What Is Important to Know About EMDR Therapy

What Is Important to Know About EMDR Therapy

There is a leading treatment discovered to be effective in helping individuals who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or have a history of trauma— this treatment is known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Since its initial discovery, EMDR has become part of treating many other types of disorders. This includes disorders with a trauma component like eating disorders, dissociative disorders, substance abuse disorders, panic disorders, as well as complicated grief and more.

Growing Popularity

EMDR is unknown to many people who haven’t previously experienced any type of treatment. However, it is quickly becoming a more common at various treatment centers. A therapist using EMDR is required to have specified licensing and certification, and not all therapists can provide EMDR therapy. Most eating disorder centers will have a minimum of one therapist who is qualified to provide EMDR therapy. Their goal is to uncover any traumatic triggers the client may be experiencing.

The Eight EMDR Phases

Phase One – The therapist evaluates the client’s case and formulates a treatment plan.

Phase Two – The therapist will establish a therapeutic relationship with the client. They will talk about EMDR and teach self-control techniques.

Phase Three – Traumatic memories that need to be addressed are identified. The client chooses an image for each memory. A positive thought is then identified to take the place of negative memories.

Phase Four – The disturbing reactions to a traumatic memory is decreased. This can involve physical sensations experienced when they remember it. This could include stomach problems, rapid heart rate, sweating and more.

Phase Five – This is when the positive thoughts of phase three are installed

Phase Six – A meditative technique is used where a client performs a body scan to identify physical sensations they are experiencing.

Phase Seven – The therapist stabilizes a person using self-control techniques from phase two. A person is asked to maintain a record of negative experiences, so they can deal with them during the next meeting.

Phase Eight – A review of the success of the treatment takes place. Additional traumatic events that may need to be targeted are identified.

How EMDR Works

It is common for people to be curious about what exactly happens during a session involving EMDR. The initial phase involves a therapist taking a thorough history of the client. The next is the preparation. During a Rapid Eye Movement (REM) session, the client is asked to focus on a troubling memory. This will help a person identify the beliefs they have about themselves and how they are connected to the bad memory.

A person will then try to create a positive belief they would like to have about themselves. Then, all of a person’s emotions and physical sensations associated with the memory are identified. A person will focus their mind on the memory. They will also be looking at the external stimulus that initiates side to side or bilateral eye movement. This is something that will happen as a person watches a therapist make a motion with a finger. Once each set of side to side movements are completed, a person will be asked how they feel. This will be repeated until a person no longer finds the upsetting memory disturbing.

Each Session

Each EMDR treatment session may last for approximately one hour, although it is also possible for them to be as long as 90 minutes. EMDR makes it possible for a person to process their trauma using both hemispheres of their brain after they have been properly stimulated. The installation of a chosen positive belief occurs using bilateral movement, with the intention that this will replace the negative trauma. The idea is that this will bypass the area of a person’s brain where it remains after the trauma.

Processing The Memory

During EMDR, the clients can process their traumatic memories in such a way they experience a peaceful resolution. A person will then have increased insight into a previously disturbing event, as well as long-held negative thoughts. These are negative thoughts about themselves caused by an original traumatic event.

When a person experiences a traumatic event, their brain may not properly process the event. The trauma will remain buried in a person’s unconscious mind— it is then able to be triggered again into a person’s current thinking. In some situations, the behavior associated with an eating disorder can start as a way to not have the feelings and thoughts associated with a traumatic event that occurred in the past. EMDR therapy has a high success rate in treating people who have had traumatic experiences in their life.

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