What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, or EMDR, is a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. It has been researched extensively and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.
What Issues Can EMDR Treat?
EMDR is used to treat a variety of mental health issues including:
- Panic attacks
- Complicated grief
- Disturbing memories
- Pain disorders
- Performance anxiety
- Stress reduction
- Childhood Sexual and/or Physical abuse
- Childhood neglect
- Sexual assault
How Exactly Does EMDR Work?
It appears that EMDR has a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. This is beneficial to someone who has experienced a trauma, as trauma disrupts how one stores and consolidates the trauma memory. Trauma is defined as any event that disrupts our sense of security and stability and encompasses many different experiences in our lives. After trauma, a moment in time becomes “stuck” in the mind, and one can experience the trauma, the sounds, smells and images over and over again. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that uses bilateral stimulation to repeatedly activate different sides of the brain to allow for adaptive processing to occur which may lead to a sense of peace, connection in relationships and improved functioning.
After a successful EMDR session, the brain can recall the memory more adaptively and the person no longer relives the trauma. While they still remember that the event happened, they are not physically, mentally or emotionally upset by it. What is perhaps most interesting about EMDR is that it appears to be very similar to what occurs naturally during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. For this reason, EMDR can be considered a physiologically based therapy that helps individuals deal with distressing events in a new and less disturbing way.
What are EMDR Sessions Like?
EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that incorporates eight phases of treatment. How long it takes an individual to experience benefits of this therapy depends on their personal history.
Treatment typically targets three different areas: past memories, present disturbance, and future actions. The goal of this treatment is to process information and experiences differently. Each session aims to leave you with healthy emotions, understanding, and fresh perspectives that will ultimately lead to healthy and useful future behaviors and interactions.
How Long Does it Take EMDR to Work?
It is often helpful to have one or two sessions with the individual to fully understand the nature of their problem to determine if EMDR therapy will be an appropriate treatment. During these sessions, the therapist will answer any questions the prospective client may have about EMDR. Once the therapist and individual agree EMDR is the right way to go, actual therapy may begin.
Sessions typically last between 60 and 90 minutes. How many sessions will be required will be based on the type of problem, personal circumstances and the degree of the trauma. EMDR may be used within a standard “talking” therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring EMDR treatment, please contact DLM Counseling today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.