What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a unique, modern,
nontraditional form of psychotherapy that helps people heal from disturbing life experiences. It’s growing in popularity, particularly as a proven treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “PTSD often occurs after experiences such as military combat, physical assault, rape, and car accidents.” EMDR also helps treat anxiety, depression, panic disorders, and other mental conditions. EMDR can be most effective alongside, and in combination with other treatments.
How EMDR Works
The memory of a traumatic experience gets locked in the brain. It maybe locked but it is also able to be triggered by reminders through the senses: sight, sound, touch, and smell. The senses trigger flashbacks, negative thoughts, and a fight, flee, or freeze response that conjures up the traumatic event again. EMDR works by using bi-lateral eye movements to free up the mental
system to allow for those old memories to get processed, which enables you finally put the event into perspective and heal. EMDR is an empowering treatment and its important to remember that you are always in control and in charge of your emotions.
EMDR therapy consists of eight phases. During the treatment, the subject recalls traumatic experiences while moving their eyes back and forth. The therapist will direct this eye movement. EMDR helps to reprocess and bring traumatic memories to an adaptive resolution.
The goal is to allow people to process and integrate these traumatic memories into their standard memories. Over time, Disturbing memories and present situations should no longer be problematic and new healthy responses become the norm.
EMDR as an Effective Treatment
Unlike adverse reactions from medications for depression and trauma symptoms, EMDR has proven to be a safe and effective treatment. For the past 25 years, therapists have been successful in using EMDR to treat millions of people. Research suggests that the benefits of EMDR are long-lasting and people are unlikely to
According to the EMDR Institute, “studies on EMDR therapy have shown that it has positive effects and as many as 90% of trauma
survivors appeared to have no PTSD symptoms after just three sessions.” Other studies that the EMDR Institute cite showed very positive outcomes for the majority of participants after six to 12 sessions.” By using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that typically took years to make a difference.