EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is growing in popularity as a highly efficient and effective psychotherapy treatment for trauma. Below are a handful of the most common questions asked about this treatment.
WHAT DOES EMDR TREAT?
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Negative childhood memories
- And more…
EMDR IN A NUTSHELL?
Essentially, EMDR is an information-processing therapy that has multiple elements including: patient history, utilization of stress reduction tools, assessment of coping skills and client stability, identification of a target or current situation which evokes traumatic memory, and ultimately, the use of procedures to diminish the strength of the sensations associated with the traumatic experience so that the patient can increase positive experiences needed for good mental health, vitality and secure attachment with others. After the processing of a specific memory is accomplished through EMDR Therapy, the goal of therapy is that memory will no longer have the same power or emotional charge. In successful EMDR treatment, patients may remember the memory, but it often ceases to cause the same traumatic feelings and reactions.
EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN EMDR SESSION?
During your EMDR Therapy session, the therapist will ask you a number of questions related to the traumatic memory and your negative feelings surrounding it. During the EMDR processing, the therapist utilized bilateral stimulation which may involve following the therapist’s fingers with your eyes as they move left to right, hold on to buzzers that alternate vibrations between your hands, wear headphones with tones that alternate left and right, or follow a moving light. Sometimes EMDR therapy combines several of these factors. These are all examples of bilateral stimulation which will help your brain process the trauma. Your therapist will guide and support you as you begin to process your memories with the goal of reducing distressing feelings about a specific memory.
WHAT ARE THE KINDS OF MEMORIES EMDR THERAPY CAN HELP?
EMDR Therapy is extremely helpful for a variety of painful emotional experiences. Some examples of these experiences are listed below:
- Memories of parents divorcing, and/or going through your own divorce or end of a relationship
- Losing someone you love
- Times you thought you might die
- Memories of being sexually abused or assaulted
- Memories of being spanked hit or otherwise physically injured
- Growing up with a parent who drank too much
- Growing with an emotionally unavailable parent
- Growing up with a parent who could easily become angry
- Betrayal by a loved one
- Memories of being shamed or criticized
HOW IS TALK THERAPY DIFFERENT EMDR THERAPY
EMDR Therapy utilizes a structured therapeutic modality. As part of the therapy you observe with the therapist guiding the process and then you report what comes up when you think about certain aspects of a particular memory. To resolve emotional and painful memories, EMDR Therapy can show positive results sooner and at a deeper level than traditional talk therapy. Also, when EMDR is fused with talk therapy it is often even more effective.
APPROXIMATELY HOW LONG DOES EMDR THERAPY TAKE?
There are an assessment and preparation phase of EMDR Therapy during which your therapist evaluates whether EMDR Therapy is appropriate as a treatment for you. Once the processing starts, some issues can be processed and resolved quickly. While the more complex traumas may require a longer time-frame. The initial assessment and first processing session often gives us a clearer picture of how long it will likely take to work through your negative or traumatic memories.
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