What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR, defined by EMDRIA, is “…extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including Post Traumatic Stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.” EMDR therapy is designed to allow the brain to heal naturally, focusing on unprocessed traumatic memories. Unlike other treatments, which focus on a client changing their emotions, thoughts, and responses tied to the trauma, EMDR focuses on the memory of the trauma. EMDR works to change the way memory is stored in the brain, thereby reducing and eliminating symptoms and distress. Organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Depts of Defense recognize EMDR therapy as an effective and evidenced-based treatment. The Veterans Health Administration describes EMDR in this short video below:
What Happens In EMDR Therapy?
- EMDR therapy sessions last 60-90 minutes. It could take one or several sessions to process a traumatic event.
- During the first session, the therapist will establish a relationship of trust with you and work on developing your ability to manage distress. They also explore specifically what you want to focus on.
- When you’re ready, you will be directed to focus on the upsetting memory, while the therapist will use a set of side-to-side movements, sounds, or taps to guide you in exploring what comes to mind after each set. The mind may naturally experience shifts in insights or imagery, feelings, or beliefs regarding the traumatic event. The therapist pays special attention to any negative beliefs and will assist you in finding your way to more adaptive beliefs about your memories.
- You have full control over how deep the event is explored or when to stop. The sets of eye movements, sounds, or taps are repeated until the event becomes less disturbing.
What Can You Do?
EMDR therapy is an excellent way to change the narrative of traumatic memories. And once processed these negative memories have less impact, and the brain is able to relax, no longer over-stimulated by the memory. EMDR has helped many Individuals, and it can help you too. Call today at 850-757-1552 or visit our website, New Heights Counseling, to learn more about EMDR therapy. Our professional therapists are dedicated to your care and available to answer any questions.
- What Should Clients Ask An EMDR Therapist? The article was written by EMDRIA’s members