experience and maybe constitutionally, they weren’t someone who was prone to anxiety and fear, but now the trauma was so stark that they got sucked into this. Are there some historical findings people might want to be taking inventory of?

PH:

Sure. There are, indeed, people who have genetic predispositions, family histories, et cetera, of having anxiety as a feature of their day to day life. EMDR might help turn “down the heat” of those experiences, and then make more room for them to learn other ways to cope with and manage that characteristic of themselves. Instead of having to count, count, count, count, count, you take a breath, you center yourself, you do some soothing kinds of activities and then check your environment. You check your current reality and take inventory of “there isn’t threat, this is safe, that safe” all those kinds of things to manage that representation. Trauma actually is, I think, a horse of a different color. Some specific thing or series of things have occurred that overwhelm limbic structures, overwhelm the person’s ability to cope in whatever way physically or emotionally.

PH:

The way that the brain operates with trauma that has been imposed is more about coping. So in the moment, or immediately after an event that you do what you must be safe. You try to survive it and do whatever. Then sometime after the event has occurred, if that survival response doesn’t remit or abate, then we talk about is this an adjustment disorder or does it become full-borne PTSD? That’s more of a management issue, coping with something that has occurred to me. For example, people who have broken their leg. They have to get out of the situation, remove themselves, get themselves to care. Then in setting the leg, applying the cast and that healing process, EMDR is the analogy to getting the leg set, putting on the cast and the healing process happening. Let me stop there. Did I answer the question? Does that make sense for you?

DrMR:

Yeah, it does.

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What Does Therapy Look Like

DrMR:

One of my next questions is what does this therapy look like for people? You painted some of that picture a second ago. It seems to me like one of the things, and I think this is just worth quickly underscoring, is that when we’re not feeling well, it’s easy to kind of sink deep into this despair. It sounds like part of what you’re wanting to do is anchor people into the, okay, I’m okay, this may be unpleasant. I include myself in this. There have been times when I’ve had to talk myself off the ledge and just remind myself, okay, this sucks. Things are not as bad as it used to be. They’re getting better. This too shall pass and needed to recalibrate myself from slipping into the, Oh my God, I’m having this symptom. Could it be this, could it be that thinking about the worst possible outcome and then getting further spun into that.

PH:

So what might the therapy look like? I often start out with “it’s weird”. It’s not your garden variety, sit and ask and answer questions back and forth. Sometimes there’s not much discussion after you tell me the history of your upbringing. What are the things that we have to target? So behaviorally when somebody is in my office, we want them to be able to do what we call resourcing. Can you stay grounded in your body? Can you stay grounded in your current reality? Are you able to soothe yourself? Deep breathing, meditation, essential oils, other things that let you soothe your heart rate and activation and then do containing, which is something that people do generally anyway. If I’m sitting in a meeting and I’ve got all these things in my head like what about the laundry and the cat and the dog and the dinner and all those kinds of things I need to put that aside in order to focus on what’s happening in front of me at the meeting. That’s a containing skill. We teach people to do those things deliberately. Then once we feel some confidence in their ability to cope and manage, then we start talking about what is the item or experience that we want to target. We get that solidified. Then an EMDR session might involve having the clinician move their hands back and forth in front of the person’s eyes and then the person tracks the movement of the clinician’s hands for maybe 30 ish seconds. Then we stop and take a little bit of a check-in and a measurement. How are you doing? Does anything feel different, better, worse, or the same? Then that will be repeated throughout the session until we reach a plateau or at least a natural stopping place.

PH:

So eye movements was the original research. I think I mentioned that tapping, tactile behaviors. There’s an apparatus we call “pulsers” that just vibrate back and forth that the person will hold in their hands. Audio equipment to have the sounds, tones, go back and forth, left and right in the person’s ears. All of those things in the service of moving information out of that kind of limbic spin of “this is a threat, I’m in danger” so it can be put into, as you were saying, cortical structure. Give it context and time placement and relationship placement such that it isn’t perceived as a current threat or a source of danger anymore. People kind of say, you know, well, that was, then this is now I’m doing better now. These things are different. Now how do you move into a future that’s less debilitating that you can be more effective in taking care of yourself.

DrMR:

Now, is this something that always must be done with the practitioner? Are there apps or online programs? I tend to lean in the direction of always thinking the practitioner is better, but for those who are limited with resources or travel, are there other options?

PH:

We do teach people to do the resourcing work on their own, and there are many, many apps and websites out in the world that people can do the bilateral stimulation or the dual attention themselves. I tend to recommend they do that for soothing, for self care, grounding, that kind of application. If you’re trying to do processing of traumas, threats, disturbance, that kind of thing, I lean, as you do, to doing that with a therapist, you know, it’s, there’s a why dentists don’t do their own root canals.

PH:

Some things you need to have a trained person to do. There is a platform online that I am not remembering the name of at this moment, but their advertising promotes doing EMDR on your own and everything that you need is in the software and online platform. Everything is out there. People try it. If it’s not such a big, thick, complicated case, maybe that might work and they’ll have great success with it. Trauma and dissociations and anxiety, I think can be more complicated than people realize and recognize. If you start out with doing that kind of work on your own and get yourself into a muck, then absolutely find a provider who can render care and resolve that for you.

DrMR:

That’s a great clarifying point there. Just to make sure I’m understanding that. When we’re saying trauma, are we meaning prior emotional, physical, perhaps sexual abuse, and is that different from someone who let’s say maybe moved into a house where there was mold and they were feeling terribly from that. Now they’re out of that environment and they’re feeling a little bit better, but they’re kind of stuck in this environmental hypervigilance. Are those two different scenarios or is it not that simple?

PH:

So they’re definitely two different scenarios. It’s in the eye of the beholder. So if it was perhaps the homeowner, it’s their first purchase, it didn’t go well, they were maybe misguided or they’re having negative self-assessments about their judgment, et cetera. Now I’m frightened about choosing a next house and the hypervigilance about, is there mold behind every section of drywall? I think that is something that could be attended by EMDR, but do we call it trauma? Maybe, maybe not, but it might certainly be an adjustment disorder perhaps with an anxiety component. Trauma, the DSM, the diagnostic and statistical manual definition of trauma would be an event that was visited upon either the person or witnessed by, or became known by somebody who has attachment to the person. So trauma is in the eye of the beholder.

DrMR:

Gotcha. But, but trauma is more likely associated to another individual or did I mishear that?

PH:

No. So the way that the statistical manual talks about it is that it was either occurred to the person or witnessed in some way. So it could happen to you or to somebody else.

Time Commitment of EMDR Therapy

DrMR:

Gotcha. Okay. In terms of time, what is a rough estimate, and I know this may vary, but what is a rough estimate of the time of a session? Is it 20 minutes? Is it closer to 40? Is it more like limbic retraining, which is kind of a lofty ask of about an hour.

PH:

So a clinical hour, 50 minutes. My day job is in a prison setting and we have 45 minute hours. I have been doing EMDR sessions within our environment for about the last 16 years. It can be 90 minutes. That was the original research. Some people adhere to that and others you make it fit in what you have.

DrMR:

Is there a certain frequency? Sessions per week? What is that like?

PH:

Sure, sure, sure. So typically a weekly is pretty common. Um, there are people who do what’s called intensive EMDR, and that might be multiple hours on multiple successive days. Those tend to be for very complicated cases and the results come quickly. So like flooding the system, you know, you get a really big spoon and attend, try to scoop as much of the trauma responses and symptoms. Get that out all at once. It can be done though. I’ve heard that people who travel great distances, you know, college kids who are away from home, they will come home to wherever their primary residence is. They’ll do three or four EMDR sessions. And then months later that gets repeated. I think one of the things that is very useful about EMDR is that it can be applied in whatever setting is available. So to include mass events, you know, there were people providing EMDR therapy after the trade towers, after Fort Bragg happened after hurricanes. So in whatever way that’s available, EMDR can be adjusted to fit the population and the environment.

EMDR Case Studies

DrMR:

That’s great. One of the other things I think would be a helpful exercise is if you have a few cases that come to mind that you could share with us. One of the reasons why I really want to provide people with the crystallization of a case study or two is because I want to try to help. I fear that the person who needs this the most may be the hardest to reach. I want to help people maybe understand that yes, the things that we talk about on the podcast regarding sleep and exercise and these lifestyle aspects and diet and the various gut health interventions that can clearly help with a gut brain connection. However, sometimes we stumble into this tangling of the wires and the brain, and that’s what we have to do. So even though what you’re concerned about doesn’t seem to be a brain-based issue. It not food reactive brain fog, food reactive bloating, or supplement sensitivity. It may be emanating from what’s going on in the brain. So if you have any cases I’d love for you to give us a few examples that would resonate with our audience.

PH:

Sure. So the one that comes to my mind is actually a fella that I worked with, well, maybe 10 years or so ago, who didn’t do a lot of eating. He had a pretty horrendous childhood history. He had been incarcerated since age 15. By the time I got him, he was maybe 32. He was notorious for rule violations and self harm attempts. He was very reactive, emotionally. He had had many treatment failures, so he’s a little bit on the deep end of the ocean with regard to clinical presentation. But I think what’s applicable to your audience is that he was upset so often and so frequently that he tended to not eat. So he was small and always had a headache. He always had a stomach ache. He was always shaky, all those kinds of things. So by the time he came to me and we addressed first, can you be safe?

PH:

We were trying to reduce the heat of his perceived threats and activation. So that was the first thing, give him some skills to take care of himself and mitigate the disturbance. Then we started knocking down the events that fed to and contributed to his view that the world isn’t safe. That he is not safe anywhere. He can’t trust people, Nefarious intent, wherever he looked. Then as we started moving through that work with weekly sessions, 45 minutes, typically I would check on him, in the middle of the week if it wasn’t a treatment day. Over time, what tended to happen was we would always hear that he’s refused so many meals and then that started to disappear. He stopped refusing meals. Eventually by the time we were in a couple of months, and then we would have conversations about his sleep improvement. He was going to more off unit activities, he got himself a job.

PH:

He was in the exercise room regularly. Then it became more cognitive, more esoteric. You know, the conflicts of this is how people treated me and then this is my response to those people. How did I get myself into the situation where I am? Then we would work out those kinds of things just as a discussion. As he got to the end of the EMDR treatment, he looked like just another person. He was just a guy who had lots of conflicts that we were able to talk through. After being discharged from custody, he finished college. He was able to be a football player. He was on the student government, even at his advanced age. He was able to just be a person instead of a tangle of hyperactive, neuronal networks that just kept him in a heightened state of danger all the time.

DrMR:

Yeah. It’s a great analogy. How I would maybe parallel that for our audience would be, you know, someone who feels that danger from the sense of something that’s going on in their body, a food reaction or an environmental reaction, same sort of theme there. I should also just mention quickly for our audience that there have been a couple systematic reviews that have concluded that EMDR is helpful. In fact, one with post-traumatic stress disorder. So there’s definitely some research that has substantiated that this is a viable therapy. So it’s important to mention that

PH:

Indeed. It’s supported and endorsed by governments, Australia, the World Health Organization, the Department of Defense Canada, it’s all over the world. There’s a movement in the World Health Organization by an economist, I believe his name is Ralph Carrier, but how to scale EMDR as a response to humanitarian relief. So in refugee camps or in areas of war, that EMDR is the kind of scalable application that can go out with the UN and red cross, et cetera. The other thing that I would mention is that there are plenty of research and plenty of materials about EMDR in medical settings. There’s a fellow from Australia who started very early on applying EMDR to pain, chronic pain, depression that comes from chronic fatigue, those kinds of things, fibromyalgia. One of my fellow trainers, her expertise is in pregnancy care, prenatal, postnatal, peri-natal, NICU, all of those pregnancy applications with EMDR. So there is excellent precedent and excellent research and materials out there for how EMDR can be applied in medical situations.

Evidence-Based Treatment

DrMR:

Yep. Definitely important for us to acknowledge that for our audience. Sometimes, unfortunately I think, and perhaps unfairly, some of these therapeutics may reflexively get labeled as being “woo-woo”. I think that’s important for the practitioners who are used to hearing about the lab test and the objective lab marker that there are many therapeutics that are very evidence-based that may not need a pre-post blood draw, stool sample, or a breath test.

PH:

Correct. EMDR is definitely that. When I do trainings, I ask clinicians to be thoughtful about the fact that we are trying to get to is organ function. You know, brains function like brains. Wherever there are brains, much like livers, they move similarly. What we’re asking the brain to do is turn down the heat in one area. We need the limbic structures to be less active and we need cortical structures to be more active. The way to make that happen is that we need the thalamus and the hippocampus to work with us. So that’s what the research is pointing us to. That the activation that we use, either the tapping or the eye movements or the audios or the movement, you know, walking, dancing or drumming, that’s what we’re asking the brain to do. Something that it would have done anyway. So trauma responses are adaptive. It’s how our brain is coping with something that was very large and very upsetting and overwhelming. So when the brain isn’t able to cope with that sort of experience, we get PTSD and other emotional disturbances. So if we can get it back to functioning the way God intended, symptoms remit. This is an intervention that lets the brain move and recover in its own natural manner.

DrMR:

Speaking of natural manner and perhaps natural habitat, I’m assuming that, like many things, modern day life is perhaps a bit more isolated, a bit more disconnect from nature, a bit less active. I’m assuming there are many things modern day lifestyle wise that do not help us with our processing of trauma.

PH:

Well, sure. So exposure to recurring depictions of the things that happen to people. Constant struggle, all of those kinds of messages that contribute to the hopelessness or the fear. Those things make it very difficult for people to recover from trauma. If they’re already hypervigilant, you know, what’s the point why bother, it’s never going to get any better. Those kinds of thoughts become pervasive. Then our task as EMDR providers, I think is to, current reality, skills, staying grounded, realizing, and remembering that you already have skill and direction and options and opportunities to be able to take care of yourself? So sometimes, you know, EMDR talks about past/present/future as being the three prongs of therapy. We deal with historical events. How is that showing up for you right now? What is a reasonable future for you?

PH:

Sometimes, instead of in the past, we start in the future. How would you like to be able to come out of this? People talk about the pandemic and when is this ever going to be over? If you start thinking about how would you like to be able to weather this. What kind of thing would make it easier? How would you know if it was happening? So you can start with conjuring that imaginable coping or skillset, and then strengthen that and then talk to people about how do you manifest that? What would it look like and how do you gain the accoutrements or behaviors that let you get to that preferred future? So that’s another way that EMDR can be very useful in helping people manage disturbance and distress.

DrMR:

I think that’s one of the things that’s helped me when I’ve had my own personal health challenges. Always having this purpose that I’m pursuing in life and kind of this vision of me and what I’m supposed to be doing and who I am and who I want to be. It is just like a magnet just pulling me forward. I think it’s really important to have that.

PH:

Yeah, I think people do feel best when they can be effective. Like when I can reach an accomplishment, when I can make something different, when I’m doing what is useful for my own self care. So I ask people to imagine this as a win. Then we celebrate the wins and we try to accumulate wins as we move through the therapy.

DrMR:

Yeah. I like that a lot.

DrRuscioResources:

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DrMR:

Well, what else? Is there anything else that you feel worth mentioning regarding EMDR?

EMDR is Not New

PH:

Um, the thing that I want everybody to know, I think is that it has been around since 1989. That was the original publication. That’s what 30 ish years? And it’s still seen as new. As you say, the kind of woo-hoo weird, non-conventional option. It certainly is non-conventional, but it’s not new anymore. It’s been researched and researched. Governments are endorsing it as a first-line treatment for PTSD and other conditions. If you haven’t heard of people who are trained, I would invite you to go to the EMDRIA website, emdria.org. That is our governing body. There is a mass of information. Things that people can read, direction to other websites, lots of videos on YouTube and we’ve been around a long time and it always amazes me that people have never heard of it.

DrMR:

Yeah. Well you can include me in that now amazed group. I’ve heard it one or two times over the past year, but it wasn’t fully on my radar screen. This conversation has actually helped me to have a better appreciation for it. I didn’t realize there were numerous systematic reviews with EMDR. So definitely for the providers out there, this is something worthwhile looking into, especially if there is so much research showing the benefit.

PH:

There are lots of randomized control studies. The Cochrane Institute did a meta-analysis maybe 10 years ago and that’s being repeated again. There’s a college in the UK where EMDR is a degree program.

DrMR:

That’s fantastic. So definitely something I will be looking into more and I’m going to be looking to kind of pair this with limbic retraining. Actually, maybe that’s a question for you. Would there be anything you’d look at to recommend EMDR as opposed to limbic retraining? Are there any indicators for an individual that would likely do better with a referral for limbic retraining as compared to a referral for EMDR.

PH:

I would go back to say that the EMDR is first and foremost, a trauma treatment. That was its original purpose. It has been expanded into other areas like anxiety, fear, emotional disturbance. So in so much as that is contributing to the gut health issue or the other food intake or medical constraints. Cortisol and adrenaline, when that is chronically high, can lead to all kinds of things. I would say, try. I don’t, nothing comes to mind that would say try one versus another. If the limbic retraining is sufficient and you don’t have to go to something as different as EMDR then. Great. If you do the limbic retraining and it doesn’t quite get you to where you want to go, then try the EMDR.

Episode Wrap-UP

DrMR:

Gotcha. Okay. And the people wanted to find you online. Would you point them somewhere?

PH:

I would. So, my name Paula Harry, MS. And then I’m a LCSW, licensed clinical social worker. I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Facebook. I have a private practice is called Adaptive Counseling, LLC. My training work is EMDRconsulting.com and that is out of Cincinnati, Ohio. We schedule and give information and help people get acquainted with EMDR. Especially if you’re a clinician wanting to learn EMDR, that would be, would be the place I would go. Also the Institute or EMDRIA.

DrMR:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for enlightening me, and I’m assuming our audience on this therapeutic that for those who need it, I think is going to be really helpful. Again, for our audience, as much as I harp on how important the gut to brain connection is, there are definitely cases where there’s something going on more so in the brain, or maybe said less pathologically, within certain pathways of the brain that needs some facilitation and some care. So I’m really grateful for you expanding on that more and helping us to better understand.

PH:

Thank you. It’s been a great pleasure for me. Thank you for the invitation.

Outro:

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