Trauma is a part of life, and depending on the severity, it can be debilitating. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 70% of adults in the United States have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available today, and one of the most effective of them is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Although it may seem like a new and untested form of therapy, EMDR has been around for over 30 years and has been widely accepted by the medical community. In this blog post, we will shed some light on EMDR therapy, how it works, and why it is an effective treatment for trauma-related disorders.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on processing and resolving traumatic experiences. It was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro, a psychologist who discovered the benefits of eye movements in reducing anxiety. EMDR therapy involves several stages, and each stage aims to help an individual process traumatic memories, reduce their intensity, and reframe the way they think about their experiences.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
EMDR therapy typically involves the following steps:
History and treatment planning: The therapist will gather information about the client’s history and identify specific traumatic memories to target during therapy.
Preparation: The therapist will help the client develop coping skills and relaxation techniques to use during the therapy sessions.
Assessment: The therapist will ask the client to focus on a specific traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation (such as following the therapist’s finger back and forth with their eyes).
Desensitization: As the client focuses on the traumatic memory, the therapist will guide them through a process of desensitization, in which the emotional intensity of the memory is gradually reduced.
Installation: The therapist will help the client replace negative beliefs associated with the traumatic memory with positive ones.
Body scan: The therapist will guide the client through a body scan to ensure that they are no longer experiencing physical sensations related to the traumatic memory.
Closure: The therapist will help the client return to a calm state and discuss any feelings that may have come up during the session.
Reevaluation: In subsequent sessions, the therapist will assess the client’s progress and determine whether additional sessions are needed.
Why is EMDR Therapy Effective?
Studies have shown that EMDR therapy is an effective treatment for various trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), persistent grief, and anxiety disorders. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes EMDR therapy as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. EMDR therapy helps patients process traumatic memories, minimize their intensity, and reframe negative beliefs about themselves that may have been formed after the traumatic experience.
Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy is suitable for anyone who has experienced a traumatic event or has difficulty processing a distressing or traumatic experience. It is also effective for people who have not responded to traditional talk therapies. Although EMDR therapy is primarily designed to treat trauma, it has also been shown to be effective for a range of mental health disorders and issues, including addiction, depression, anxiety, phobias, and more.
EMDR therapy is a well-regarded, evidence-based form of psychotherapy that can offer hope and healing for individuals who have experienced or are experiencing trauma-related disorders. It is a safe and effective treatment option that can help alleviate distressing symptoms and improve overall well-being.
EMDR therapy requires a skilled and experienced therapist, and if you or someone you know could benefit from this type of therapy, it is essential to seek out a licensed and trained EMDR therapist. With the right therapist and treatment plan, EMDR therapy can help individuals live happier and healthier lives.
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