Understanding EMDR Treatment for Healing Trauma and Emotional Distress
EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, has gained significant attention in the world of psychology and mental health treatment. Designed primarily for individuals dealing with trauma or distress, it is a unique form of psychotherapy that uses guided eye movements to help process difficult memories. Let’s explore what EMDR treatment is, how it works, and what you can expect from a typical session.
EMDR Therapy Explained
EMDR was developed in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro, a psychologist who realized that certain eye movements could help process traumatic memories. This therapy aims to change how these memories are stored in the brain, making them less troubling and easier to manage. EMDR has been proven effective for a variety of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other forms of emotional distress. It is increasingly being recommended as a treatment option for these issues.
How it Works
EMDR involves a structured eight-phase approach where the therapist helps the client process disturbing memories by using bilateral stimulation, often in the form of guided eye movements. The idea is that these eye movements mimic the natural process of REM sleep, which plays a role in how we process memories and emotions. By doing this, the therapy aims to reprocess these memories, attaching new, less distressing meanings to them. Over time, the troubling memory loses its emotional charge, making it easier to think about and discuss.
EMDR Therapy Steps
The therapy itself is divided into eight phases. Initially, the therapist will spend time taking a history and preparing the client for the upcoming sessions. During the actual EMDR session, the client is asked to focus on a troubling memory or emotion while following the therapist’s fingers as they move horizontally across the client’s field of vision. Then the therapist and the client discuss any thoughts or feelings that come up, and the process is repeated. Eventually, positive beliefs are introduced to replace the negative ones attached to the troubling memory. The subsequent phases include closure and an evaluation of the treatment’s effectiveness.
EMDR for Trauma
EMDR is especially useful for people who have experienced traumatic events. Traditional forms of therapy may require the individual to talk extensively about their trauma, but EMDR allows for healing without requiring the client to go into great detail about their experiences. This makes it a more comfortable option for many people. Numerous studies have shown EMDR to be effective in treating PTSD and other trauma-related disorders.
What to Expect from an EMDR Therapy Session
If you’re considering EMDR therapy, it’s crucial to find a qualified therapist experienced in this specific treatment. Sessions typically last around 50 minutes to an hour. Initially, you may undergo a series of consultations for the therapist to understand your needs and determine if EMDR is suitable for you. During the actual EMDR session, you’ll be fully awake and in control at all times. While the therapy is generally considered safe, some people may experience heightened emotions or vivid, realistic dreams between sessions, which should be discussed with the therapist.
Contact Empower Professional Counseling Services to Request a Consultation for EMDR Treatment
If you’re dealing with trauma or emotional distress and are interested in EMDR treatment, contact Empower Professional Counseling Services for a free consultation. Our qualified therapists can provide an initial evaluation to see if EMDR is the right treatment for you and guide you through the process. Don’t let distressing memories hold you back and take the first step towards healing today.