What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach that was initially developed to treat traumatic memories and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR involves using bilateral stimulation, which can be in the form of eye movements, taps, or sounds, to help process traumatic memories and other distressing experiences.
During an EMDR session, the therapist will guide the individual through a specific protocol that involves recalling a traumatic or distressing memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation. This process is thought to activate the brain’s natural healing processes, allowing the individual to reprocess the traumatic memory in a more adaptive way.
EMDR has since been used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and addiction. The therapy has also been adapted for use with children and adolescents.
It’s important to note that EMDR is a specialized form of therapy that should only be conducted by a licensed and trained therapist who has received specific training in EMDR techniques.
What to expect during EMDR sessions?
An EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy session typically follows a specific protocol, which involves several stages:
- History and treatment planning: In the first stage, the therapist will conduct an initial assessment and gather information about the individual’s history and symptoms. Based on this information, the therapist will develop a treatment plan that outlines the specific targets for EMDR therapy.
- Preparation: The therapist will then work with the individual to develop relaxation and coping skills that can be used during the EMDR process. The therapist will also explain the EMDR process and answer any questions the individual may have.
- Assessment: The therapist will ask the individual to focus on a specific target memory, which is usually a traumatic or distressing event from the past. The individual will be asked to rate the level of disturbance they feel when thinking about the memory.
- Desensitization: During this stage, the therapist will guide the individual through bilateral stimulation, which can be in the form of eye movements, taps, or sounds. The individual will be asked to recall the target memory while simultaneously engaging in the bilateral stimulation. This process may be repeated several times until the level of disturbance associated with the memory is reduced.
- Installation: In this stage, the therapist will guide the individual to focus on positive beliefs or emotions that they want to associate with the target memory. This can help to strengthen adaptive beliefs and emotions and reduce the impact of the traumatic memory.
- Body scan: The therapist will guide the individual to scan their body for any remaining physical sensations or discomfort associated with the target memory.
- Closure: At the end of the session, the therapist will help the individual to return to a state of relaxation and provide them with any necessary aftercare instructions.
It’s important to note that the number of sessions required for EMDR therapy will depend on the individual’s specific needs and goals. The therapist may also use different forms of bilateral stimulation, depending on the individual’s preferences and needs.
How long does it take for EMDR to work?
The length of time it takes for EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to work can vary depending on several factors, such as the individual’s specific needs and the severity of their symptoms.
EMDR is generally considered to be a time-limited therapy, which means that individuals typically see improvement within a relatively short period of time. However, the number of sessions required can vary depending on the individual’s needs and goals. Some individuals may experience significant improvement after just a few sessions, while others may require more sessions over a longer period of time.
Research studies have suggested that EMDR can be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias. In general, studies have shown that EMDR can lead to significant improvements in symptoms and overall functioning in a relatively short period of time, often in as few as 6-12 sessions.
It’s important to note that EMDR is a specialized form of therapy that should only be conducted by a licensed and trained therapist who has received specific training in EMDR techniques. The therapist will work with the individual to determine the appropriate course of treatment and help them to achieve their specific goals.
What to expect after an EMDR session?
After completing a session of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), individuals may experience a range of emotions and physical sensations. Some common experiences after EMDR may include:
- Relief: Many individuals report feeling a sense of relief or release after completing an EMDR session. This may be due to the reduction in distress associated with the target memory.
- Fatigue: EMDR can be a physically and emotionally intense therapy, and some individuals may feel tired or drained after a session.
- Vivid dreams or memories: It’s common for individuals to experience vivid dreams or memories after an EMDR session, as the therapy can bring up previously suppressed emotions or memories.
- Increased awareness: Some individuals may feel more aware of their thoughts and feelings after an EMDR session, which can help them to better understand and process their emotions.
- Continued processing: The effects of EMDR may continue after the session has ended, and individuals may continue to process their emotions and experiences in the days and weeks following the therapy.
It’s important to note that the effects of EMDR can vary from person to person, and it may take some time to see the full benefits of the therapy. It’s also important to continue working with a licensed and trained therapist who can provide support and guidance throughout the EMDR process.
What is life after EMDR?
Life after EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can vary from person to person, but many individuals report feeling a significant reduction in symptoms related to their traumatic experiences. Some common experiences after completing EMDR therapy may include:
- Improved emotional regulation: EMDR can help individuals to better regulate their emotions and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
- Increased sense of control: EMDR can help individuals to feel more in control of their thoughts and emotions, and reduce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
- Greater self-awareness: EMDR can help individuals to better understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and develop more effective coping strategies.
- Improved relationships: EMDR can help individuals to address past traumas that may have impacted their relationships, leading to improved communication and more fulfilling connections with others.
- Continued healing: While EMDR can be a highly effective therapy for trauma, it’s important to note that healing is an ongoing process. Individuals may continue to work with their therapist and engage in self-care practices to continue their healing journey.
It’s important to note that while EMDR can be a highly effective therapy for many individuals, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to work with a licensed and trained therapist who can provide individualized care and support throughout the therapy process.
Are you struggling with the lingering effects of trauma or painful memories? If so, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy may be the solution you’ve been searching for.
EMDR is a highly effective therapy for individuals who have experienced trauma, anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological issues. The therapy involves a series of guided eye movements, which have been shown to help process traumatic memories and reduce the associated emotional distress.
At our Pacific Integrative Therapy centers, we offer EMDR therapy that is tailored to your unique needs and experiences. Our licensed and trained therapists are experienced in helping individuals work through a range of traumatic experiences, including accidents, abuse, neglect, and more.
Our EMDR therapy sessions are designed to provide a safe and supportive environment where you can explore your thoughts and feelings in a confidential and non-judgmental space. Our goal is to help you move beyond your past traumas and achieve a greater sense of peace and wellbeing.
Don’t let the past hold you back any longer. Contact us today to learn more about our EMDR therapy services and take the first step towards a happier, healthier future.