How EMDR Therapy Works
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a psychological treatment designed to help people cope with traumatic memories. It has many uses, such as anxiety, PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression; moreover, those struggling with substance abuse issues will find this therapy beneficial since it addresses the traumatic memories at the root of their addictions.
EMDR therapy is relatively new to the field of psychotherapy, but its efficacy has been thoroughly researched and demonstrated. It works to process traumatic memories quickly and help people heal from emotional distress more quickly than other types of treatment can.
This therapy is especially beneficial for individuals who have suffered severe trauma, such as child or adult abuse or witnessing violence. Additionally, it’s used to treat various mental health disorders like panic, phobias, anger and depression.
It works on the principle that traumatic memories become trapped in your brain’s information processing system. Additionally, it recognizes that these memories may be stored differently than normal memories, allowing EMDR to help reprocess those stored memories and restore your brain to normal functioning.
During an EMDR session, you will be guided through specific eye movements that help stimulate your brain’s natural healing mechanisms. You may choose to focus on one negative memory or series of memories that are causing you stress or anxiety.
The therapist will then walk you through a series of steps. The initial focus should be placed on any negative memories or feelings or physical sensations that come up. Doing this helps identify the symptoms affecting your life and provides insight into how they can be altered.
Next, your therapist will assist in helping you construct a positive belief about the traumatic memory through discussion, body scans or another activity with their guidance.
Finally, the therapist will lead you through a series of steps to foster positive expectations about your future and connect you to your inner strengths. This may take several sessions over several weeks or months in order for all memories to be processed and altered permanently.
EMDR can be an effective treatment for mental health issues, though it’s not a panacea. It works best when your issue is directly connected to a traumatic experience.
For instance, EMDR may not be beneficial if you already suffer from an autoimmune disease caused by an immune system reaction to a traumatic event in your life. Therefore, it’s essential that you discuss the potential risks and complications with your healthcare provider prior to beginning this type of therapy.
EMDR has been proven to be more effective than other forms of treatment for PTSD and other mental health conditions, having been tested in dozens of clinical trials. It helps those who have endured traumatic experiences such as domestic/workplace abuse, sexual assault, accidents, car crashes, military or police trauma, natural disasters or violent death; unlike other therapies it also doesn’t cause many side effects and tends to work faster than other techniques do.