EMDR Services in Berkeley, CA

Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D.

EMDR is a therapeutic method for efficiently treating psychological trauma.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), anxiety and other forms of stress. Sometimes I use it to treat discrete traumas but most often it is integrated into the psychotherapy I do here at the Berkeley Institute for Behavioral Health and Psychological Services.

I have received advanced training (Level II) from Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. the psychologist who discovered the phenomenon that led to her development of the treatment protocol now called EMDR.   I have, with the participation of Dr. Shapiro and others, led a research project that employed EEG to explore how EMDR works.  Unfortunately we did not have access to the sophisticated PET scan equipment that when used later by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. tended to support our hypothesis.[1]

There have been many peer reviewed studies demonstrating the efficacy and effectiveness of EMDR.  It is endorsed by bodies within the UN, the Menninger Clinic, and the American Association For The Advancement Of Science.  It is used by the VA, the FBI and is extensively used in Israel, here in the United States and many other countries.[2]

Dr. Shapiro originally called the procedure “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” (EMDR).  She later told me that she regretted the name because later it was discovered that  eye movements are not the only way, and perhaps are not the best way to administer the part of the procedure that creates bilateral stimulation between the right and left lobes of the brain.  In my practice I use music that goes back and forth between the right and left speakers of the CD player.  It’s easier on the eyes of the patient and the arm of the therapist.

When people do not heal from a psychological trauma research and theory suggest that it is because elements of the trauma memory that reside differently in the right and left lobes have not become integrated and therefore cannot be metabolized, a metaphor used by Shapiro that I think is quite apt.  EMDR facilitates integration that allows for healing and sometimes the results are quite dramatic.  Theoretically the way the brain holds elements of trauma memory may help to explain the unconscious.

1] See EMDR And The Lessons From Neuroscience Research, Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D.Professor of Psychiatry  Boston University School of Medicine http://www.emdr.org.il/dls/1.html

(Section on EMDR is about ¾ of the way down the monologue-somewhat technical)

[2] See EMDR, Shapiro, Francine, Basic Books, NY 1997, written for lay people

Areas We Provide EMDR Services To:

The Berkeley Institute provides EMDR services to Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Piedmont, Emeryville, Orinda, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, Walnut Creek, Richmond, El Sobrante, San Pablo, LaFayette, San Rafael, San Francisco, Tiburon, Sausalito and surrounding areas.

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