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{ Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing }

When we experience a traumatic event, it becomes lodged in our brains like a painful stone. Recalling the trauma is painful; it hurts to even go near it. Yet, avoiding the pain doesn't mean it dissipates. Rather, the trauma begins to affect how we act in the present and gets in the way of the life we want to have. We relive and reenact the trauma in both subtle and overt ways. 


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was developed in the 1980s as a way to safely approach our past traumas and dislodge them from their painful spot. In EMDR, a trained therapist uses eye movements to help clients get close to the trauma and repair the wounds attached to its memory. The scientific explanation is beyond this post but, at its core, "desensitization" happens when the brain works on moving eyes back and forth while also accessing painful memories. The desensitization is what allows clients to process traumatic memories without reliving the pain, so that they can finally be free of reenacting the trauma in their present lives. 


More information about EMDR can be found here

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Jeanette Lee, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and received her Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and History from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and her law degree from NYU School of Law. She completed a post-graduate fellowship in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, is certified in EMDR, and received additional training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and School Social Work. Read more about her approach in our About section.

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