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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

EMDR TherapyEye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychological and neurobiological treatment that is aimed at addressing the stress related to trauma. It’s common for trauma to affect someone in such a way that he or she continues to feel significant stress and anxiety. Events that happened many years ago can continue to feel like a burden upon someone’s psychological well-being. However, EMDR Therapy can facilitate a reduction of anxiety as well as a letting go of the past experience. This form of therapy can help someone process the distressing emotions associated with the trauma and find a solution. EMDR Therapy can help with:

  • reducing anxiety
  • reformulating beliefs
  • reducing associated physical symptoms
  • processing emotions associated with trauma

Another advantage of this type of therapy is that it can create healing in significantly less time than traditional talk-oriented therapies. EMDR Therapy has been shown to be extremely successful in treating trauma-related conditions.

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a related yet separate form of therapy usually linked to post-traumatic stress, and it utilizes bilateral stimulation in addition to eye movements to intensify traumatic recall within a safe, therapeutic space. The idea is that exposure therapy is a great way to ultimately overcome trauma – but EMDR goes a step further in revealing the intensity of a traumatic experience through eye movements, rhythm, and other stimuli, to further desensitize a patient to their past.

The idea behind all trauma therapy is that trauma is an open wound that cannot ever be erased but can be turned into a faint scar. We can’t – and shouldn’t – excise what is ultimately a part of us. And even buried memories manifest themselves in painful mental symptoms. So, by uncovering, laying bare and openly tackling trauma, EMDR and other similar therapy options help people overcome the paralyzing effect their trauma has.

Brainspotting isn’t simply limited to post-traumatic stress, however. It’s a treatment option that carries on being useful for different diagnoses, including anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks.

How EMDR Works

The way EMDR works is both simple and complex.  Essentially, the treatment is based on the underlying premise that the body knows how to heal itself from a physical wound, and that similarly, the mind knows how to heal itself as well. EMDR facilitates the natural healing of the mind by providing a distraction in order to remove any emotional blockages that might be getting in the way of the natural healing process.

Essentially, EMDR affects the way that a person’s brain processes certain information, such as negative memories from the past. In this way, a person can reprocess traumatic events in a way that is less upsetting. Typically, addressing a traumatic event in therapy can stir up incredibly challenging emotions and psychological states. However, EMDR can ease this experience and allow a person to face those difficulties with greater ease. This facilitates one’s ability to face, process, and heal from trauma. During EMDR sessions, a person addresses emotionally difficult experiences with a therapist, while focusing on some sort of external (and usually physical) stimulus. Commonly, this stimulus is in the form of lateral eye movements, hand tapping, or audio stimulation. The stimulation serves as a distraction so that insights into the connections, disturbances, and blockages that might exist for a person might be gained, In turn, this can help eliminate those emotional blockages and help a person restore his or her natural healing processes.

The great success of EMDR Therapy is fairly impressive, especially considering that most people only participate in eight treatments, which are broken down to address the past, present, and future.  EMDR focuses on the experiences and memories people have, as they are related to particularly traumatic events in their lives, as well as the negative symptoms and challenges they experience now, because of those events.  It is known around the world as being a very successful therapeutic technique, and millions of people have had positive healing experiences as a result of engaging in this treatment.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a psychological illness, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy might be able to help.