EMDR Therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a psychotherapy technique that has been proven to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s also effective for anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.
During an EMDR session, the therapist and patient work together to heal trauma through a series of phased, focused sessions. Each session focuses on a specific memory, thought, feeling, or behavior and includes bilateral stimulation to help unpack the emotions, memories, body sensations, and beliefs that are related to this event.
In addition, patients are encouraged to engage in activities that encourage positive thoughts and feelings. This helps them to feel more in control of their emotional health and less susceptible to triggering events or negative reactions.
The therapist will begin the EMDR process by asking you to recall a traumatic memory and reflect on its impact in your life. Then, they’ll ask you to describe the emotion and body sensations that are associated with this recollection.
Next, the therapist will use bilateral stimulation to activate the brain’s natural healing system. This can include side-to-side eye movements, tapping lightly on your body, or listening to sounds or blinking lights that alternate from one hemisphere to the other.
It may be helpful for your therapist to teach you a few techniques that you can use in between sessions to better manage the feelings that are brought up during the therapy process. This will help you to handle uncomfortable emotions better, and you may start seeing improvements in your symptoms sooner than if you had not taken the time to practice these strategies.
EMDR is a safe and structured treatment method that has been widely endorsed by various organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association. It’s also backed by the Department of Defense, the United Kingdom, and several major HMOs.
When PTSD is not treated, it can cause a number of problems to develop, such as addiction and substance abuse. EMDR can reduce the emotional and physical distress that can lead to addiction, by helping patients reprocess traumatic incidents that have caused them to develop PTSD in the first place.
The main goal of EMDR is to reduce the impact of traumatic incidents and to promote more productive, happy, and healthy thinking. The treatment also involves learning healthier coping skills and replacing self-defeating thoughts with more positive beliefs.
It typically takes longer for adults to experience EMDR than it does for children, but it can be effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues, such as PTSD, anxiety, and other disorders. Many clients notice significant improvements within a few months of starting EMDR treatment for their specific problem.
Often, the initial sessions involve much more talking and deep reflection than traditional psychotherapy sessions. This can make you more vulnerable to the trauma or issue that is being addressed, so it’s important for you to be prepared for this and understand how the EMDR therapy process works.
The number of EMDR therapy sessions will vary depending on your needs and goals for treatment, but most patients participate in two sessions per week for three to six weeks. This is because the EMDR technique helps to trigger healing at a deeper level than conventional talk therapy.