What is EMDR therapy?
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a mental health treatment technique. This method involves moving your eyes a specific way or using bilateral stimulation, while you process traumatic memories. EMDR’s goal is to help you heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences.
Who needs to have EMDR therapy?
People with a variety of mental health issues can benefit from EMDR. Adults of all ages, adolescents, and children can benefit from this treatment. EMDR is known for treating PTSD however, research has proven that EMDR Therapy is beneficial for treating many mental health disorders. Some common mental health disorders treated include the following:
- Grief and Loss
- Behavioral Challenges
- Anger Management
- And Much More
Why is EMDR Therapy used to treat Mental Health Disorders?
EMDR therapy is different than traditional forms of mental health counseling or talk therapy. With this and mental health counseling the focus is on emotions and memories. This therapy doesn’t require talking in detail about a distressing issue. Instead, it focuses on altering the feelings, ideas, or actions that follow a traumatic encounter. This enables your brain’s inherent mending mechanism to continue the natural healing process.
How does EMDR Therapy work?
Your brain stores normal and traumatic memories differently and EMDR Therapy focuses on healing the traumatic memories. Your brain stores memories easily when things go according to plan. Additionally, it networks them so that they connect to other memories you have. However, during traumatic or stressful situations the networking doesn’t function well while upsetting or disturbing situations are occurring. The traumatic situations may cause disturbance or gap between what you feel, hear, and see and what your brain stores in memory through language. This gap is what is referred to as “stuck”. EMDR therapy works toward closing that gap and “getting you unstuck”.
So, your mind becomes more sensitive to anything you saw, heard, smelt, or felt during a traumatic incident, just as your body is more sensitive to pain from an injury. This happens not only with current events you can remember, but also with suppressed memories. These suppressed memories, that you are consciously unaware of, can be triggered by sights, smells, or sounds and cause negative symptoms, behaviors, and emotions to surface unexpectedly.
How does EMDR Therapy make me feel better?
EMDR Therapy accesses memories of a traumatic event in specific ways. The goal is to release the traumatic memory so it is no longer negatively affecting your life. EMDR uses eye movements, bilateral stimulation, and guided instructions to access those memories and reprocesses them in a way that heals or repairs the brain. A goal of EMDR Therapy is to release the memory so it no longer feels like you are experiencing it in the moment or reliving it.
What mental health disorders and problems can be treated with EMDR Therapy?
EMDR Therapy and EMDR Intensives are generally used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it can also effectively treat other mental health conditions such as:
- Anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias and social anxiety/phobia.
- Depression disorders: Major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder and illness-related depression.
- Dissociative disorders: dissociative identity disorder or amnesia and depersonalization or derealization disorder.
- Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
- Gender dysphoria (feeling as though your gender is different from the one assigned to you at birth).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder and hoarding disorder.
- Personality disorders: borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
- Trauma disorders: Acute stress disorder, PTSD and adjustment disorder.
What does EMDR Therapy entail?
EMDR therapy consists of eight phases. These phases occur over multiple sessions, with one session sometimes using parts of several phases. For a single disturbing event or memory, it usually takes between four and eight sessions. More complex or longer-term traumas may require more sessions or EMDR Intensives. Sessions usually last around an hour for single sessions and EMDR Intensives are three hours or longer.
What are the advantages of using EMDR?
- EMDR is an extensively researched and highly effective treatment used to treat mental health disorders. EMDR Therapy works.
- EMDR Therapy provides long-lasting results and healing may be faster with a skilled EMDR therapist.
- EMDR therapy is not stressful. EMDR focuses on moving past the traumatic event and limits the amount of time you have to describe the traumatic events.
What are the risks or complications of this procedure?
EMDR has very low risks. The most common negative effects are negative thoughts or feelings between sessions. Your mental health counselor can help you understand what to expect with these and how you can react to them.
EMDR therapy works! It is a highly effective treatment for helping people heal from traumatic experiences. Everyone, regardless of age can benefit from EMDR Therapy. There are few risks relative to conventual mental health therapy and if performed by a skilled EMDR therapist you will achieve amazing results. EMDR therapy method can make a big difference for people struggling with painful events in their past.