To begin with, EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. While that might sound complicated, this type of therapy is actually pretty straightforward. That’s one reason it has increased in popularity over the years.
As far as treatment for trauma goes, EMDR is relatively new. It was developed in the late 1980s, so it has not been around as long as some other treatment options. However, because of its effectiveness, it is currently one of the most widely used treatments for trauma.
If you, or someone you know, have experienced one or multiple traumas and you’re trying to find the best treatment option, you might want to consider EMDR. Not sure if it’s right for you? Let’s dive a little deeper into what it is and what you can expect from the sessions.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR was specifically created to help individuals deal with the effects of past trauma. Whether you went through one traumatic event or you’re trying to deal with the effects of years of chronic trauma, the impact and resulting symptoms of trauma related disorders can be debilitating—unless you get treatment.
Talk therapy is a common treatment option for trauma survivors. But EMDR goes one step further.
EMDR is a treatment that is done in eight phases. Each phase focuses on helping you process the trauma in a safe and controlled environment. During one of the phases, you will move your eyes back and forth while thinking of a traumatic memory (that’s where the name EMDR comes from).
The main premise behind EMDR is that traumatic memories are stored differently in your brain than memories of normal, non-traumatic events. By processing the memories during EMDR, you are allowing your brain to sort through them and place them into long term memory where they belong. This allows the traumatic memories to become less powerful and emotionally charged.
What Are the Phases?
One reason people enjoy the benefits of EMDR so much is the fact that is a more straightforward and streamlined treatment. That doesn’t mean there is a “one size fits all” for everyone dealing with trauma. But, the eight phases of EMDR are done with a focused approach which allows you to work through the root of the trauma and helps you to receive relief from the effects of it. The eight phases are:
- History and treatment planning
- Body scan
As you can see, it isn’t a rushed or hurried process. Even the reevaluation phase is designed to determine the effectiveness of the treatment as time goes on. EMDR patients tend to feel relief pretty soon after beginning treatment, although this will depend on how extensive their trauma history is. But going through all eight phases and determining if they worked properly is a key component of the treatment process.
Is EMDR Right for You?
It’s important to understand that EMDR isn’t just a “quick fix.” It works for most patients who are open to the ideas behind the process. Not only can it help to treat the effects of PTSD, but it is also used for conditions like anxiety, depression, and addictions. You can read more about EMDR at https://www.emdria.org/.
So, is it the right treatment option for you? If you believe you have been through negative experiences that continue to impact your life currently, and you are open to going through the process, it definitely could be worth exploring as a treatment option.
If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR, what it is, and how it can help you, feel free to contact me, Dr. Ginny Kington, for more information or to set up a free consultation.