What is EMDR Therapy Like?

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What is EMDR Therapy Like?

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that assists individuals in recovering from traumatic or difficult memories. It has been used to treat PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain and other emotional problems; furthermore it has been known to reduce or eliminate phobias and depression.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been clinically proven effective, and EMDR works by “unfreezing” traumatic memories in your brain so they can be processed more fully.

The EMDR technique utilizes eye movements and other brief, bilateral stimulation (BLS) techniques that target specific parts of your brain. Studies have demonstrated that these BLS cause a “synchronisation” of brain activity, enabling it to more efficiently process trauma-related information and dissect it more thoroughly.

Your eyes move back and forth while you focus on a fragmented memory or emotion related to trauma. The therapist stimulates your visual cortex with these movements, activating “working” memory and altering how you emotionally react to the experience – similar to how your brain processes information during REM sleep.

In fact, EMDR therapists have observed that eye movements, facilitated tapping and auditory tones help activate your brain’s natural healing process by stimulating parts responsible for processing trauma. It’s not uncommon for clients to feel a surge of energy as their therapist guides them through this EMDR procedure.

At the start of EMDR therapy, a therapist will review your history and determine whether you’re ready to begin treatment. They then identify targets for EMDR and create an individualized plan of action.

You must be willing to let go of outdated, unhelpful ways of thinking and be vulnerable with your therapist. Additionally, remember that you remain in control during EMDR sessions.

If you feel overwhelmed or out of control during a session, it’s perfectly acceptable to raise your hand in the “stop” gesture and end the session. Your therapist can offer helpful coping strategies and relaxation exercises so that you stay grounded throughout the process.

Preparing for EMDR is beneficial by engaging in healthy habits such as exercising, meditation and breathing exercises. Doing so can make you more aware of your feelings and less likely to relapse during sessions.

The EMDR process is not a quick fix. It takes time to address any traumatic memories or emotions that may be causing your symptoms, and it may take more than one session before you see results.

When considering whether EMDR therapy will be successful for you, several factors must be taken into consideration: severity and age of the traumatic event; children who have suffered trauma typically need longer treatments than adults suffering from PTSD onset.

At your initial session, your therapist will explain the theory behind EMDR and the techniques they’ll employ. They may also ask you to rate your level of distress both during and after treatment.

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