Eye Movement Therapy

Eye Movement Therapy

Eye movement therapy, also known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, is one of the tools available to help people battling a wide range of mental health disorders. It is a treatment that may help several types of mental health disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a science-based, highly effective tool that may help you break free from the hold that your past trauma has on you.

At Lisa Eaton Therapy and Coaching, we offer EMDR therapy as one of the options for our clients. We offer both EMDR therapy for anxiety and EMDR therapy for PTSD, as well as use EMDR to treat a variety of other mental health disorders.

What Is Eye Movement Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a type of structured therapy that encourages a person to focus on a trauma memory very briefly while – at the same time – experiencing bilateral stimulation. This refers to eye movements. The goal of this type of therapy is to reduce just how vivid and intense the memories of that event are. As a result, it may be possible to reduce the impact of that event, and the emotions felt when this memory arises. For a person with PTSD, those memories can be so intense it disrupts day-to-day life, creating intensely negative and painful moments.

Over the course of 6 to 12 sessions (sometimes more), a person will work through this process. The goal is often to provide a way to break that link to the trauma a person feels. This type of cognitive-behavioral therapy works to lessen the impacts of traumatic memories on the individual. A person does not do much more than move their eyes back and forth to the left and the right, or gently tap their arms or legs in left and right motions. Over a period of time, this helps the brain learn how to reprocess the memories it is feeling. As a result of this, the memories do not cause as much discomfort, anxiety, or pain.

Who Is Eye Movement Therapy For?

The most common use of eye movement therapy is for reducing post traumatic stress disorder. This is a condition in which a person experiences intense reactions to stimuli that reminds them of some type of traumatic event they witnessed or were a part of during their youth or younger years, or even more recently. For example, a person may develop intense anxiety and fear when they are reminded of watching a loved one die in a traumatic way. At that time, the brain did not process or work through that trauma in a meaningful manner. As a result, the individual now feels overwhelmed and even debilitated when that memory resurfaces.

With EMDR therapy, it may be possible to break that control. By changing the way the brain processes that memory, it may be possible to stop feeling those intense moments again.

In addition to this, EMDR therapy may also help in other situations. That includes situations where a person has intense anxiety about specific memories or experiences. For many people, changing the way the brain processes these events can make a big difference in a person’s quality of life.

What Can You Expect from Eye Movement Therapy?

The first steps of treatment involve working with a therapist to better understand how  EMDR therapy can be beneficial to you. If so, then you’ll begin the path of a series of therapy sessions. There are eight phases (typically) in this process. The phases include:

  • History taking
  • Preparing
  • Assessing the target memory
  • Processing the memory to adaptive resolution (for stages 4 to 7)
  • Evaluating treatment results

The process itself is more complex in that each session requires the same types of controlled eye movements. Research indicates that the use of eye movement therapy like this can break the hold that the memory has on a person, giving them some level of relief from what they experience.

For those who are faced with the challenges of painful past memories, EMDR therapy could be a healing opportunity. Over time, it may be possible for a person to regain confidence and work through challenges in a more meaningful way. Working to get past that trauma may make it easier for a person to live life without feeling limited by their past traumatic experiences.

How to Get Help from Lisa Eaton Therapy and Coaching

For those struggling with mental health conditions of any type, reach out to Lisa Eaton Therapy and Coaching for immediate help. Learn more about the treatment options available to you and how you can move beyond the pain and limitations you feel today. Meet with a dedicated and experienced therapist who can make a big difference in your future.   If you’re interested in speaking with someone more about EMDR therapy, we’re inviting you to take the first step and reach out to us to speak with a specialist on our team.