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What is EMDR Therapy? Exploring Effectiveness & Process

Crystalyn Hori-Wilson
Crystalyn Hori-Wilson

Hi, I've been working in mental health for 11 years and have worked with people of all ages, families, couples, and individuals. I'm currently focusing on women's issues and anxiety disorders.

Table of Contents

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy may be a term you’ve heard before, but you might not know much about it or how it functions. A clinical strategy for recovering from traumatic events, EMDR is quite successful.

This article will examine the EMDR procedure, the reasons it functions, and the supporting data. We’ll also look at how EMDR can assist you in overcoming traumatic events that impede your ability to progress in life.

You can decide whether or not EMDR is the best therapy for you by comprehending the underlying concepts and how they function. You will be better equipped to decide for yourself by giving you comprehensive details on this therapy.

You’ve come to the right site if you want to learn more about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This blog is intended to thoroughly examine what EMDR is, how it functions, and the efficacy of this kind of therapy.

First, Dr. Francine Shapiro created EMDR as trauma-focused psychotherapy in the late 1980s. Since then, it has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity as a method of treating PTSD, depression, anxiety, and phobias, among other mental health conditions. EMDR seeks to aid individuals in processing challenging life experiences while teaching them new coping mechanisms.

To desensitize the client from adverse feelings or beliefs from the traumatic event, EMDR generally entails clients engaging in eight phases with their therapist. This entails a thorough body scan, resource gathering, assessment, desensitization, installation of positive belief systems, and reevaluation. Through these phases, clients can work through difficult memories and acquire crucial self-care skills they can use for the rest of their lives.

Now that you know what EMDR is and the fundamentals of the therapeutic process, let’s go deeper into understanding how effective it is!

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

Eye movements, vocal cues, and additional cognitive and behavioral techniques are all used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. It’s a technique for dealing with upsetting or unpleasant experiences without actively reliving them.

Through EMDR, you can get respite from uncomfortable emotions and begin to heal from traumatic situations. Memory is a collection of images, sensations, feelings, and beliefs stored in a person’s brain. A therapist will help you access troubling thoughts and work with them in EMDR treatment to lessen their influence over you.

Regarding its methodology, EMDR incorporates components from several therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, talk therapy, and relaxation techniques. During EMDR sessions, your therapist will guide you through verbal prompts or physical touch. They may ask you to focus on certain trauma-related concepts or circumstances by asking you to tap or shift your gaze back and forth.

Effectiveness of EMDR Therapy

Many different mental diseases, including post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, depression, and anxiety, have been successfully treated with EMDR Therapy. According to studies, EMDR therapy is more efficient than cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy alone at reducing symptoms.

Despite the fact that not everyone may find it useful. The only therapy acknowledged as effective in treating trauma and PTSD by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is EMDR. Moreover, various anxiety-related diseases, including addiction, have benefited from its use.

According to research, EMDR is more efficient than conventional exposure therapy at rapidly reducing PTSD and trauma symptoms. One study revealed that after 12 sessions of EMDR therapy, 75% of individuals showed promising results.

EMDR is becoming more and more well-liked among mental health experts as a treatment option for their patients due to its high success rate and usefulness.

Process of EMDR Therapy

Some different phases make up the EMDR therapy process. Each stage is crucial in helping the patient process their trauma and heal.

Phase 1: History Taking

The first stage of EMDR treatment is to learn about the client’s history, including any prior traumas, present problems, and any personal resources they may have. The therapist will utilize this data to design a therapy strategy specifically catered to the patient’s requirements. Usually, this procedure takes one hour.

Phase 2: Preparation

The therapist will work with the client to ensure they are adequately ready for EMDR treatment throughout this phase. This way, we can offer people tools for self-care and stress reduction that they can use throughout trauma reprocessing.

Phase 3: Assessment

Therapy during this phase will focus on addressing the trauma components (i.e., which types of memories to focus on) and creating a plan for how to do so. Each objective typically requires about 45 minutes.

EMDR therapy takes 3 to 12 sessions to process these targets, depending on the severity of the trauma. EMDR treatments allow patients to work over trauma and gradually establish a healthy mental state.

Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy?

In recent years, EMDR therapy has proved to be a very effective treatment for various psychological problems. EMDR therapy can help those who have experienced trauma, those with PTSD, those with anxiety problems, and even those with addictions.

The procedure is a comprehensive treatment strategy that includes therapy, medication, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and other necessary methods. It focuses on specific traumatic memories or events connected to the patient’s problems.

It is recommended that patients use EMDR Therapy to seek long-term solutions to their problems by focusing on the root causes of their problems. Individuals can significantly reduce their condition-related symptoms under a skilled therapist’s direction, including reduced distress levels and enhanced life functioning.

What to Expect During EMDR Therapy

EMDR is a form of treatment involving four steps often used to process and treat emotional distress.

Preparing for EMDR Therapy

The first stage is preparation, during which your therapist will review the EMDR process with you and address any issues you may have. Along with going over your problem’s history, symptoms, and therapy objectives. At this phase, you will also discover how your earlier encounters shaped your current outlook and behavior and how they affect your care.

The Role of the Therapist

Your therapist will teach you a self-regulation technique after the first phase of EMDR to help you deal with any upsetting feelings or memories. It could come up in the second stage of the procedure, along with any EMDR sessions that would be required. As you progress to the third phase of treatment, your therapist will decide which specific memories to focus on. You connect with your triggers and opposing ideas by becoming aware of them.

The Role of the Patient

This phase asks you to recollect a traumatic event or an image that sticks with you. This acts as a “target” for the processing that follows. To determine this memory’s distressingness level, you will be asked to rate it from 0 to 10. Then, using eye movements or other bilateral stimulation techniques, your therapist assists you in focusing on both positive and destructive elements of this trauma.

Possible Side Effects

It’s crucial to be aware that the technique may have some adverse effects, such as agitation or bewilderment because it might elicit strong emotions. Discuss any reactions you have while undergoing EMDR with your therapist so they can determine whether additional processing or treatment modifications are needed.

It’s critical to keep up with EMDR Therapy’s effectiveness because it can effectively treat trauma survivors and those with other psychiatric diseases. Clinicians throughout the world have utilized and studied the EMDR Therapy procedure.

According to research, EMDR Therapy successfully treats mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, despair, and phobias. Also, there is much more to discover and learn about this modality’s efficacy, given the possibility of future research.

It is crucial for anyone considering EMDR therapy to first speak with a trained expert. One can begin recovering from psychological trauma with the correct therapist while examining potential remedies for prospective mental health issues in the future.

It’s crucial to remember that each person’s experience with and response to EMDR therapy will be unique when considering its utilization. However, evidence gleaned from research and individual experiences points to EMDR Therapy. It can be a helpful tool for people looking for solutions to their current emotional issues or healing from past traumas.

Last, a tried-and-true, research-based therapeutic approach is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). To assist people of all ages to overcome their fears, phobias, and other trauma-related difficulties. To process traumatic memories, EMDR uses bilateral eye movements, music, and tactile stimulation. It aids consumers in locating alleviation from issues that may persist for years following the initial incident. When addressing trauma and living a life of greater peace and joy, EMDR therapy is a fantastic solution.

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