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New Therapy Helps Minnesota Veterans Who Suffer From Psychological Trauma

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Tags: Health Care

Kari Anderson

An innovative therapy which involves controlling rapid eye movements during times of stress has been shown to help clients reprocess and desensitize disturbing memories and experiences to relieve the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to Elaine Wynne, EMDR Certified Therapist and Approved Consultant for the Trauma Recovery EMDR HAP Veteran Resilience Project of Minnesota, not only is it evidence based therapy for trauma, it has been successfully used to treat many other stress related conditions like phobias, grief, and phantom limb pain.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment involves an 8-step process designed to relieve patients of the effects caused by traumatic events. This non-invasive method of psychotherapy identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural coping capacity and have therefore brought on traumatic symptoms. Through EMDR therapy Veterans are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive, helping eliminate their symptoms.  The treatment begins with learning how the process works, adding tools for self-comfort and gaining a connection with the therapist. The second phase involves the client telling the therapists what they believe they need, what still bothers them and some of the history of their discomfort. The beginning steps help the client and EMDR therapist determine the course of treatment. In the next phase, therapists will focus on present disturbances and triggers of emotional stress in order to desensitize the memories and process them in a way so they will be remembered, but not be disturbing.  In the final phase therapists focus on what skills clients will need in the future to prevent emotional trauma from returning. 

The EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program - Trauma Recovery is partnering with therapists across Minnesota to make this treatment available to more Veterans. As a part of the Minnesota Veterans Resilience Program, up to 100 Veterans in Minnesota can take advantage of this treatment for free.

Initially the program aims to help those who have served in combat or military deployment since 2001 to help ease the effects of emotional or unseen injuries.

The only organization in Minnesota offering EMDR therapy by trained and experienced therapists who serve Military/Combat Veterans at no cost is the Veteran Resilience Project.  It relies completely on community contacts for referrals of Veterans who may benefit from the service. Most referrals are made within a 75 mile radius of the Twin Cities, but there are also project therapists in the Minnesota communities of Virginia, Grand Rapids, North Branch, Alexandria, St. Cloud, Cambridge, Fairmont, Bemidji, Mankato, Buffalo and Rochester.

For more information or to refer a Veteran who could benefit from EMDR treatment visit the Trauma Recovery EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs website, or contact Cortney Amundson, Veteran Outreach Coordinator at (952) 992-0356 or by email at

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