Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, more widely known as EMDR, is a type of therapy that is used to treat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
EMDR is proven to reduce the negative impact that past experiences may have on one’s present. EMDR therapy is the most used and researched treatment for PTSD because of its effectiveness for treating trauma.
EMDR therapy can also be used to treat a number of issues including anxiety, addictions, anger, depression, panic attacks, insomnia and low self-esteem.
How does it work?
Trauma can result from a series of hurtful incidents or a single horrific event like rape.
Traumatic memories have been shown to overwhelm our capacity to cope. When this happens, distressing memories become “stuck”, and are relived whenever something triggers or reminds us of the trauma.
Including eye movements or tapping, EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation to remove any emotional disturbance connected to a past event. Bilateral stimulation, which occurs naturally during REM sleep, is what allows memories to be reprocessed.
EMDR therapy seems to unlock the mind’s natural healing process. Reprocessing negative experiences can significantly reduces distress by desensitizing symptoms that were originally associated to the event(s). When used appropriately it can shorten the overall length of time in therapy significantly.
What to expect when starting EMDR Therapy?
EMDR sessions are typically 60-90 minutes long. Prior to starting EMDR your therapist will get some information on the issue(s) that are creating distress, as well as the memories and the negative beliefs connected to it.
Your therapist will use bilateral stimulation to desensitize the memories and negative beliefs that were previously identified. The therapist will then ask you to notice what comes up for you during each eye movement or series of tapping. During this time you will likely notice images, emotions, sensations and/or thoughts that are connected to the memory that’s being processed.
Sometimes unpleasant emotions or sensations will come up as they relate to the memory. These generally pass within a few minutes as the images, emotions, sensations, and/or thoughts you experience quickly lose their charge and fade into the past.
Once the memory is no longer distressing, your therapist will ask you to bring up positive self-statements to replace unhealthy beliefs connected to the memory with more more positive ones.
What can I expect from EMDR Therapy?
You can expect to feel more at ease and at peace with your past after completing EMDR Therapy. You can also expect long-term reduction in PTSD or other symptoms.
EMDR allows you to face your fears in a safe way, so that you no longer feel controlled by them. It facilitates healing from emotional pain so that you can better enjoy the present and feel confident in your ability to cope with whatever lies ahead.
Ready to heal old wounds?
Contact me now to learn more about EMDR Therapy and find out how I can help.