What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.
EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.
The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed.
More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense.
Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR therapy would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.
As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.
For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.” Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.
As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.
Best for who?
What Kind of Problems Can EMDR Treat?
EMDR is established as a well-researched and effective treatment approach for not only post-traumatic stress, but many mental health issues like anxiety, depression, poor job performance, sexual dysfunction, low self-esteem, among others.
Therapists have also reported significant success in treating pain disorders, panic attacks, sexual and physical abuse, body dysmorphic issues, PTSD, trauma, performance anxiety, stress management, eating disorders, phobias, disturbing memories, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, addictions, and complicated grief.
https://www.emdria.org › about-emdr-therapy
EMDR therapy relies on your body and mind’s ability to process through your thoughts and feelings. People who are ready and willing to talk about their distressing experiences will have more progress towards healing.
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, she asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision.
EMDR sessions typically last 50 minutes. The therapist will ask you to recall the details of a disturbing experience, such as sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, and emotions. Then, you’d be guided through several sets of dual stimulation through eye movements by following the therapist’s hands or looking at a light bar, alternating audio stimulation, or oscillating vibrations in your hands via hand buzzers.
EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. Also, it is given to current situations that cause distress, and to developing the skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. With EMDR therapy, these items are addressed using an eight-phase treatment approach.