EMDR Trauma Therapy
EMDR therapy is a form of psychotherapy that assists individuals in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This approach has the potential to treat many problems, such as phobias, depression, anxiety and even chronic pain.
During an EMDR session, your therapist will lead you through eye movement exercises that activate both sides of your brain, creating new connections and processing traumatic memories.
Your therapist may use other techniques, like tapping on your hands or listening to tones, in order to help you process memories more deeply and efficiently. They’ll also teach you techniques for staying calm when feeling anxious between sessions.
The EMDR method of trauma therapy is founded on sound clinical principles that have been shown to work. According to Hyer and Brandsma, EMDR’s effectiveness lies in its “sound principles,” such as the client’s choice in how they address traumatic memories.
At the start of each treatment session, your therapist will ask you to focus on a traumatic memory that bothers or causes distress. They then instruct you on performing side-to-side eye movements which stimulate both hemispheres of your brain. Some therapists use other methods as well, like rhythmic tapping on hands or playing tones directed at both ears.
You will also be encouraged to reflect on any negative emotions or body sensations you are feeling as you recall the memory. Eventually, the therapist will ask you to select a positive belief about the event which will then be reinforced with bilateral stimulation (eye movement, taps or tones) as you reprocess the memory and reinforce this newfound optimism.
EMDR therapy typically takes around 12 weeks to complete, though more severe memories may require longer sessions. Once a traumatic memory has been fully processed and reprocessed, no symptoms should remain from it.
Your therapist will check in with you after each reprocessing session to assess how you’re feeling and ensure all PTSD symptoms have subsided quickly. They may also reevaluate any traumatic memories being worked on to determine if there are any additional ones that need to be addressed in future sessions.
In the Preparation stage, clients learn how to create a Calm Place or Safe Zone inside their head and recognize negative thoughts and feelings when they arise. Your therapist will also provide your loved one with coping techniques like breathing techniques, relaxation practices and visual imagery for added stress management.
The actual therapy portion of an EMDR session takes around 90 minutes, but you should leave enough time between sessions for any emotional ups and downs that arise as a result of your reprocessing work. Your therapist will also discuss visualization and relaxation tools you can use between sessions to keep your emotions stable.
EMDR is an effective treatment for PTSD and other mental health conditions, but it may not be suitable for everyone. To ensure success, consult a certified EMDR clinician who has expertise in your specific issue or disorder.