What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy in Minnesota is a type of psychotherapy developed to assist those dealing with traumas and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). It teaches clients how to process memories in a positive and healthier manner, thus improving their quality of life overall.
During an EMDR session, your therapist will first ask you to focus on a memory or feeling that needs work. They may then instruct you in performing eye movements and guided instructions.
This method for identifying, processing and altering memories you possess is known as the “EMDR protocol.” It involves eight stages that help to transform the emotional impact of those memories. With EMDR you can develop new associations between negative memories and more adaptive ones.
In 1987, psychologist Francine Shapiro developed the EMDR method with the theory that human beings can reintegrate information (both positive and negative) from past events. It has proved beneficial for a variety of conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and anger management.
There are various methods for performing EMDR therapy, but all of them involve stimulating the brain with various methods. These may include eye movement, auditory or tactile stimulation, as well as body sensations.
These techniques have been scientifically proven to be successful in many cases. Combining eye movements, auditory or tactile stimulation and body senses with thoughts and visualizations create a safe space to bring up unpleasant feelings or memories without causing distress.
Your therapist may use rhythmic tapping, audio tones or eye movements as “bilateral stimulation,” which can be especially helpful for individuals with visual processing issues.
In the beginning, healthcare providers would typically hold up two fingers and ask you to follow them from side to side with your eyes. Over time, however, healthcare providers began using small paddles that vibrated on both sides of the body as well as earphones with alternating beeps for added convenience.
Bilateral stimulation is a fundamental element of EMDR, as it activates both sides of the brain. Your therapist may ask you to focus on making back and forth motions with your eyes or hands in order to wake up your brain and begin intentional work on thoughts and emotions.
At this stage of treatment, you’ll be asked to identify visual images related to memories, negative beliefs about yourself and associated body sensations. After that, you will be guided towards selecting a positive belief which can help reduce emotional and physical symptoms associated with those memories.
Once you’ve identified the memory and any negative beliefs it brings with it, your therapist can use guided instructions to help you recognize how this negative belief keeps you stuck in feelings of pain, fear and anger.