“When memories are stored in an unprocessed form, they hold the emotions, physical sensations and beliefs that were there at the time of the original event. When something in the present happens, it can trigger the memory and the person's perspective and reactions are pushed by the past event, rather than what is appropriate and adaptive in the here and now.” (Dr. Francine Shapiro)
EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment approach which has been empirically validated in over 24 randomized studies of trauma victims. EMDR and Trauma-focused CBT are the only psychotherapies recommended for children, adolescents and adults with PTSD. People quickly recognize big traumatic experiences (big T Traumas), such as natural disasters, death, violence and abuse. However, small disturbing experiences or setbacks (little t traumas) can also negatively affect their lives. Both big-T Trauma and Little-t trauma may make a memory of the experience stays 'stuck' or 'frozen' in the mind and body. Human beings are all influenced by memories and experiences they may not remember or fully understand and sometimes become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in a dysfunctional way. EMDR works to reprocess such distressing events (which are then desensitized), learn how to regulate their emotions better, increase effective coping skills, achieve emotional stabilization, and install an alternative positive self-belief. EMDR has been found helpful with several issues, including post-traumatic stress, stress, anxiety, panic, and unresolved anger. Dr. Portela uses EMDR with both adults and children in conjunction with other approaches to therapy, such as Psychodynamic, Sandplay, Attachment and Play therapies, depending on the needs of the client. EMDR helps clients resolve troubling feelings and thoughts, process memories, and increase positive beliefs.