My name is Sean Downes and I’m a Licensed Psychotherapist in downtown Bend, Oregon offering EMDR Therapy to patients who are looking to heal past trauma, overcome anxiety, or resolve PTSD triggers that may be negatively impacting their daily lives. As a certified EMDR therapist, I’ve seen first hand the power of EMDR to generate healthier relationships, positive life goals and effective choices that turns lives around. Clients often experience a brand new outlook on life. An increase in self-confidence, self-awareness, happiness and joy.

I am also a Certified Yoga Teacher which enables me to offer a unique and integrative approach that combines talk therapy and mind-body awareness, helping each individual balance their own core energy with their unique brain chemistry.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that uses rapid back-and-forth movement of the eyes (bilateral stimulation) to help make memories of traumatic or stressful events less disturbing. Sometimes instead of eye movements, attention is moved from side to side by using sounds or touch.

The goal is to reprocess distressing memories. Negative feelings and beliefs associated with these memories are separated and replaced with more positive responses.

How does EMDR Therapy work?

Before starting EMDR, the therapist and client create a treatment plan. Together, they set goals to work toward. Then, memories are reprocessed in a safe, supportive environment. The therapist and client will work through thoughts and feelings as they arise, and repeat the process until the memories no longer cause distress. The therapist then helps the client learn to respond to triggers in a more positive and objective way.

The brain is naturally wired to help us recover from traumatic events and distressing memories. The healing process involves communication between a variety of brain regions, such as the hippocampus (memory-making center), amygdala (fear center), and prefrontal cortex (behavior center). In some people, events can be so traumatic that the event disrupts the normal flow of neural communication and memories get stuck, making you can feel like you are frozen in time. EMDR therapy helps you get unstuck by restoring the communication process.

Find out if EMDR Therapy is right for you

EMDR Therapy can be a powerful tool to help you heal from the symptoms of emotional distress, trauma and other experiences that may be hindering your personal growth and happiness.

You can learn more, schedule a free, confidential 15-minute consultation with Bend EMDR Therapist Sean Downes

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EMDR Therapy in Bend, Oregon

Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is primarily used to treat people suffering from emotional trauma, but it is also being used for people struggling with other conditions. People with the following conditions may benefit from EMDR therapy:
PTSD
Depression
Anxiety
Panic attacks
Eating disorders

EMDR for PTSD?

EMDR can help those with PTSD process their traumatic memories and resolve them in order to relieve themselves of the distress and negative arousal that typically comes with the memories. Using EMDR therapy, a psychotherapist can help the brain heal itself in a natural manner.

During EMDR therapy, you will be asked to give attention to your distressing memories, as well as the emotions and bodily sensations attached to them. While this is happening, you are asked to focus on external stimuli in the form of hand motions. Through the process of focusing on both your internal memories and external stimuli, you gradually build new associations throughout the course of the session. These new associations are typically positive, allowing you to move from the processing of negative, traumatic memories into dealing with positive ones, weakening the grip of the negative emotions and kick-starting normal brain processes.

Although the exact way that EMDR affects the neurobiology of the brain is not known, it seems to alter long-lasting, negative memories that drag down the lives of those suffering from PTSD, by allowing the brain to process them in a healthier manner. After therapy is complete, you may no longer be overwhelmed by distressing emotions when traumatic memories are brought to mind—although you will still feel some stress, in the end these memories do not have the same debilitating effect on your emotional state.

One of the biggest advantages of EMDR therapy is its promising effect on recovery time in those with PTSD. Many studies point to EMDR as being more rapid in its treatment of emotional trauma compared to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

On its own, EMDR can be extremely effective at helping those with PTSD process their negative memories. However, in combination with other holistic therapies such as yoga and mindfulness meditation, you can create new, positive experiences to help you during the process of coming to terms with your negative emotions and dealing with them in a healthier manner. Other beneficial treatments that can promote positivity and healing during PTSD therapy include yoga, group therapy, and physical fitness classes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in combination with the faster-acting EMDR is also a very effective course of treatment.

Living in fear of a traumatic past can eliminate the possibility of a healthy, positive future, and can thrust loved ones into a world of worry and hopelessness. As scary as this can be, understanding that the right treatment can help those suffering from PTSD cope with and eliminate this fear is the first step towards getting them help and loosening the grip that their past has on their present.

What’s Involved in EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy involves 8 phases that incorporate a variety of elements. It includes looking at past memories, current triggers, and skills and behaviors that can help you in the future.
Your EMDR therapist will review your history, identify specific memories to target, and create a treatment plan specific to your needs. The therapist will share several techniques to help you cope with any emotional distress that may arise during treatment.

For a specific memory you will be directed to identify three things associated with the targeted memory to be processed: A visual image related to the memory, a negative belief about yourself, and any physical bodily sensations associated with the memory.

As you hold these things in mind, the EMDR processing begins. After the therapist performs the hand movements or other stimulation, you will be asked to let your mind go blank. Then you may either return to continue processing that same memory or move on to process other memories.

The next step is to replace the negative belief you had about yourself with a positive belief. For example, a victim of assault may go from believing “I am powerless” to believing “I am in control.” During this phase, your therapist will work with you to resolve any remaining physical tension or bodily sensations related to the memory.

At the end of each session, the EMDR therapist will ensure that you feel better than when the session started. Your therapist will also provide you with strategies to help you handle any distressing emotions that come up in between sessions and will ask you to maintain a journal where you write down any issues that arise. At each session, you and your therapist will assess your progress so far and adjust your treatment plan as needed.