EMDR Therapy: Everything You Need to Know

Two ladies in intense discussion
Two ladies in intense discussion

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) was originally developed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories; however, it has evolved into much more. In the 1980s, Francine Shapiro developed this type of psychotherapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, panic, and trauma.

EMDR therapy is a set of standardized protocols that have helped millions of people overcome psychological trauma. Although this is not a novel form of trauma treatment, there are several unanswered questions about it. Today, we’ll answer some of these questions and talk about other aspects of EMDR therapy. Continue reading!

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a type of psychological or mental health treatment that is used to treat trauma. This reprocessing therapy aims to relieve psychological and physical symptoms of trauma by healing patients of trauma or other distressing life experiences.EMDR is a relatively new trauma therapy that has proven to be effective.

The theory behind this approach is that trauma and painful memories can be re-experienced through various triggers such as smell, sound, sight, or words if they are not fully processed. Reliving such traumatic memories causes emotional distress as well as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As a result, eye movement desensitization aims to alleviate these symptoms by altering how these memories are stored in your brain via a series of bilateral (side-to-side) eye movements.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

a guy in consultation
a guy in consultation

A typical EMDR therapy session has eight phases, which means you will need to attend multiple sessions (especially for multiple trauma victims). The following are the eight phases:

Phase 1: History Taking and Treatment Planning

The EMDR therapist will acquire information about you, prior trauma, and mental health symptoms throughout the patient history and information collection procedure. This phase also asks about distressing memories and experiences you want treatment to address.

Phase 2: Client Preparation and Education

You will be prepared for the EMDR sessions and processes during this phase. Your therapist will also teach you techniques for dealing with and managing any emotional or psychological stress that arises during the session.

Phase 3: Assessment

You will be guided through selecting specific memories to work on during reprocessing during the third phase of the EMDR treatment. Negative beliefs you may have about yourself as a result of trauma are referred to as “mental health conditions.” You’ll also be asked to think of a positive belief you’d like to have about yourself.

Phase 4: Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Your EMDR therapist will assist you in activating your memory by identifying specific negative images, feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. You will be experiencing bilateral lateral stimulation (BLS) at the same time, which will consist of specific eye movements, tapping, audio tones, or blinking lights. Throughout the reprocessing, your feelings and thoughts will be recorded. Your therapist may choose to revisit the traumatic memory or move on to another.

Phase 5: Installation

In the fifth phase of EMDR therapy, your therapist will guide you through the process of “installing” positive beliefs or images to replace the unwanted ones. This positive self-belief can be something you identified in phase 3 or something new you came up with during the process. This belief is then reinforced with another round of bilateral stimulation.

Phase 6: Body Scan

During this phase, your therapist will have you focus on how your body feels when you think about the negative memory to see if it causes any unpleasant physical pain or sensations. If it does, you will be guided through another round of BLS, during which your symptoms should diminish until you have none.

Phase 7: Closure and Stabilization

During this phase, your therapist will ask you to pay attention to how your body feels when you recall the negative memory to see if it causes any unpleasant physical pain or sensations. If it does, you will be guided through another round of BLS, during which your symptoms should gradually fade until they are gone.

Phase 8: Re-evaluation of Treatment Effects

During the re-evaluation phase, your therapist will review your progress and thoughts concerning distressing memories.

Which Conditions Can EMDR Therapy Treat?

a guy in consultation
a guy in consultation

Although EMDR is most commonly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental health care providers also use this trauma treatment technique to treat the following mental health conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Sexual assault
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depression disorders.
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Trauma disorders
  • Acute stress disorder

So, EMDR therapists use this treatment to address various mental challenges. Who can benefit from EMDR therapy? Anyone, including children and adults of all ages.

How Effective is EMDR Therapy?

Effective is EMDR Therapy
Effective is EMDR Therapy

You may be skeptical that rapid eye movement therapy can help you recover from your traumatic experience. EMDR therapy, on the other hand, has proven to be quite effective. Before you look for “trauma therapy near me,” you should know that several studies have shown the effectiveness of EMDR in treating specific psychological illnesses since its introduction in the 1980s.

According to a 2014 review of 24 studies, EMDR helps relieve emotional distress associated with adverse experiences and may work quickly and more effectively than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 

A 2015 study also revealed that EMDR therapy is quite effective for the treatment of depression in addition to posttraumatic stress disorder.

EMDR is widely regarded as the most effective treatment method for veterans suffering from PTSD. As a result, it’s not surprising that the World Health Organization (WHO) and other government organizations and agencies have given their official approval to this treatment method.

What Are The Risks Or Complications Associated With This Procedure?

EMDR is a relatively safe procedure with very low risks. The only side effects of the eye movement desensitization procedure are the unpleasant thoughts or events that you recall between sessions. To cope with such feelings, relaxation and other coping techniques are discussed.

Finding an EMDR-Trained Retreat Near Me

You do not have to suffer psychologically as a result of past traumatic events. If you want to try eye movement desensitization therapy, find a therapist who specializes in your symptoms.

So there’s no need to search for the best “EMDR therapy near me,” because Intensive Therapy Retreats is here to help you work through traumatic and distressing memories. We specialize in assisting people who have suffered from PTSD, trauma, or child or sexual abuse, and we make certain that any traumatic events or memories from the past do not have an impact on your current mental health.

Visit our website to learn more at https://www.intensivetherapyretreat.com/