What is EMDR Therapy? Understanding EMDR and How it Works
EMDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a form of psychotherapy treatment that was originally aimed to help alleviate the stress that resulted from traumatic memories. This form of therapy accesses and processes past traumatic memories and helps bring these issues to a resolution. EMDR therapy is an effective treatment for trauma and PTSD.
During EMDR therapy, clients relive or revisit their traumatic experiences in brief doses while a therapist directs eye movement. This method is found to be effective because the experiences are less upsetting when your attention is diverted elsewhere.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR therapy works by first bringing the client face to face with their particular traumatic trigger. During this process, the client is presented with emotionally triggering material while simultaneously focusing on some sort of external stimulus. The most common external stimuli present in this therapy is directed lateral eye movement.
This psychotherapy allows clients to heal from the emotional distress they are experiencing as a result of a past emotional trauma. Through re-association this kind of therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma.
By locating the specific trigger that is causing emotional distress, EDMR therapy can help re-reroute the mental processes around the event and alleviate the client from the negative experience.
EDMR therapy is an eight-phase treatment combining a number of elements and techniques.
Phase 1: This is the first step in the treatment process, targeting the trauma. Phase one of EMDR therapy consists of the EMDR therapist taking a look into the history of the client and identifying the cause of emotional distress, past traumas, and the memories associated with trauma. From there, the therapist will gain insight into the clients mental health and develop a treatment plan.
Phase 2: During this phase, the EMDR therapist will walk the client through a series of available coping techniques. The therapist will demonstrate some ways for the client to reduce stress as they dive deeper into targeting the root of the trauma.
Phase 3: In phase three the therapist locates the specific triggering event and all of the components associated with this trauma including physical and bodily sensations.
Phase 4-7: This is where treatment begins. During phases 4-7 the client will be asked to focus on a negative thought or memory. While the client is focusing on this, the therapist will simultaneously have the client conduct eye movements. After this stimulation is complete, the client will be instructed to have their mind go blank and focus on the feelings and thoughts they are experiencing. Once the client’s mind is focused, they will be asked to revisit the traumatic experience. Over time the stress felt over the particular thought will begin to fade as the mind natural heals.
Phase 8: Phase eight is the examination of client progress. At this stage of EMDR therapy the client and therapist will examine the progress the client has experienced.
What Can EMDR Therapy Treat?
EMDR therapy is different from other forms of therapies because it can help individuals recover from trauma. There is EMDR therapy for PTSD, EMDR therapy for anxiety, EMDR therapy for depression, etc.
Unlike other forms of therapy, EMDR focuses on changing the thought process, behaviors, and emotions associated with a traumatic issue. This form of therapy is designed to help clients resolve traumatic experiences that remain unprocessed in the brain.
Like any kind of therapy, EMDR therapy should only be conducted by a trained mental health professional. While EMDR can be triggering in the beginning, this process has a high success rate and is found to be effective in clients in the long run. If you think EMDR may be the right step for you, contact Audacious Therapy today to schedule your free consult! (link)