Observed & Experiential Integration (OEI) is an innovative psychotherapy approach that draws from neurophysiology principles to address various forms of nervous system dysregulation such as psychological trauma, dissociation, and preverbal body-based trauma. OEI utilizes an eye movement technique that involves covering and uncovering your eyes while following a visual stimulus to clear trauma symptoms and bodily artifacts that hinder daily life. OEI is not only effective for treating trauma-related issues but is also beneficial in addressing other conditions such as self-esteem problems, compulsions, agitated depression, body dysmorphia, substance use, and conflicts in interpersonal relationships.
Observed Experiential Integration Therapy (OEI Therapy)
Observed Experiential Integration Therapy (OEI Therapy) is a holistic approach to healing that combines elements of psychotherapy, body-based therapies, neurophysiology and mindfulness practices. Developed by Dr. Rick Bradshaw and Audrey Cook, OEI Therapy aims to help individuals overcome various psychological and emotional difficulties by promoting self-awareness, emotional regulation, and integration of fragmented experiences.
The core principle of OEI Therapy is the power of observation. During its early development, Dr. Bradshaw and Audrey Cook observed patterns of "glitching" in the eyes during moments of trauma activation. They discovered that when individuals recall or experience traumatic memories or emotions, subtle eye movements or irregularities occur. These eye movements, known as eye glitching, are indicative of the activation of the brain's survival response.
Through close observation of the eyes for glitching patterns, therapists trained in OEI Therapy can identify when a clients trauma response is activated and experiencing distress. This allows for timely intervention and targeted therapeutic techniques that help the client move through the trauma response into a trauma completion state.
In OEI Therapy, specific movements through the client's visual field are used to promote integration and resolution of the traumatic experiences tracking with he clients neurophysiology. These movements help stimulate brain activity by rout of the occipital nerve and facilitate the processing and integration of the traumatic memories. By engaging in these targeted movements, clients are encouraged to connect with their memories or emotions while promoting and maintaining a felt sense of safety and support.
OEI Therapy further incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques and modalities to support the healing process. It includes mindfulness practices, experiential techniques, somatic awareness, and trauma-informed approaches. Mindfulness is a fundamental aspect of OEI Therapy, guiding clients to cultivate present-moment awareness and non-judgmental observation of their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Experiential techniques allow for the expression and exploration of emotions and experiences, promoting a deeper understanding of internal processes. Somatic awareness techniques help clients attune to their physical sensations and explore the mind-body connection. OEI Therapy also takes a trauma-informed approach, creating a safe and nurturing space for individuals to work through their traumas and distressing experiences at their own pace.
OEI Therapy can be effective in addressing a wide range of psychological and emotional issues. It has shown promise in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by providing a supportive environment for individuals to process and integrate past traumatic experiences. Additionally, OEI Therapy can help individuals manage anxiety and depression, improve emotional regulation and self-esteem, help with self criticism, address relationship issues, and develop effective stress management skills.
It is important to note that every individual is unique, and the effectiveness of OEI Therapy may vary. Consulting with a qualified therapist or mental health professional is recommended to determine if OEI Therapy is suitable for specific needs.
Contact us today to learn more about OEI Therapy and to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced therapists. Take the first step towards a deeper understanding of yourself and a more fulfilling life.