Getting Started With EMDR Therapy in Philadelphia
EMDR therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapy used for a variety of mental health conditions such as trauma (PTSD), anxiety, depression, grief and loss, phobias, panic disorders, chronic stress and eating disorders. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in relieving symptoms while improving quality of life; plus it’s generally safe with few side effects.
Traumatic experiences don’t have to be limited to war veterans or natural disasters. They can also arise as the result of unmet needs from friends and family members, chronic stressors at work or home, or medical problems that affect our physical wellbeing.
Traumatic events often overwhelm our bodies’ capacity for cope and cause our minds to replay them over and over. Neglectful patterns of thinking and acting can keep us stuck in the past, hindering any growth or development that might otherwise take place.
We can assist you in healing from these negative patterns by bringing the trauma into the present. This technique, known as reprocessing, has amazing results!
A therapist uses bilateral stimulation, a technique, to repeatedly activate opposite sides of the brain. This activates areas similar to those active during rapid eye movement (REM), an interval in sleep when memory processing takes place.
The therapist then guides you through EMDR’s eight-phase protocol to process trauma and create positive, long-lasting changes. Each step is accompanied by either visual or audio stimulus which helps access your memories, thoughts and feelings related to the experience.
Reprocessing involves focusing on an image or memory of the event and using your senses to detect any distressing physical sensations. The therapist will ask you to hold a positive belief about this experience or image and help replace any negative beliefs with positive ones.
Once reprocessing is complete, your therapist will conclude the session and assess your progress. Hopefully, symptoms will have significantly diminished or completely resolved at this point.
The ideal client for EMDR treatment has a good rapport with their psychotherapist, can relax using relaxation techniques, has an open support system, no evidence of other crises in her life and no medical or psychiatric contraindications. While this is generally considered to be the ideal outcome from EMDR treatment, many patients do not reach this standard.
Your healthcare provider may use a variety of methods for EMDR, but most commonly they will stimulate both sides of your body with stimulation. This could be done using special light devices that use moving light that you follow with your eyes; or through sound by playing series of tones on either side; or touch by tapping hands, arms or thighs.
Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal of how you feel during each session, including any physical symptoms that arise. This will enable them to determine if progress is being made towards resolving problems and reaching goals.