What Happens in EMDR Therapy?

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What Happens in EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a therapeutic tool used to help process memories of traumatic events such as abuse, accidents and sexual assault. By using specialized light devices and other methods, it helps your brain create connections that enable you to remember the event differently.

In treatment, you focus on a memory that causes distress and triggers your symptoms. Additionally, you practice stress reduction techniques and other coping skills.

The therapist uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as tapping on the hands, to help you focus on your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations when recalling memories. They may also utilize other sensory input like sound to assist with recall.

After this prompt, you will be asked to visualize the scene of the traumatic event and give yourself time to process your emotions and body sensations while processing the image. Finally, rate your negative feelings on a scale from one to 10, giving more weight to those experienced most recently.

Next, you will be asked to identify a positive belief related to the mental picture of the memory and rate it according to its truthfulness. Your therapist can assist in recognizing any physical or emotional discomfort that may occur during this process.

Your therapist will then instruct you in various relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation.

Once you become comfortable with these techniques, your therapist will begin memory processing. They will guide you through a series of left-to-right eye movements similar to REM sleep – so that they feel like natural and comfortable for you.

These bi-lateral eye movements allow you to reprocess a traumatic memory and reduce or eliminate symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD and other conditions. Furthermore, they help alter your underlying beliefs and perceptions about the trauma itself and what occurred.

It is essential to remember that during EMDR memory processing, talking is kept at a minimum. Your therapist will check in with you periodically throughout this period in order to confirm your processing is still going strong.

This can be the most challenging phase of the process. It may take multiple sessions to finish, but it will all be worthwhile in the end.

In this phase, your therapist will assist you in comprehending the theory behind EMDR therapy and providing an explanation of its process and how to prepare for sessions.

They will also discuss how you can cope with any uncomfortable feelings that may come up during EMDR therapy. They explain that they can assist you in managing these emotions, but you must be willing to work through them yourself.

The EMDR method is not just for treating PTSD; it can be beneficial to those with other conditions and issues as well, like panic disorder, depression, eating disorders, dissociative disorders and personality disorders. It relies on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model which recognizes that your brain stores normal and traumatic memories differently.

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