Patients who have suffered for years from anxiety or distressing memories, nightmares, insomnia, abuse or other traumatic events can now gain relief from a Psychotherapy called Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Research shows that EMDR is rapid, safe and effective. EMDR does not involve the use of drugs or hypnosis and is a simple, non-invasive patient-therapist collaboration in which healing can happen effectively.
This powerful Psychotherapy is highly effective for a wide range of disorders including chronic pain, phobias, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders and poor self-image, stress, worry, stage fright, performance anxiety, recovery from sexual abuse and traumatic incidents.
WHAT IS EMDR?
EMDR is a powerful Psychotherapy, which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself. As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain via the eye movement patterns of EMDR, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state emerges.
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
When disturbing experiences happen, they are stored in the brain with all the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompany them. When a person is very upset, the brain seems to be unable to process the experience as it would normally. Therefore, the negative thoughts and feelings of the traumatic event get "trapped" in the nervous system. Since the brain cannot process these emotions, the experience and/or their accompanying feelings, are often suppressed from consciousness. However, the distress lives on in the nervous system where it causes disturbances in the normal emotional functioning of the person.
The use of EMDR Psychotherapy does two very important things. First, it "unlocks" the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain successfully process the experience.
The therapist works gently with the client, guiding him or her to revisit the traumatic incident. As images and feelings arise, the client's eye movements are "matched" with the remembered events and then re-directed into particular movements that cause the release of the memories.
When the memory is brought to mind, the feelings are re-experienced in a new way. EMDR makes it possible to gain the self-knowledge and perspective that will enable the client to choose their actions, rather than feeling powerless over their re-actions. This process can be a complex if there are many experiences connected to the negative feelings. The EMDR therapy sessions continue until the traumatic memories and emotions are relieved.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EMDR THERAPY?
Research studies show that EMDR is very effective in helping people process emotionally painful and traumatic experiences. When used in conjunction with other therapy modalities, EMDR helps move the client quickly from emotional distress to peaceful resolution of the issues or events involved.
EMDR sessions work amazingly fast. Processing even the most difficult memories can be achieved in a fraction of the time it previously would have taken with traditional therapy alone. It also enables the more efficient use of conventional psychotherapies, bringing greater results in much less time. The positive, long-term results of EMDR therapy affects all levels of the client's well-being -- mental, emotional and physical, so that their responses return to normalcy and health.
Traditional therapies often focus on memories from the unconscious mind, and then analyzing their meaning to gain insight into the problem. EMDR clients also acquire valuable insights during therapy, but EMDR can short-cut the process and go right to the releasing stage.
Studies consistently show that treatments with EMDR result in elimination of the targeted emotion or memory. The memory remains, but the negative response is neutralized.
WHAT ISSUES ARE HELPED BY EMDR?
Studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following conditions:
- childhood trauma
- physical, sexual & emotional abuse
- eating disorders
- victims of violent crimes
- post traumatic stress
- panic attacks
- low self-esteem
- performance and test anxiety
EMDR Psychotherapy is most effective when used in conjunction with other traditional methods of therapy in treating these and many other emotional disorders. EMDR therapy can help clients replace their anxiety and fear with positive images, emotions and thoughts.
Although some people have dramatic responses in a short period of time, others will progress more slowly. However, the results will be equally effective and long-lasting.
IS EMDR HYPNOSIS?
No. During the EMDR session, the client is awake and alert and in control at all times. The healing that takes place with EMDR is much faster than with hypnotherapy. Like hypnosis, EMDR seems to work with the unconscious mind, bringing into consciousness the repressed thoughts and feelings that must be experienced again in order to release their energetic hold on the person.
WHAT TYPE OF TRAINING DOES A THERAPIST NEED TO USE EMDR?
Only practicing, licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers and counselors may receive EMDR training. These are the only mental health professionals qualified to use EMDR therapy with clients. A clinical background is necessary for proper application of EMDR Psychotherapy . This is a highly specialized method that requires supervised training for therapeutic effectiveness and client safety. In the words of the Behavior Therapist Journal, "Clients are at risk if untrained clinicians attempts to use EMDR.” It may be wise to request the therapist to provide you with their EMDR certificate of training.